Nothing succeeds like success, the old saying goes. That applies as much to fitness as to any other area of your life. In fact, sometimes all you need to get started on an exercise program, or to take your current one to the next level, is a little confidence-building success. Here are some easy ways to achieve it.

Do something -- anything -- you're good at. When you perform any skill well, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Accomplishing one thing makes you optimistic about your ability to achieve something else.

Challenge yourself. Each time you overcome one obstacle or plateau, you become more convinced that you can overcome others. Even considering a challenge can start you on the path.

Break your own record. If you've never hiked farther than five miles, go for seven. Your growing competence encourages you to take on new challenges.

Help someone else succeed. Whether you coach a friend through a 5k or teach a child to swim, you'll feel needed and knowledgeable, and the experience will add to your sense of self-worth.

Hire a pro. A personal trainer or coach can help you break through mental barriers and set higher goals. You'll accomplish more than you ever dreamed.

Play rough. Martial arts, boxing and kickboxing make you feel strong and self-reliant.

Cultivate cheerleaders. Fitness is not necessarily a team sport, but support and encouragement always help, whatever your goal.

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