What's that piece, you ask? It's having a plan. It's going beyond the initial goal of getting in shape and having actionable bullet points to work off of. Say I am new to fitness, and have just joined a gym. I might say, "I am going to lose 20 pounds and get in really good shape!" And that's not a bad thing - it's a laudable goal and with some enthusiasm, sounds great when you say it out loud! The key here now is to answer the question of 'How'? This turns my initial commitment from a subjective goal into an objective goal of, say, "I am going to lose 20 pounds by committing to work out at least 4 times per week and cutting out processed sugars and grains." These high hopes just turned into a solid plan.
One of the best ways you can set yourself up for success is to design these goals with a personal trainer who will work with you during your transformation. When you decide to hire a trainer, they should do more for you than just high five you and be a cheerleader (But really, you kicked ass today bro - up top!) And they definitely shouldn't stand around on their phone during the session, half paying attention to you. Work with a trainer that has helped people with the same goals you have, and has seen success with them. The good ones tend to have multiple certs, an understanding of nutrition relative to your goals, and knows how to maximize results while minimizing injury risks.
If you're one of the many people who just realized that it's February and you haven't made any strides towards hitting your fitness goals, don't beat yourself up! Take this week as a time to clean the slate, re-evaluate your goals, and get that train moving again! As I mentioned, seeking the advice of a professional greatly improves your chances of success. Above all else, don't let negative feedback be your primary motivator. No looking in the mirror and saying "God, what a fatty." Take where you are as a measuring point, and set some smart goals to make sure that when you do your gut check (see what I did there) next month, you can take pride in the progress you see!