Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles | January 11, 2017

By the time you’re reading this, you may have already given up on your New Year’s resolutions. Maybe, you’re still powering through! Either way, the reality is that most people put in great effort for about a week on average, two tops. Then, we return to old habits and wait until next year to try again. You don’t need to wait for January 1st to set goals – what you need is a plan to keep you going beyond the first few weeks of each year.

What’s the Problem?

Most of us view the new year as a fresh start. We have big visions of becoming a new person, which include prioritizing health, happiness, and prosperity. So we make a long list of changes to conquer and we wait until January 1st to start. Once January 1st comes around, however, we’re lost. The problem is that we fail to make a plan to accomplish the items on our list. We simply state that we want to “lose weight” or “save more money” or “be healthier”. What we fail to do is set specific goals and plan out reasonable steps to reach them. Major changes don’t happen overnight. We need to outline and make small changes to achieve larger ambitions.

What’s the Solution?

  1. Plan to Take Action
    I recommend making smaller achievable goals leading up to a bigger goal. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, break it down more specifically by working out five days a week for 30 minutes throughout January. Then build on that new healthy habit by eating five vegetables per day in February. Then by March, you’ll be ready to add in strength training twice a week for 20 minutes. And in April, you can add in one outdoor bike ride on Saturdays. Do you see the progression of this goal? Instead of adding all of these small actions on January 1st, becoming overwhelmed and giving up by January 2nd, we slowly add in definitive and specific healthy actions that will lead to weight loss over time. It’s more achievable so, ultimately, we’ll have more success in reaching our goals.
  2. Talk About It
    Instead of doing all of this in secrecy and hoping the weight will fall off, tell someone! Once you verbalize your goals – along with your plan of how you’ll be taking action, it becomes real. You’ll then be held accountable for your words, which tends to be a very powerful motivator! Don’t just tell an acquaintance – tell your best friend, parent, significant other, or spouse. Tell someone who has your best interest at heart and who will support you in your efforts. There are also multiple Facebook pages and online support groups available for all different types of goals. Take advantage of technology –these forums can provide resources and motivate you to keep going all year long!
  3. Handle Setbacks with Positivity
    We all have setbacks. They’re part of the process of achieving goals. Look at them as learning experiences and not as excuses to jump ship completely. If you miss a few workouts or eat a few extra slices of pizza along the way, don’t quit! Simply and purposely pick yourself up and move on. You have the rest of the year ahead of you!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Whatever they may be, have a happy and healthy New Year!


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Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles

Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.

Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.

She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.

Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!

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