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My 41st Birthday // Getting Back on Track with New Year’s Resolutions

I had a big celebration when I turned 40 last year. The Chief watched the kids while I took off for an extended weekend trip to Montreal with two dear friends. I was forty and it was fabulous fun!

There wasn’t as much pomp and circumstance for 41, but every year older is a blessing and I enjoyed a lovely celebration with my family on the beach.

Haven't made the progress you'd like on your new year's resolutions? There's still time to turn the bus around! Please visit the blog to find a few tips I’ve learned that may help you along the way.

I started this year with a focus on making myself more of a priority. I had reached a new season of motherhood that afforded me a few extra freedoms. You can read all about it here, but the gist is that as mothers and women, we tend to give a ton of ourselves to others and deliver the harshest judgments to ourselves. I was bound and determined at the start of the year to change that.

I got a haircut and visited the doctor’s office for a physical. I treated myself to a fancy facial cleanser instead of everyday soap, and I signed up to run a half-marathon as motivation to get in shape. I believed in the importance of making time to care for myself so I could, in turn, take better care of my loved ones.

And then life happened.

Six months later, I haven’t been back to the salon. I avoid the doctor’s office at all costs because every time I go — for myself or my kids — I catch some kind of bug. And I’ve clocked a mere four (4!) miles in my failed attempt to get back into running shape. Anyone else out there having similar progress on their new year’s resolutions?

Well, fret not, my friend, because I’m here to tell you there’s still time to turn this bus around. Please allow me to share a few tips I’ve learned that may help you along the way.

1.  Start. Today.

Pick one thing you want to do and go for it! I picked fitness, so I bought Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video. I love it and highly recommend it.

Haven't made the progress you'd like on your new year's resolutions? There's still time to turn the bus around! Please visit the blog to find a few tips I’ve learned that may help you along the way.

I don’t have to worry about hiring a babysitter or toting my kids to the gym because now I can work out at home.

I make sure my kids are fed, have full water bottles and a bowl of snacks and have gone to the bathroom before I start my workout. I remind them that exercise time is important for Mommy, and they are allowed full access to Legos, video games and television while I’m shredding. Sometimes, they even shred along with me and provide positive encouragement from the sidelines. {“Get up, Mommy! Go faster, Mama!”}

What do you want to do for yourself? Are there little steps you can do to get started today?

2.  No excuses.

When I started my 30 Day Shred, I wore a sports bra from my pre-pregnancy, pre-nursing era. Needless to say, that sucker did not fit. But I used it just the same until I got another. I also didn’t have any hand weights. I could have waited to start, but I did the moves anyway until I had them in-hand.

Whatever excuses you’re making for not doing something, I know you can create the circumstances to make it happen. It may take a little budgeting, some creativity and a whole lot of work, but if I can do it, so can you!

3. Action begets action.

Inertia in science works much the same in life. Make no effort and you’ll stay where you are. Take the first step toward change and the next will follow.

My first step was this workout. The next was getting a better sports bra and a set of hand weights. That was followed by completing level 1, — 10 days of shredding — then level 2, — 10 more days — and lastly level 3 — the final 10 days. That accomplishment felt fantastic! And I gained muscle tone, strength and endurance from those workouts that have allowed me to confidently move on to half-marathon training.

Take action on what you want today and I promise you it will feel so good that you’ll want to accomplish more and more in the days ahead!

4.  Do the best you can.

If I waited until everything was perfect, I would never have launched this blog or started an exercise regimen. {And, wow, have I been blessed in both endeavors!} Life is going to throw some complication your way that will keep you from attaining your goals. Try not to be discouraged and just do the best you can to continually work towards obtaining them.

I’m not as fit as the instructors in Jillian’s video, so I modified some moves to my level or went a little slower. The advanced moves were something to strive for, but I did the moves I could with 100% effort. Even when my daughter got sick halfway through level 2, I took more rest days than recommended, but I didn’t give up. I started again and gave it my all.

When life interrupts your plans — as it will — roll with it. Don’t give up. Don’t phone it in {as my girl, Jillian would say}. You are so worth the effort!

5. Reward yourself sensibly.

Over-indulgence and a sedentary lifestyle got me into my overweight situation and so eating sensibly and granting modest rewards are important components of my fitness plan. It is far more rewarding for me to set a good fitness example for my children. It makes my heart full to see them embracing a healthy lifestyle, doing jumping jacks with me and getting down on the floor for sit-ups.

Like most children, mine are high-energy so I appreciate that I feel stronger today than I did yesterday. I can keep up with their energy a little better; I can run and play with them without getting winded. Health can change in a blink of an eye, so staying fit is my way of taking care of the body I’ve been given so I can hang with my loved ones a little longer.

And every now and again, I reward myself with pizza and ice cream, too. :)

6. Share your goals selectively.

Lots of articles will tell you to share your goals with others to garner support and provide some accountability. Even though I write a blog where few things are sacred, my preference is to keep my goals to myself. I’ll share the big picture with close friends and family, but the details are for me.

This is your struggle, your race to run — no one else can do it for you. You have to muster the motivation to start, maintain the momentum to keep going and hold yourself accountable if it falls apart. And then you must start again.

Trainers, friends and family are terrific allies to help you through the tougher times, but you alone have the power to get it done. And when you do, sing it from the rooftops and celebrate with all those who have supported you!

Myself included. — v.

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