It’s February.

I don’t know about you, but February is not always my favorite month. The weather stinks, it’s too short, and all the big events–Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, and Valentine’s Day–are totally overrated. In fact, if I am being totally honest, the whole month often feels like a big fat letdown!

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But you see, normally it’s January that gets me all fired up–it’s the time for setting new goals, for wiping the slate clean and starting over. And there is nothing I love more than a clean slate!

But February?

That’s when all those big plans and resolutions we were so committed to start fade away, that time when the nitty gritty details of life start to catch up with us, right as our willpower starts to fade.

Please tell me I’m not the only one!

This year my biggest goal is to be in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE by my 40th birthday.

Believe me when I tell you that this was NOT a small goal.

Because I hate exercise.

Not just a little bit–we’re talking despise, loathe, abhor, detest, can’t stand, really really really dislike, would-rather-poke-out-my-eyeballs-with-a-toothpick-level HATE.

You know how there are some people who say they don’t like exercising but really secretly do?

I am not one of those people.

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All my siblings, with the exception of me, have always loved all things athletic. They work out for fun, even on vacation, even when they don’t have to.

Me? I like books. And writing. And sitting. And Doritos.

Which is how I found myself, the day after Christmas, wondering why my face looked so puffy in our family Christmas selfie, then weighing myself for the first time in almost a year, and discovering that not only was I the heaviest I had ever been, I actually weighed 20 pounds MORE than I did when I was 9 months pregnant. Ouch.

New Year's resolutions have faded, and you still hate the way you look in pictures. Reset your resolve!

Not only that, I just felt ugh. Unhealthy and out-of-shape. Hating the way I looked in photos and on video, not wanting to look at myself in the mirror, not wanting my husband to see me, and constantly feeling exhausted.

Basically, I felt like crap.

And I realized that something had to give.

In just 3 months, I would be turning 40, and I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I didn’t want to feel self-conscious about the way I looked. I didn’t want to have to say no to television interviews because I felt too fat. I wanted to feel GOOD when I woke up in the morning, and I wanted to have energy for my kids and for my husband all day long.

And so, in my Living Well Planner®, I set this big huge crazy goal of being in the best shape of my life by my 40th birthday, which for me means losing 25 pounds and being in good enough shape to run a 10K in an hour or less.

From there, using our Goal Crushing® worksheet, I got real with myself about WHY this goal was so important to me—because I wanted to look good on video and feel confident about the way I look. But more than that, it was important to me to have more energy so that I can be a better mom and a better wife and a better boss. I was tired of being exhausted.

Once I was clear about my WHY, I identified the things I would need to do in order to make this goal a reality:

  • weight train at least 3 times a week
  • run at least 3 times a week, following a couch-to-10K training program app in order to be ready to run a 10K
  • stop drinking beer and eating Doritos
  • eat healthy, low calorie, high-protein meals and actually keep track of daily calories
  • start doing yoga again at least 2x per week to increase flexibility
  • drink at least 64 ounces of water per day
  • take daily vitamin & mineral supplements
  • weigh-in daily and take measurements weekly in order to stay on track
  • log at least 10,000 steps on Fitbit every day

Nothing I listed was crazy or radical—eat healthy, track your calorie intake, get more exercise. It’s all pretty basic, when you think about it.

Because the truth is that my problem was not that I didn’t know WHAT to do, or even HOW to do it. My problem was that I just didn’t want to. Exercise sucks. Dieting is hard.

It’s way more fun—and way easier—to eat Doritos.

But now, here I am, one month into this BIG goal.

I’ve lost 10.8 pounds and 9 inches

I’ve been working out every day. I’ve found new ways to add steps in at work, like walking to the office instead of driving, and walking around the block when I have to make a phone call.

I’m tracking my calories and eating right and taking supplements and drinking lots of water and doing yoga, and I haven’t had a single beer in 2018. Not even one. Last weekend I ran two whole miles without stopping. I even started drinking green tea instead of coffee, something I never even would have considered a few weeks ago.

And you know what?

It’s HARD.

Really really hard.

I really miss Doritos.

I still don’t like exercise.

I can feel my resolve slipping, as life starts to get in the way of making good choices. Between things like going on a business trip, taking a family outing to the movies, attending a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, I’m finding it harder and harder to stay on track.

And every single morning I have to wake up and make the conscious choice to get back on that scale, and to put on my running shoes and to keep going. Because at least once a day, I really feel like quitting. Especially now that it is February.

But there are a couple of things that keep me going.

The first is that I have told everyone I know—my husband, my kids, my team, my friends—about this goal, and they are all cheering me on AND holding me accountable. My kids and husband even biked behind me while I ran my first mile without stopping, and then again when I went for two miles.

Tell everyone about your goal. They'll cheer you on and hold you accountable!

I’ve realized how much need that. In the past, I’ve been too embarrassed and self-conscious to tell anyone, or to share my goals. And I certainly didn’t want anyone to know if I failed. It always seemed safer to keep in to myself.

But not this time around! This time I am in it to win it, and the more people I tell, the more motivated I am to stick with it, which is what drove me to share the very personal photos in this post. And let me tell you–it is super scary to be vulnerable!

The second thing that keeps me going is my WHY. Every time I feel discouraged, I re-read what I wrote on my Goal Crushing® worksheet about feeling bad about myself, and I remind myself of why this goal matters to me so much. I remind myself that the pain I am feeling now will be worth it in the end.

I’m realizing more and more that the secret to making a big change or accomplishing a really big goal is to want it more than you are scared of it. Your WHY needs to be bigger and stronger than your excuses. Because going after those big things is HARD. It takes continual effort and a daily commitment and grit and determination to see it through.

And so, even though it is February, and you might think it is too late to start setting new resolutions, or too late to get back on track with those goals you set in January, my advice for you is to reset your resolve.

First, think about your WHY. What do you want to accomplish, and why does this goal matter to you? Is your why stronger than your excuses? Will it compel you to keep going, even when the going gets tough?

And then second, once you’ve determined your why, tell everyone you know! Commit and make it real. Create real accountability so that you have no choice but to see it through.

You might just be amazed at what you are capable of.

Even though it’s February.

P. S.-Listen to my latest podcast about my weight loss journey Here.

Reset your resolve and get back on track!

Ruth Soukup

Ruth Soukup - LIVING WELL SPENDING LESS. Practical solutions for everyday overwhelm. Food Made Simple, Life Etc., Home 101, Smart Money. Start organizing your whole life today!

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