Set goals and stick with them in 2014

A couple of weeks ago following a workout, a fellow gym member caught me pulling a box of doughnuts from my trunk and eating one in the parking lot.

She shook her finger and laughed. “I caught you,” she said.

I tried to hide the doughnut, but it was too late so I figured I’d better come clean and explain to her that I was delivering 20 boxes of doughnuts to folks in my neighborhood.

“Plus, I deserve it,” I told her while chomping on the fresh pastry. “I worked out really hard today.”

Inside, I knew that I was about to pack on more calories that I’d worked so hard to lose.

It can sometimes be difficult to achieve new goals and set new habits at the beginning of the year.

Some of my goals for 2014 are to cut back on chocolate and sweet treats, eat more fruits and vegetables and spend more time exercising.

Living a healthier lifestyle is big on most people’s lists, said Kristen Hogan, of the YMCA.

Each year, studies remind us that being sedentary, even sitting at a desk all day or consuming too much junk, could lead to health problems.

The solution is simple; sticking with a plan is the hard part.

“We have more people joining our wellness and fitness center in January than any other time of the year,” said Hogan.

The trick is to “don’t give up” and don’t fall for your own excuses. Many people say they don’t have enough time to work out, Hogan said.

“People will spend their lunch breaks on the Pinterest app or go home and watch TV for one hour,” she said. “There is really no excuse not to exercise.”

The workout that preceded my doughnut was intense. The fitness trainer, P.J, showed me some new abdominal and leg workouts.

Each time I thought I’d made it to the end of those grueling crunches and Russian twists, P.J. asked me to do two more for a good burn.

“Oh, no,” I said and frowned. “You can do it,” he said.

I did it and realized how important it is to have a workout buddy or trainer who can push me a little harder.

P.J. offered a few other tips to help me keep my workouts consistent.

“Just get here and the rest is going to take care of itself,” he told me. “Make working out a job, a chore or an appointment.”

Most of all, “you’ve got to will yourself through the first couple of weeks” to change habits and replace them with new and obtainable goals, he said.

With that kind of advice, how can I lose?

P.J. and his boss said they’ll also be checking my log to see if I’m sticking to my goal and getting to the gym. That’s a challenge that, with their help, I’m ready to commit to.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance reporter. She can be reached at