At some point in their lives, practically everyone wants to lose some weight. And while losing weight is an oft repeated goal, it’s one of the hardest to achieve and maintain. Sometimes the problem is lack of motivation. Sometimes we’ve set unrealistic goals (think losing 50 pounds in one month). Consider these helpful tips for a successful weight loss journey.

1. Be realistic. Setting feasible goals can help you stay on track. If you set the bar too high or only focus on your overall goal, your motivation to continue may wane. Focus on smaller, short-term goals that get you closer to your overall goal.

2. Celebrate your successes. When you shed 5 pounds, give yourself a pat on the back. When you shed 10 pounds, treat yourself to a pedicure and so on. It’s important to realize that every pound lost is a step in the right direction.

3. Seek reputable help. Although many fad diets claim they can help you shed fat with prepackaged meals and miracle pills, these solutions are often ineffective. The best way to lose weight is to develop healthy eating and exercise habits. Participating in a physician-supervised weight loss program that provides support and education is an effective way to lose weight and develop healthier lifestyle habits.

4. Don’t sweat the setbacks. There will be roadblocks and challenges along the way. Instead of getting down on yourself and giving up, just move forward. Trying to be a perfectionist can easily sabotage your diet.

5. Use the buddy system. If you have a hard time resisting temptation, having someone to work out with and be accountable to can keep you motivated to succeed.

Remember, achieving your weight loss goal is not the end of your journey. You must maintain healthy eating habits and regular physical activity to keep the pounds off. But in the end, you will be happier with your body and your health.