It’s an annual routine: Many people vow to get in better physical shape during the new year, but after exercising regularly for a month or two, they give up. Just in time, Rutgers University‒Camden fitness expert Wanda Williams has suggested ways to sustain the early-year momentum.

“Set a realistic goal,” said Williams, who has studied physical activity among college women. “Start off small before building up to more days and longer intervals of time.”

Williams recommends openness to different forms of physical activity, noting that a fun exercise plan is the key to staying committed. This can be accomplished by incorporating exercise into leisure activities like watching TV. As an alternative to lounging on the couch, she suggests marching in place to burn some calories or taking a quick, brisk walk around the room during a commercial break. Williams also recommends physical activity with a social component, which can help to make exercise more enjoyable.

“Take long walks with friends, or start a walking group at work or in your neighborhood,” Williams said. “Consider ‘active video games’ that combine the use of technology with physical activity. Take dance lessons or join a line-dance group.”

Williams believes it helps to schedule a consistent time for physical activity. Another option is an exercise app like the 7-Minute Workout Challenge, which features 12 exercises that offer the equivalent of an hour’s workout.

“Try setting times on a phone or a fitness tracker to remind yourself to get up and move,” Williams said, pointing out that the benefits of regular exercise extend beyond physical appearance. “Physical activity can improve cognition and reduce risk of depression and anxiety, Regular physical activity helps with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions affecting the joints and helps reduce the risk of falls.”

If you happen to miss a few days or a few weeks of exercise, don’t be too hard on yourself. “Don’t use that as an excuse to stop,” Williams said. “Start exercising again.” Remember, a little movement is better than not doing anything at all. Sitting less and doing any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity offers health benefits.”