Accomplish your goals, resolutions and dreams this New Year with these simple tips. Every day offers a fresh start to accomplish your resolutions! 

On November 2, 2014, I completed a huge goal I had set for myself approximately two years previously: to run my first half marathon. How did I finally do it? Short answer: one step at a time. I have been a casual runner for a couple of years now. And by runner I mean a solid jogger. I would average 7 miles a week or so before I started my training. Just a couple of miles here or there would curb my exercise urges.

A little background: I am competitive by nature, and that pushes me to make a lot of the decisions I do. Struggling through 3 miles just wasn’t good enough anymore. On top of that, I moved in with 3 awesome girls my last semester of school. They were all so athletic in their own way and watching them come back from an 8 mile run or hour at the gym was inspiring and motivating. So working out became even more a part of my lifestyle, especially these last few years. I wanted to go a little further and be able to keep up with their able bodies. Who wants to be left behind? And, that’s when the idea first hit me; I should run a half marathon.

I couldn’t imagine how tired I might feel at the end of 13.1 miles if 2 made me feel worn out. But it was popular among my friends at the time, and I so desperately wanted my legs to be as athletic as my heart and mind felt. The dream was officially planted in my brain and I wouldn’t be satisfied until it was completed.

Resolutions Starting a New Chapter in a New Year

Via Kristi Holl

I’ve never actually been big on the New Year’s resolution thing. I've always considered it kind of silly, though I do believe in achieving goals and reaching milestones. I believe that an actual resolution list should be kept going all year long, even after the New Year’s resolution fervor is lost come February or March. 

Also, New Year's resolutions are always so lofty. Get out of debt. Stop smoking. Remodel. Run a half marathon. We make these huge lists with every hurdle and unbreakable habit in our lives and then make no definitive plans, just hope we get them accomplished somehow, someway. If we were smart, we would start marking dates on the calendar for when these things should be achieved. For the most part, I think it’s a waste of time. To accomplish goals, you have to make slow changes to your lifestyle. And that's where I was in 2013.

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Here’s the short story: My boyfriend at the time (now husband) asked me and a couple of friends what our goals were for the New Year. I went through my mental checklist: finish my book and run a half marathon. Those were the only two I remember now, but I’m sure there were more because I’m never short on words. So that was my goal. 

We talked about it a few times throughout the year (he is big on following up) and it never happened. I struggled through a busy job and then we got engaged at the end of the year. Then came 2014 and the same goals in the unspoken areas of my heart. I wanted so badly to accomplish my half marathon. Before I knew it, it was June 2014. I thought about my December wedding coming up in 6 short months, and that dang half marathon I had yet to complete that loomed over my head, taunting my competitive spirit. 

And on top of being busy, I was about to move away from all my workout buddies to be on my own in a new place. Luckily, my fiancé lived in the same town as my little sister. The element of interest here is that she HATED running. Hated it. I tried to share my passion for the sport a couple of times in the past and she would shout to the mountain tops that it wasn’t her thing. I guess I caught her in the happiest mood of her life, because when I told her I needed to run this half marathon before my wedding, and didn’t have a training partner, she quickly agreed! 

It was a magical moment that was critical to my success. When we finally got to the same geographical place it was the end of July. By mid-August, we began a 13 week training program that led us both to the successful completion of our first half marathon.

Resolutions A Helping Hand Accomplishing Goals on Life’s Mountain Tops

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I’m saying all of this because I know that we’re all at a fork in the road every day with our choices. We may be facing health, lifestyle, relationship, or spiritual choices, but we all need to actually follow through with our resolutions this year. So I thought I would give you more insight on the path I took to finally accomplishing a huge goal of mine. Warning: it was much more complicated than making a list of lofty goals and leaving them on a desk to collect dust.

Resolutions New Year’s Resolution List Blank Page with Pen

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Make a Mental Decision

I think the first part of any goal is mental. We need to decide on the goal, believe we can achieve it, and find the encouragement and emotional support we need from family and friends. This support is critical. If you can get someone to partner with you to complete a similar goal, like I did with my sister, you will have their energy, experiences, and efforts to be inspired by.

You also have to get to a place where you feel committed on a mental level, and take full ownership of your goal. In June of 2014, that’s what I did. I told myself I would run the half marathon. It was no longer, “if” but, “when.” My mentality became the biggest component of accomplishing my goal. I had to think that I would finish the training miles for the day. I was a runner. I was no longer striving to be something, I became that “something.” I would tell my sister that when she didn’t want to go anymore, I would remind her that she was her goal of becoming a runner. She was a runner! 

I think this can be applied anywhere. If you’re looking to lose weight, decide you will. Believe in yourself to achieve it, get the support you need, find a buddy, and commit. You will become healthy. You are healthy. Let your brain work for you with positivity and encouragement! 

Resolutions Start Date on January First Calendar

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Make a Physical Choice 

The second part of a goal is physical. My sister and I decided what we were going to do, partnered together, mustered up enough belief and support, and we committed. Now, it was only a matter of when. So I looked at the races in Texas coming up before my wedding. There was a huge change in my momentum when I actually picked a REAL date and paid real MONEY to accomplish my goal. 

I encourage you to choose a real timeline you can abide by. If you want to get out of debt, look at your budget and decide what you can spare every month. Then, pick something specific to pay off (a credit card, your car loan, etc.) and calculate how many months it will take you to pay it off. Commit to that date and don’t use the money for anything else! 

Allow yourself to build a routine to accomplish your goals. If you want to become more organized, then allow yourself a few hours a couple of times a week to organize. Make your goal part of your lifestyle. The physical choices you make will encourage you to stay with your goal. My physical choice was to implement a training plan and not to veer from it. I decided to commit 5 days a week to running. And that’s what I did. I eliminated distractions and things that hurt my goal. If I wanted to run, then I wouldn’t eat at certain times or eat certain foods because these choices strongly influenced my time. 

Be strong in your decisions and the easier they will become. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake, don't spend all your time and energy beating yourself up about it; just get back on track. Sometimes, if I had to miss a run, I would just need to let it go because it wasn’t possible to make it up on my schedule without wearing myself out.

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Remember that everyone’s path to success is a personal journey. For me, everything came together. I finally just decided I was going to run the half marathon, luckily I had a running buddy (motivating others always motivates me), and then my dedication came into play. Your journey will look different this coming year as well. The best things I did in order to complete my goal were to set a specific date and make a financial investment. I didn’t want to waste my money or not finish the race, so I really put my time and effort into it.

Resolutions Crossing the Finish Line to Victory

Via Daddy Bloggers

In the end, there is no feeling quite like accomplishing something you’ve invested so much time into. Whether it’s paying off a car, working on a relationship, finishing a project in your home, getting healthy, or crossing the finish line at a race, you’re creating a moment in life that is all your own. 

My advice to help you accomplish your resolutions now and throughout the year would be to commit to your dreams, find a support system, and set a timeline. All of these things will do nothing but push you forward. Decide that you’re going to accomplish your dreams and then do it. Also remember that the beginning of a new you can happen any day of the month. Each day is a day that’s never existed before and a gift just for you. You make the choice of where your dreams go!

What are your tips for decision making and completing your goals? Please comment and let us know. Share this post to inspire your friends to take the plunge and commit to their new and old goals. Happy 2015!

**Featured image via Sean MacEntee on Flickr