How to finish your year strong


It’s the final lap of 2018. As you look back on your year can you say you accomplished all your goals you had back in January? What did you do differently this past year to help keep you on track?

If there’s one thing I know, it’s life doesn’t work unless you do, and I think that’s the best advice I can give anyone going into the new year. So much of what you want to accomplish with your health, fitness, and personal goals all depend on your state of mind. Having a positive attitude moving into the new year can help you start your year off right and here are some tips on how to keep moving forward.

Set specific goals. Setting goals for yourself helps you stay focused and pushes you out of your comfort zone. Once you achieve said goal, your confidence level receives a much-needed boost and you’re more likely to succeed with your next task.

For 2019 set concrete goals for yourself. New year’s resolutions tend to be vague, like “lose weight” or “drink less wine.” Instead try saying, “I will bring a lunch to work so I’m not spending extra money” or “I’m signing up for that 5k in March and I start training today.” Whatever your goal is be specific and create a plan of action.

Write down your wins. As simple as this sounds ,not everyone celebrates the small victories we have day to day. Maybe it’s taking the stairs instead of the elevators or only using one packet of sugar for your coffee instead of two, whatever your win is celebrate it. What challenges did you take on this past year and overcome? What did you accomplish? Make a list for yourself to visually see the things you are most proud of in 2018. Focus on what you want to do and can do better for 2019.

Practice patience. I know I’ve said that a lot this past year but taking that moment to stop and breathe can really help you get over any speed bumps in your way. You might think mental resilience is all about being tough but in reality you gain an incredible amount of strength by being patient with yourself and with others. It’s okay if you failed at something. It’s okay if you missed that one workout. It’s okay if you didn’t completely give up ice cream. The point is you made those attempts to try. And if you didn’t try you wouldn’t know what you were capable of.

Be present. Normally, I take December to talk about giving presence instead of presents but for 2019 I think we can all give our presence all year round. Make time for friends, family, and loved ones. Put the cell phones and gadgets away and be in the moment. If you don’t take the time to look up (and away from the phones) you miss everything happening around you. Life is short so don’t take those moments with the people you love for granted.

Take a moment to pause. Nothing can drain your mental strength more than not taking a rest day to recharge your body and mind. It goes beyond sleep and yes there is enough time in the day. Take some time out of your routine to relax and focus on you. Maybe it’s going to your favorite coffee shop for the day or treating yourself to a day at the spa. Whatever your little get away is take the time for you. Even five minutes of meditation can help reset your mind for the week.

Quiet the critic. It’s time to not let self-criticism beat you up. We are our own worst enemy and none of us can get through life mastering perfection. It’s ok to make mistakes; we all have those days where we’re running late or spill our morning coffee in the car. Don’t let the small things get you down. Quiet your mind and make a space for positive thoughts.

Lastly, Pay it Forward. What can you do to finish off your year strong? Is it a mental or physical commitment? Is it being kind to someone you don’t know? Maybe pay for the person behind you in the coffee line or simply hold the door for someone. Donate old clothes or drop off some gifts at a local toy drive. It takes one person’s simple act of kindness to make a difference in someone’s day/life.  Can you make a positive impact within your community this December? What will you do to finish your year off strong?

Cassie McIntyre is a NASM certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and nutritional coach at The Edge Fitness in Bristol.

As the new year arrives, set specific goals for yourself.