Since there are less than two weeks until January 1, I’m guessing many of you have started thinking about that annual declaration -- the good ol' New Year’s resolution!

Every year I hear people say they'll do something different, but the outcome is generally the same -- they fail. Nearly 80 percent give up by January 20. Ouch.

But there's a way to go into Jan. 1 ahead of the game: Start now.

If you want to lose weight, why put it off? Waiting another two weeks during the sugary holiday season puts you at risk for ringing in the New Year with extra pounds, and that will make you feel even more resigned to failure. It takes 21 days to develop or change a habit, so if you start today, you’ll be halfway to a new you by the time you greet the new year.

Here's what to do:

Pledge to start the year having gained no weight throughout the holidays. That doesn't mean losing weight; it means managing your weight. Yes, I know, I should have suggested this before Thanksgiving, but better late than never. And it's not even late. Next week will be filled with carb-tacular concoctions that combine poorly with sitting around watching bowl games. So watching your intake now is as crucial as it will be all January.

That means cutting down on sweets until the New Year. And if you can't do that, at least stop eating sweets after sundown. Don't let the pies and cakes sit in your stomach while you sleep. Make sure to get some exercise after indulging -- even if that means shoveling snow or taking out the trash.

Yes, of course, holiday parties are at night. So go right for the veggies and cheese plates. Avoid anything with white starch if possible. Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol. And move around the room if you can. Be the life of the party -- or at least look alive at the party.

Finally, get to the gym if you can. You'll be delighted how empty it is, and how good you'll feel knowing you're finishing the year the way you intended to start it.

Lauren Giles is a certified personal trainer. For more of her routines and recipes, click here.

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