8 New Year's resolution success stories

By: Shannon Christie

Author: Canadian Living


8 New Year's resolution success stories

By: Shannon Christie
The start of a new year feels so momentous: 365 brand-new days, with no mistakes in them. There's so much opportunity stretched out in front of us: opportunities to finally live up to our full potential at work, to make that extra effort at home, to repair bonds with family and friends and, finally, to make time for ourselves.

But we have all heard the statistics: That whether we're setting personal goals, vowing to see new projects through to completion or committing to reform a bad habit, the average New Year's resolution lasts about as long as those juicy leftover slices of turkey.

We've gathered a few real-life success stories from people who have made and kept their New Year's resolutions and reaped the rewards of self-improvement.

1. Get in the race
"I had always wanted to run a marathon, but it just seemed so daunting. So last year I resolved to get a training plan together and try to do it. I created a very long-range plan, which built up my running times bit by bit, so that it seemed more manageable. By the fall, I was able to run my first marathon successfully! The feeling of accomplishment I had for sticking to my goal was awesome. I'm doing another one this spring."
-- Steven, 34, St. John's, N.L.

2. Walk the talk
"I started a new job in 2011 and my resolution was to start walking to work every day -- rain, shine or snow -- in an effort to do something active that didn't involve a gym. I actually kept the resolution, and have dropped two pant sizes as a result. The secret to my success was a combination of always having an excellent music mix on my iPod and never figuring out the bus routes!"
-- Erin, 32, Toronto

3. Keep tabs on your health
"Last year I kept one resolution, inspired by a friend who lost his eye to a tumour: I went and had my eyes tested. It saved my life because the doctor found that I had a partially blocked artery, which could have caused a stroke. Go get your eyes tested this year!"
-- Johanne, 51, Gatineau, Que.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover how easy it is to save money and stay healthy this new year with more success stories on page 2
4. Save smartly
"I would like to own a condo sometime in the next few years, but I'm not great with money. Every year I said I was going to start saving, but I never did. So last January I made a resolution to actually set up automatic withdrawal from my paycheque straight to a savings account each month. I don't have enough yet for a down payment, but I'm doing OK. I think I have been successful because the money comes out as soon as I get paid so I don't really see it or feel it."
-- Jenn, 27, Kitsilano, B.C.

5. Start slowly and don't get discouraged
"I made a resolution to get to the gym in January because I had booked a month-long trip to Costa Rica and wanted to be in shape for all of the activities I had planned: surfing, hiking, etc. At first I couldn't really run at all, so I spent a lot of time on the treadmill walking on an incline. I kept up my workout routine when I got back and throughout the rest of the year -- what motivates me now is staying in shape for more travel."
-- Charlotte, 29, Ottawa

6. Don't drink your calories

"For the first time ever, I have successfully kept a New Year's resolution all year long by giving up drinking pop at night. This was a major lifestyle change for me. I sleep better now, too, because I gave up all of the sugar and caffeine that used to disrupt my sleep. It was actually easier than I thought -- I just had to stop buying it and keeping it around the house."
-- Jamie, 35, Toronto

7. Ban the predictable
"I thought my social life was getting a bit predictable: post-work drinks week after week with the same people. So last year, I made a resolution to do something new at least every other month. I checked out online event pages for my area and this year I've been to a wine tasting, a comedy show and even a poetry reading (which was a little odd). But I do feel like I've really expanded my horizons, and I've had much more interesting stories to share at post-work drinks these days."
-- Sarah, 31, Halifax

8. Socialize in real time
"I made a New Year's resolution last year to quit Facebook. I just realized that Facebook-stalking was eating up a lot of time that I could be using to interact with people, instead of creeping on exes and old classmates' babies. I'm not sure if it counts as "keeping" a resolution, but I haven't logged in at all, and don't plan on it."
-- Brad, 29, Toronto

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8 New Year's resolution success stories