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5 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Work For You

Today, I walked out of a 45-min cycling class at the 30-minute mark. Everything in my head was shaming me for not completing the full 45 minutes, but I ignored it and stepped out. Now you may be sitting there thinking, “Hey, you were only 15 minutes away!” This is true and it’s one of the many thoughts that I had as I walked out. But then I remembered all of the other times I pushed myself past a certain point – I would burn out. I’d get another burst of motivation and last for another 2 weeks — and then burn myself out. I couldn’t figure out what made me burn out so quickly. I chalked it up to life just getting in the way — which it did sometimes, but after attending an accountability group each week and having a one-on-one consultation with my instructor, it finally hit me — I hadn’t made realistic goals for myself.

In the times that I was going to the gym regularly, I would work out at the gym for an hour for 5 days during the week. Now, as good as I started to feel about myself, at the end of the week, I was exhausted, which would lead to binge-watching TV and poor planning (or no planning) as to what I was eating. I didn’t build myself up to an hour; I went in full force without any thought to where I was physically.

One of the keys to sticking with a New Years Resolution is that it has to be realistic.

I know wholeheartedly that I can workout for 30 minutes a day for 4-5 times a week, whichever my schedule that week allows for. Sticking with this not only gives me a confidence boost (that class kicked my BUTT, by the way, but I feel amazing), but I know that down the line I will get stronger. 30 minutes will turn into 35 minutes, 35 into 45 minutes, 45 minutes into an hour. If I start to feel myself start to feel the strain of working out at the gym for an hour for 4 or 5 days out of the week, I can go down to 55 or 50 minutes and work my way up to that hour.

Also, if I don’t make it to the gym, at least 4 to 5 times a week, that’s completely OK. Say I only made it to 3 days. It’s still more trips to the gym than I had previously been making. Plus, I have another week to make it to my goal.

Another key is to not feel guilty when you didn’t reach your weekly goal; be patient with yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be losing weight. Reading a book every 2 weeks. Spending more time with family. Turning negative experiences into positive lessons. Lowering the amount of time spent on Facebook. Volunteering more. Reviewing your budget weekly (or daily) to determine how much you spend vs. how much you could be saving towards that trip or new iPhone. Whatever your goal, if you miss the mark today, there’s always tomorrow. If you miss the mark this week, there’s another week. It’s better to have started and to take a break than to start and give up altogether.

That’s why it helps to make small goals for yourself. Say that you want to work out more this year. (I won’t mention eating healthier because while these things tend to go hand-in-hand that also depends on whether or not you are trying to lose weight versus becoming more active). If you’re at a job where you’re constantly sitting down, why not make the most of your lunch and go for a walk around the building? If you want to give yourself more of a challenge, set a time — 5 minutes of walking. Or 10. or 15. But if you keep with these small goals, they will turn into bigger goals. 15 minutes will eventually feel too easy and then you’re looking at more time being active. If you have access to a gym, you can start with one class a week or a certain amount of time spent in a class each week. However you break it down, make sure that it’s something that works for you now and then build up to those larger goals.

If your goal isn’t something you can exactly attach a number to, (i.e., turning negative experiences into positive lessons — one of my goals this year), keep a log of these moments. Keep a journal or get a little more creative with it — get a mason jar (you can get them at the dollar store) and write each of these experiences down on a strip of paper and fill the jar with these. At the end of the year (or throughout), it’s a good reminder of what you’ve learned and that there’s ALWAYS a way to turn something into a positive moment.

If it’s spending more time with family, you can easily turn one of these goals into a family project — something that you can all complete together. Having accountability partners is another key to staying on track with your New Years Resolution. Do this with a family member (or 2 or 5), friends, significant other, and/or co-workers. If other people know that you’re trying to obtain a specific goal and are trying to accomplish that same goal, you’re more likely to keep each other accountable. You care for that person and you want to see them succeed. Assuming that they also care about you, they’ll want you do the same. If there aren’t others that want to participate with you, look for local groups that share your same interests.

Do not get sucked down the rabbit hole. What I mean is not listening to the voice that tells you that you can’t, that this isn’t possible, that you’re lazy or inadequate, that you will never reach your goal. You can do this; you are no quitter.  I may not know what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, but this is irrelevant. Whatever the goal at hand, you can and you will finish it. Will there be bumps along the road? Absolutely, but don’t quit. If you stop for a while, there’s always an opportunity to pick it back up.

Lastly, have fun! Seriously, if you’re not getting any sort of enjoyment or sense of accomplishment from it, you may either need to tweak it until you enjoy it or create another New Years Resolution. This isn’t giving up; this is making your goals realistic (see rule #1). When you made that New Years Resolution, what was your motivation behind it? What did you see as the end result? Give this some consideration and then move on with accomplishing your goal (or goals) little by little.

So, let’s review.

1) Make your goals realistic. Don’t set your self up for failure at the start. Begin with small goals and then build up to the larger ones.

2) Be patient with yourself and don’t feel guilty for not reaching your goal for that day or that week. There’s always the next week or next day.

3) Have accountability partners. They will be that person (or group of people) to push you along the way and, in turn, you will be there to encourage them as well.

4) DO NOT not get sucked down the rabbit hole.  Do not listen to the lies or negative thoughts saying that you’re incapable of completing this task. You can do it. (If you don’t have an accountability partner, feel free to contact me and I will send you all of the encouragement. All of it. I’m very serious.)

5) Have fun! Be creative with it. Tweak it if you have to; do whatever you have to do to make it enjoyable for you. If it’s going to the gym, choose an exercise or exercise class that you actually love. If it’s reading a book every 2 weeks or so, make it a certain genre or books that you know are being turned into a movie.

I wish you all of the best this year! Please comment below and share what your New Years Resolution is (or are if you have multiple). I’d love to hear them! (If you are trying to lose weight this year, check out and follow Hannah Costello’s Instagram page and request to join her Facebook Accountability group. Tell her that Jackie sent you!)

As always, you are awesome and thank you for reading!

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