By Laurie Searle
Laurie SearleThere’s nothing like the day after New Year’s. The holiday buzz is gone and this overwhelming feeling starts gnawing at you. Is it the dog, the kids, the husband, the muffin top compliments of your mother in law’s maple butter pie? It simply couldn’t go to waste, right? Well, it’s all of the above including the bombardment of television ads that tell you it’s time to get on your New Year’s resolution.

With the New Year come new anxieties and expectations about the year ahead. You set goals or resolutions you promise you will stick to, but when the swell of the semester is under way, so goes the promises to yourself.

Here’s the deal – there is nothing more demanding than what we expect of ourselves. Throw away the looming list and get real. Below are a few tips to keep yourself accountable to your wants so that you can be the best person possible for your family, friends and co-workers.

Ask yourself – what do YOU want? No matter how many people rely on you, you have to take care of yourself first in order to take care of others. Make yourself the priority.

If you need to lose a few pounds or 50 pounds it’s going to take more than your will power and a Google search diet to get you there. You NEED support. If you have a friend that’s looking to lose a few pounds, become a team. Set a big picture dream for yourself but don’t look at it for too long, as it will become overwhelming. Sit down with your pal over a skinny latte and make small weekly goals fun and fabulous to achieve together!

Groupon, Living Social, Travel Zoo – there are deeply discounted classes you can try in your neighborhood without having to shell out a fortune or become a member.

Be an explorer. Try a new class a week for a month with your buddy and rate them together. The one’s you like the most, buy a package of 5 or 10 and commit to finish them then find another class to start. Mixing up your routine amidst your daily routines will keep your workouts and mind refreshed as well as your muscles working at peak. Keeping your workouts different will make your muscles work harder for your burning more calories and keeping you toned.

Hire a trainer. Get a bunch of your pals together and hire that dream trainer that costs a fortune but that you can split among the group. Make your home or office your gym every week. It’ll take the intimidation out of ‘having’ to go to a gym or wear the right cute clothes or find parking. When you arm yourself with your best girls, you will work harder, have fun and torch calories. You get a specially designed workout for you and your friends and that takes a lot of the guesswork out.

My mommies have such a hard time carving out time for themselves and their friends that I actually started running a time for two picnic specials where I would come with a healthy lunch for the both of them. Pick your favorite restaurant or get a specially made low cal lunch from some of my favorite local chefs and I’ll come to you with the kettle bells, the sandwiches and you’ve got yourself a great afternoon where you can get your workout and girl talk in all before the kids come home from school.

Take at least five minutes a day to breathe. I’m not kidding – even if it’s in the carpool lane while waiting to pick up the kids. Shut off the phone, put on the classical music station or smooth jazz, sit there and breathe deeply for five minutes. Not four. Be still. It’s amazing how much gets done or resolved in stillness. All the craziness of life slows down around you if you can just take a pause.

Become a healthy family. You don’t need a ton of time to fit exercise in. My last article on LA Mom Magazine taught us how to integrate small bits of fitness into your every day. When you have the whole family on board, it makes it more fun. Check out the archives or email me for ideas.

Finally, give yourself a break. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you miss a class or workout, if you have a brownie or two or if you have a meltdown. Each mistake or misstep is an opportunity to try again. The more you practice mindfulness and new healthy routines, the easier it will be.

Resolutions are pressure. Routines are much easier and it starts with a new mindset and one thing at a time. Eventually it becomes a practice and is effortless to attain the goals you want for yourself. The big picture won’t look so big if you start with the small details first. And, if it’s not fun or if it seems too hard or too much work, it will never work.

No one wishes you an unhappy New Year so remember –keep it simple, keep good people around you to achieve your goals and you will have a happy new year!!

Laurie Searle is a personal fitness trainer, yoga teacher and writer in Los Angeles. For more information you can email Laurie at