I don't set New Year's resolutions—they set people up for failure. Instead, I prefer to set nutrition and fitness goals throughout the year.

By Julie Upton, RD

I think New Year’s Resolutions almost always set people up for failure. Instead of making resolutions, I prefer to set several nutrition and fitness goals throughout the year.

Some of my past goals include going completely vegan for three months, running a half-marathon under 1 hour, 40 minutes, and completing the Hawaii Ironman.

This year, for some unexplained reason, I decided to give myself a real kick-in-the-pants (AKA HOLY CRAP!) goal. So, I signed up for the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run.

The race is six days of running from Buena Vista, Colo., to Beaver Creek in late August. It will cover 113 miles and has 25,000 feet of climbing at altitudes up to 12,500 feet. Oh, and I have to do all of this with a partner, essentially attached at the hip, for the entire event. Luckily, my girlfriend Sheila is as warped as I am—she's an experienced ultra runner and is always up for a challenge.

In addition to shredding a few lbs of pudge, I want to see if I can get to the fitness level I had several years ago—before I had a scoped knee, jumbo-mortgage, and more frequent flyer miles than I could ever use.

Having a mega fitness goal also has the added bonus of improving my overall diet. In fact, in a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that individuals who expended 500 calories a day, five days a week, were hungrier in the A.M. before breakfast but became fuller sooner after engaging in an exercise regime for four weeks.


As long as you don’t use food as a reward for working out, it may provide a the benefit of helping you feel fuller on fewer calories. And every time I will want that extra dessert or candy, part of my brain will remind me that what I eat will impact my ability to make it to the finish of a six-day run in the Rockies. The healthier I eat, the harder I'll be able train.

If you're ready for a challenge, these sites have some great ideas for events that will put your fitness to the test:

Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure: A 60-mile charity hike for breast cancer over three days.

Team In Training, sports events to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Choose from marathons and triathlons to numerous other events.

Butterfied and Robinson or Backroads: Multi-day cycling or hiking tours with great options worldwide.