I really think the New Year’s resolutions have hung around this year more than I remember in the past. I have been in the fitness business for many years and usually by the first to middle of February, a handful of the gym newbies are still around but the majority of them have come and gone. Believe me — I have heard every reason why they are hanging up their tennis shoes; or from others that did not even try to make a resolution to start exercising.

So, with Valentine’s Day approaching and all the talk of love, can a person fall in love with exercise and stick to their resolution or make it a habit? I am here to say you actually can teach yourself to love to work out. Follow these steps:

Do something you enjoy doing

If you are a dancer, find a Zumba class or talk your Valentine into taking some ballroom dance classes. Maybe you were a member of your middle school track team, so start training for a springtime 5K. Liking what you are doing will make you stick with it better and not make excuses to skip it.

Exercise with a friend

Having someone to be accountable to is a real step towards getting it in your routine. You sure don’t want your buddy to get up for the early morning HIIT class expecting to be doing push-ups with you and you are a no-show. A study done at the University of Southern California showed people said they have more fun and enjoy working out better when they do it with a friend.

Instant feedback is available

It isn’t right at your fingertips but on your wrist is pretty close. You can be motivated by instantly seeing on a fitness tracker how many calories that you have burned or the distance you have run or walked. Maybe it will show that you have reached or even exceeded your goal or that you need to work a little harder. You will find being connected to your workouts can bring positive results.

Don’t make it about the pounds you want to lose

Let’s focus on another reason why we are going to stick to it this time than wanting to lose 20 pounds. Maybe you want to have the stamina to keep up with your kids or grand-kids. It could be that you are having trouble scooping your sidewalk when this was not an issue last winter. You just aren’t sleeping well. (Yes, sleeping better is a benefit of exercising.) Look for short-term goals and benefits you will notice way sooner than dropping a pants size.

Don’t forget to reward yourself

It is good to get a pat on the back or an occasional treat at your favorite coffee shack. Tell your family and friends what you are doing. Hopefully, they will become your biggest fans when they notice how much energy you have or that you have a sunnier disposition. Maybe you have been eyeing a new pair of kicks that you decided to splurge on when you ran your first mile without stopping. Puff that chest out and be proud.

I dare you to fall in love with exercise. The benefits are tremendous, and I know you will be in love with yourself for doing it. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Julie Kirk is a fitness instructor at Great River Health Fitness. Her column appears in Currents the second Friday of each month.