Okay, let's be honest - raise your hand if your resolution was to run or go to the gym more in 2017 but for whatever reason - time, health, stress, whatever - you haven't done as much as you'd planned? You say to yourself, "I will, I will, I will, I will," but your legs say, "But this couch is so nice," or your hands say, "But we can just pour ourselves this glass of wine instead, it was a rough day after all," or you just don't want to get out of bed. Yeah, we all struggle with this, but it's been a few weeks after New Year's so now is a good time to check in, evaluate progress, and ask ourselves what else we can do.

By this time in January all the eager beaver New Years Resolutioners at the local gyms have burnt out and gone home, so that nice elliptical machine that doesn't have gross handlebars and whose buttons actually respond when you try to adjust settings may not be in constant use like it was at the beginning of the year. At the very least, it's worth checking out, right?

Besides, progress without milestones is almost impossible to measure meaningfully, so checking in with your goals can help ensure you're on track. We may have set our sights too high or we might have tried to change too much too quickly. Or maybe we are taking it easy by setting easy goals where we are guaranteed to succeed (aka cheating, heh). This is the perfect time to figure out what's working, what isn't working, and how to get back on track.

I was taking photos and Ryder decided he needed to get in the picture. He's cute which is why I let him photobomb on occasion.

1. What's easy?

First, is there anything about your goal or resolutions that is easy? Are you actually challenging yourself or did you set the bar too low? If your goal is too easy, consider making adjustments to push yourself and grow. If instead your goal seems crazy ambitious, think about what easy things you can do to make steps toward your goal. If you're trying to eat healthy is it easy to not snack on junk food if you just don't keep it in the house at all? If you're trying to go running in the morning, is it easy if you set your alarm and leave it across the room so you have to get up and step over the running clothes laid out on the floor? If you're trying to go to the gym after work is it easy to just pack some workout clothes and bring them to work so you see them throughout the day and you're reminded of your goal? Think of small, easy things to prompt you to get moving.

2. What's hard?

Next, consider what is really holding you back with trying to meet your goals. Is it motivation? Is it time? Is it easy access? Consider the days where you were really committed to following through with your goals but for some reason didn't do it. What finally prompted you to bail? What was it that kept you from running, from the gym, from eating healthy, from doing yoga, from getting outside? If it's something consistent that is giving you trouble, brainstorm ways around it. Outsmart yourself! If the weather is awful and you don't want to run outside think of other activities that you can do inside. If time is difficult to come by consider doing short high-intensity workouts. If motivation is an issue consider publicizing your goals to hold yourself accountable or finding a friend with similar goals to work together. If you know your buddy is waiting for you at 6am at the gym you're much more likely to roll out of bed.

Ryder ended up laying down and staring at me while I tried to take photos. So then I just started messing with him and putting him into the pictures. Good thing he's cute.

3. Reward yourself.

Changing habits is a matter of training yourself. It's not easy and you'll naturally resist the change. In fact, your body might even rebel against the change with aches, pains, digestion issues, or a whole slew of horrible tricks it can play. Think of ways to motivate yourself and reward yourself when you do something that works towards your goal. Okay, maybe don't make your goal "I can have a gallon of ice cream if I go run a mile," but be intentional with your rewards. Maybe if you run a certain amount you can buy a new pair of running shorts, or maybe after 10 times at the gym you can do a fun movie night. Make it a game and have a fun reward for the smaller successes.

It's a huge challenge to follow through with a resolution, but checking in often and evaluating what works and where you can improve is a great way to make sure you're on the right track. It's hard work, but don't get discouraged!

Is there anything you do to keep yourself encouraged and motivated with your goals? Let me know in the comments!

PS - don't forget to enter my giveaway on Instagram! Today and tomorrow are the last few days to enter for the $25 Amazon e-gift card! 

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