Gratuitous cat picture because – hey – why not.


It’s April 11.  That means we’re 100 days into 2013, and we’ve got 256 more to go until 2014.  Odds are, if you made a New Year’s Resolution, you have already fallen a bit off the bandwagon.  I confess – I have.  My big resolution for the year was to go to bed earlier, and although I was really great about it for two months or so, my bedtime slowly crept later and later until I was operating on 6 hours of sleep again.  And I do not like operating on 6 hours of sleep.


At the end of this post, we’re going to check in with the HTP January Joiners to see how they are doing with their New Year’s Resolutions.  But first, I thought we could tackle one aspect of one of my favorite topics: motivation.


You see, everyone always talks about motivations in terms of how to get it.  But really, I think getting it is the easy part.  The trouble with motivation is maintaining that burning desire to actually DO IT, day in and day out.  Part of the issue is that it’s really hard to create new habits, but the bigger problem is that life often takes over, pushing our best of intentions to do better to the wayside.  One week, we’re working out religiously, and the next, a huge project takes off at work, we get overwhelmed, and suddenly, we just… forget… that we were trying to run a 5K at all.  Know what I mean?


The entire first chapter of the Healthy Tipping Point book is devoted to how to get motivated, how to stay motivated (very important!), and how to channel that motivation into actual action.  Personally, I think the biggest trip-up for most of us is that we fail to really, really think through our plan.  We just say things like, “I want to run a 10K!” or “I want to do a triathlon!” or “I want to get 8 hours of sleep every night!” and then we just kind of hope it will actually happen.


To achieve a specific goal, I am a firm believer in the power of writing.  It’s not enough to just say your goal or think your plan out.  You’ve got to commit it to paper.


My goal to go to bed early every night is a pretty simple goal (especially compared to, say, running a marathon or saving $5,000 over the course of the year).  So here’s my plan:


I generally reward myself with manicures. Winking smile  It is very effective for me.


The second key to keeping your goal at the forefront of your mind is to place your plan in a visible spot.  You can’t write it and then stash it in your desk drawer.  You could tape it to the mirror or put it on the fridge.  I write one sentence about my day every night, so I’m putting my plan in my diary.  Can’t miss it there.


This technique – writing out a plan, listing obstacles, clearly defining terms of success, and creating rewards – has been really instrumental in helping me achieve goals in all areas of my life, but especially for fitness.  Think of it like a mini business plan for kicking butt.  I’m hoping that now that I’ve taken the time to write out a plan for early bedtimes, it will actually happen.  One can dream (pun intended, of course)…


How you do keep your ‘eye on the prize’ and stay focused on your goals?  Some other ideas:


  • Sign up for a race – don’t just say you’re going to do it, but actually plunk down your credit card.
  • Find a workout buddy and go to the gym or classes together.
  • Start a blog and tell the world about your intentions.
  • Consider downloading an app to help your stick to your goals (here’s a few great New Year’s Resolution-y apps).
  • Hire a professional, whether it’s a personal trainer, a life coach, or a financial advisor.  One of my other goals for the year was to finally get my finances in order – getting a financial advisor has helped tremendously because she checks in with me and basically tells me what to do.
  • Alternatively, you could ask a friend to check in with you on a weekly basis and give her progress reports.


And now – a January Joiners update!

You can read the original January Joiners’ commitments here.


Molloy Jan JoinersMaeve wants to lose 20 pounds, run injury-free through 2013, and work on her abs.  How is she doing?  She has been traveling a lot (throughout India!) but has stayed really active.  She credits the Gympact app (which I love, too!).  She says, “It basically charges you $5 per missed workout. I committed to 4 workouts a week so if I didn’t do it, it cost $20. That’s 1085 Indian rupees…more than this girl wants to shell out for being lazy. The app also has an integration with RunKeeper which allows you to count 30+ minutes of running or walking as a workout. It was a great motivator to walk places instead of take cabs, go for long wanders with my travel companion, and hike up everything we could. Now in my Runkeeper account I have some pretty cool stats from the "elevation gains" of climbing ancient Indian forts.”


photoMeagan wants to get truly healthy in 2013 in preparation of having a baby.  Unfortunately, her beloved Grandma was in the hospital and in hospice care for much of the beginning of the year (she’s doing better).  But Meagan says that it hasn’t stopped her!  She says, “Throughout this whole experience, it’s actually been a good distraction to focus on eating healthy and working out.  I am normally a girl who eats my feelings (which tend to taste like pizza and chocolate), but throwing myself into menu planning and an exercise routine has been a welcome change.  There have been good days and bad days, and it’s been anything but perfect – but that’s life, right? Now that the dust has settled and I am looking back over the start of the year, I am pretty pleased with how things have gone overall.”  She considers maintaining her weight through such a stressful period to be a huge victory and is very pleased with her efforts to consistently work out.  Meagan added, “I opted not to take the bootcamp I had planned on joining in January, but I stumbled across an awesome fitness blogger called Blogilates who runs a YouTube channel full of pilates and HIIT workouts.”


523325_948468709220_150587474_nJessica’s goals for 2013 included: getting happier, healthier, and cleaning up her diet.  She says she’s fulfilled part of her resolution already by QUITTING her soul-sucking jobs.  Wahoo!  She’s been struggling with healthy eating, as her new job as a teacher is a bit stressful and she tends to emotionally eat when she gets home from a long day.  One thing she’s realized:  that being healthy takes planning. “My first two weeks of work I was getting up before my alarm, making a smoothie or yogurt to bring to work, and having my healthy lunch,” she reports. “I was pretty burnt out by the 3rd week (thank God for spring break!) but am determined to get myself back on track.”


photo2At 41 years old, Arlene has become painfully aware of how her lifestyle is impacting her future (her own mother passed away at age 59 after a battle with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease). She wants to be consistently healthy in 2013.  Since re-starting Weight Watchers on January 1, Arlene has lost 28.2 pounds!  “Tracking is key in WW, and I’ve been using the WW iPhone app to record everything I eat,” she says.  “Often, I enter everything I’ll be eating in a day first thing in the morning. It makes it easier to stay on track when I have that blueprint.”  Arlene says she wants to work on being more active as the year progresses.


picture0328Jennifer hoped to train for her first marathon in 2013.  Her knees were acting up, so she’s temporarily ditched the idea to run a marathon and picked up other forms of cardio, including biking and swimming, as well as strength training.  She’s also dabbling with vegetarianism!  She says, “I am constantly reminded that healthy living is a choice that I have to make for myself, a fact that is made evident when faced with all the tempting food my parents bring around.  It’s increasingly hard to say no to pie when there’s at least two or three in the fridge.”


IMG_1422In 2013, Sierra wants to fundraise for Team in Training and run the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Washington DC.  She wants to really run and minimize walking breaks.  And she also wants to lose a total of 36 pounds over the course of the year.  So far, she’s down 7 pounds and has been working with a nutritionist to determine how to continue in lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.  Sierra was recently diagnosed with PCOS, and her diagnoses only strengthens her commitment to getting healthy.  She finished her half marathon, shaving nearly 40 minutes off her personal record (AMAZING), and is signed up to do a triathlon in May.



156889_10201122286203051_1158248479_nKerry’s goal for 2013 is to continue to love herself and her body, and to also run the Marine Corps marathon in October.  How is she doing?  She says, “Running has transitioned from being a habit to something I look forward to every day.  2013 has brought with it a number of unwelcome anxieties, and running has served as an outlet to relieve tension.  I connect with myself during my runs, have honest talks with myself, and take joy in the strength of my body.”  So far this year, she’s run a half marathon and two 5Ks.  She’s searching for a post-college job and plans to relocate this month.


Jennifer’s goal for 2013 was to figure out how to lose the baby weight and be a healthy mom while living abroad in Thailand.  She says, “After two months feeling glued to the couch with my newborn with no foreseeable way to work out or lose weight in sight, I stumbled into a Babywearing Club meeting, with my baby in his stroller. The irony was felt when I discovered that the meeting was four floors up, with no elevator. So, I ditched the stroller, learned how to wrap my little one, and never looked back! For the past three months I have been walking all over Bangkok with various infant wraps, burning calories while exploring and entertaining my baby.”  She reports that she’s in a new pants size and wants to tone up in the upcoming months.


How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?



  • Kerry April 11, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Came home from an 8 mile run to find myself looking like an Easter egg. Being featured on your blog is motivation enough haha.

  • Kristen L April 11, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Great tip on writing down a plan and putting it where you can see it. Seems like a great way to stay organized and motivated!

  • Sarah April 11, 2013, 5:41 pm

    I was recently reading an article about the difference between Passion and Drive as it relates to your work.

    Passion ebbs and flows, but drive is more constant. Drive is what pushes you to do something, the responsibility or duty. But passion is a pulling force, an end result you are so excited to achieve.

    I think this relates well to healthy goals too. You can identify the Drive as your obligation to treat your body well. It is your DUTY, your RESPONSIBILITY to take good care of the body you’re given.

    The Passion, on the other hand, is a smokin’ hot bod, the confidence, even that mani-pedi you might’ve promised yourself.

    Lately it’s the Drive that’s been keeping me consistently on track. Especially because I’ve been so successful. It keeps me going when my motivational “passions” wane or are met.

  • Jelena@FabLifePhD April 11, 2013, 5:46 pm

    And here I am, 11:45 PM in Europe, reading your blog and not sticking to my 11:00 h decision 🙂

  • Rebecca April 11, 2013, 5:49 pm

    I didn’t make an NYRs, but it sounds like I may be doing at least one 5k with my dad this summer. I’d mentioned kind of wanting to do one that’s happening at school soon, but I don’t think I can do it logistically/timing-wise, so he suggested we find one to do together, and I may just take him up on that. He’s willing to walk with me since I don’t run, but I also suggested that I could start jogging or something. We’ll see what happens.

  • Helene @healthyfrenchie April 11, 2013, 5:55 pm

    Huge congratulations to all of the ladies you featured!
    As you wrote it’s hard to stay on track when life gets in the way…
    I write monthly goals on my blog and then review how I did at the end of the month! That way I keep myself more accountable.
    And when I have a “big” month like in March, I can look back and know why I failed at some of my goals.
    Recognizing that sometimes you have setbacks but it doesn’t meant the end of it is so liberating.
    And I’m glad you haven’t completely disappeared from my reader 🙂

  • Miranda @ Miranda Runs April 11, 2013, 6:00 pm

    I love these check ins! It’s great to see that all the girls are doing so well 🙂

  • Stephanie Clement April 11, 2013, 6:19 pm

    3-6-5 days in a year….

  • Isabella April 11, 2013, 7:10 pm

    Fabulous post! I needed to hear about the motivation being laid out through a plan.
    I am really appreciating your writing now that it is more spread out.

  • Lisa April 11, 2013, 8:44 pm

    This is such a great plan to write out all the steps. Doing this now! Thanks, Caitlin!

  • Emily April 11, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Another step towards finding and keeping motivation: check out Healthy Tipping Point.

    I’m starting to train for my first 10k in September, and with graduation and jobs searching coming up fast, I’m worried that I’ll slack off and not follow my training plan. Starting a blog as my own means of motivation never occurred to me before, but it’s already gotten me excited to go out on my next run!

    Thank you for always giving out so much inspiration! I have to say, although I was initially a little sad that I wouldn’t be able to see a new post from you every day, it seems so far (so far being two posts) that you have a lot more substance to talk about when you don’t have to post twice every day! All the best. 🙂

  • Chelsea April 11, 2013, 10:02 pm

    It’s so good to hear how everyone is doing – and so inspiring to hear how people are adapting to struggles that come up. I love the idea of writing things down, first of all, but also of making sure to define your terms of success for any given situation – this seems to be a great way of making sure you’re on track like you want to be 🙂

  • Keith B April 11, 2013, 10:09 pm

    It’s good to set goals and a routine to achieve them. It gives you structure, and also allows you to look back and monitor your progress. Thanks for sharing this inspirational post!

  • Stephanie @ Steph's Miles April 11, 2013, 10:22 pm

    Where did you find the journal?

  • Shannon April 12, 2013, 12:15 am

    I love that you featured so many women of different ages and with different goals on your blog. I am also so very envious that your goal is to get 8 hours of sleep each night-and with a young child! I do not have a child but I have a demanding career and 6 hours a night would be heaven for me. I also feel my best with 8 hours of sleep. Add a novel a week into the mix and I would feel like I was on vacation! Great for you!

  • Lauren April 12, 2013, 2:55 am

    So happy about a new post 🙂 I really miss your daily updates but on the upside, it’s now more exciting than before to see there’s a new post! I also become crabby and snappy when I didn’t get enough sleep. Your 10:30 bed time sounds so late to me, because I have to be asleep by 9:15 to get 8 hours with my 5:15 wake up to take the train to work. And I only get home at 7:30 after stopping at the gym after arriving in town on the train… so I’m often busy with laundry, dinner, dishwasher, playing with (my) Pippa until 10pm 🙁 I am looking for a job closer to home and I believe something wonderful will come up!! Thanks for sharing such practical tips to stay motivated <3

  • Barca Mama April 12, 2013, 3:04 am

    What a great stat- 100 days into 2013 – wow time flies!!! I know this is horrible, but truth be told I haven’t gotten around to writing out my goals for this year:(
    I love the look of the ‘Thought a Day Journal’.

    Sleep well!

  • Jenna April 12, 2013, 5:51 am

    This is a fantastic tip – writing a plan then putting it somewhere where you regularly view it. A simple but effective solution to keeping organized and motivated!

  • Karen @ Runner Girl Eats April 12, 2013, 7:49 am

    I’ve kept up with some of my resolutions but have slacked with others. I actually had a plan to sit down TONIGHT and map out a detailed plan of attack so this post is perfect timing. Writing it down def helps me.

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action April 12, 2013, 9:23 am

    Yay- healthy living! My favourite topic. I’m currently doing a 3 part series about how to keep up with healthy living even when you’re super busy. I think it’s SOOO easy to fall off the bandwagon, and lose motivation.

    My New Years Resolutions were all bigger picture ones, like pay down debt, move to Europe and do my yoga teacher training. None of them have officially happened yet- but they’re all in the works. By December, I should hit all three 🙂

  • Elizabeth @ Positive Change April 12, 2013, 9:32 am

    Great tips for motivation and keeping a plan. I have kept my goals so far, like you I have read a book every week and so far I have accomplished this goal! I have discovered what I like to read and what I don’t like to read and I feel over all my vocabulary has improved! My mother-in-law does the thought a day book and loves it!

  • Heather April 12, 2013, 10:09 am

    My health goals for this year were to find an exercise I enjoy doing, find a balance between eating healthy and indulging in foods I love, run a 5K, and lose 40 lbs. So far, things are going great! Sometime around the end of January/early Feb, I tried out a free Zumba class near my home. I LOVED IT! It was just what I was looking for and I look forward to going 2 nights a week. I started the couch to 5K program in Feb. I am part way through the 5th week and while I can’t say I enjoy the actual running part yet, I love how it makes me feel AFTER. I participated in the color run and finally figured out why people love 5K races! I plan to participate in a 5K race once a month with a goal of being able to run a whole 5K by the end of summer. Food wise, I am using a bit of the “Kath squiggly line”. During the week I really watch what I eat super closely and try to avoid processed foods or eating out. I save the weekend for either making a couple of my favorite comfort food recipes or eating out at my favorite restaurant. I like to push myself when I work out and I have hit the point where I am consciously thinking about how to best fuel my body/workouts instead of just feeding my face. So far, I have lost 15lbs since the beginning of the year (really since the end of January). I just feel better. I have more energy, I feel strong, I am sleeping better, and I am very proud of myself! The reward I set for getting to the halfway point was a pair of really awesome boots I have had my eye on for years. I am almost there!!

  • Jamie April 12, 2013, 11:36 am

    Ahhh, I needed this post! Back around New Year’s I signed up for a half marathon (which is tomorrow!) and was full of motivation. Illness and several snowstorms got in the way of a few long runs and I did not train as hard as I had hoped to. However, I still am glad I signed up because honestly, knowing I had the race kept me on track MUCH more than had I had nothing to work towards!

  • Mari April 12, 2013, 12:21 pm

    I like your written plan idea, but I have a question. What would “terms of success” be when it comes to weight loss? Like, I have long term weight loss goals (a certain weight, to run a 5K without stopping…) and short term goals (5% weight loss), so what would go in “terms of success”? I can’t think of any other term of success that I haven’t already listed in bullet #1 – goals (long and short). What am I missing? Thanks!

    • Caitlin April 12, 2013, 2:53 pm

      Maybe ask yourself what would you be okay with achieving if the number in your mind doesn’t pan out? Meaning if you want to lose 20 but you kind of bottom out at 15 but feel really great. What about emotional milestones like feeling confident at the beach or wearing an old paid of pants?

      • Mari April 14, 2013, 9:46 pm

        That’s really clever, thanks!

  • Lindsay @ Health Foragers April 12, 2013, 1:12 pm

    I needed this right now. I am having a hard time going to bed early and getting up early. My schedule is too busy during the day and i really need time in the morning when I can be the most productive to get things knocked out but instead I am fighting to keep my eyes open at night to get stuff done and I am not productive but then I don’t want to get up early. Drives me crazy! So I am going home tonight to write out my plan. Thanks!

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs April 12, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Loved reading the January Joiners update — so good to check in with them!

  • Aerevyn Harteis April 12, 2013, 2:04 pm

    I love seeing the ways that life has intervened for each person featured. We set goals. Crazy things happen. And we need to find creative, resilient responses. It was a good reminder for me.

    This blog is such a lifeline for me. Thanks,Caitlyn, and to everyone who posts!

  • Erika April 12, 2013, 3:58 pm

    This really has nothing to do with your post but I was just thinking how awesome it would be if you came out with an Operational Beautiful app! You could send out a positive message every morning 🙂 I have never come across a post-it so I wonder what I would feel when I read a message like that. Just a thought.

    Also, I totally agree that being movitivated and acting on it are two different things and until you put the physical effort into achieving your goal it won’t happen.

  • Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 12, 2013, 6:43 pm

    I always use the SMART acronym for goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, & Timely). I also generally set weekly goals since they are not as daunting to meet! One week rolls into another and another and soon it’s a new healthy habit 🙂

  • Aja April 12, 2013, 9:13 pm

    I used to make NYR’s but I always forgot them. This year I made some simple ones like working on liking my body and stuff like that.

  • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} April 13, 2013, 9:49 am

    I love that you checked in with how everyone is doing with their resolutions!

  • Carol April 13, 2013, 11:36 am

    I still check everyday to see if you have posted or not …. I really miss you !

    • Caitlin April 13, 2013, 4:16 pm

      I posted 😉 thanks!

  • Liz July 23, 2013, 9:09 am

    Seems like I always have a resolution. That is to not have a resolution. 🙂 I am a huge fan of short term goals. That makes life a lot easier for me. Great post.

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