It’s the holiday season, and while many of us are tempted to pig out on turkey, dressing and cherry pie, we will surely be kicking ourselves come Jan. 1, when our trousers no longer fit.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and, hell, that extended vacation, can prove to be challenging to ignore when it comes to food and liquor consumption. Here are three ways to stay on track so you’re not beating yourself up come New Year’s Day:

1. Realize what time of year it is.

Instead of excusing reckless behavior because it is the holiday season, understand that other people will do just that. Once you have it in your mind that folks will make excuses for their bad behavior, you will either d do the same or you will go against the grain and stay on track. Allow yourself a small portion of your favorite food or “cheat” meal.

2. Assess whether fitness is really a goal for you.

Fitness needs to be defined as either a goal or a lifestyle, but it cannot be both. If it is a goal, you will set a certain length of time to eat right and stay on track to reach your desired results. If you view fitness, healthy eating and maintaining your best physical shape as a marathon and not a sprint, then you’re more inclined to commit to changing the behaviors that do not serve your best interests. If a healthy mind, body and soul aren’t meant to be permanent fixtures in your life, you’ll be susceptible to the negative influences of those who just don’t give a damn.

3. Start before January 1.

This isn’t some fad diet; your life is truly at stake. No, you may not be obese or have a weight problem, but my guess is that you’ve wanted to change how you eat for one reason or several. Understand that getting healthy has a tremendous number of benefits, especially when it comes to your quality of life. Don’t wait until everyone else is doing it to hop on the #gains train.