The SparkPeople Blog

Don't Give Up Yet! Finish Strong This Year

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/3/2010 10:00 AM   :  136 comments   :  29,976 Views

As I've mentioned before, Spinning is one of my favorite workout classes, whether I'm taking the class as a student or leading the ride myself as the instructor. I love to teach Spinning, and I try to draw on various motivational techniques and phrases to keep the students going during the toughest parts of the class, such as all-out sprints or steep hills that never seem to end. During these times, I can tell when my class is working hard and struggling, wishing for a break in the intensity so they can recover.

Sometimes, when I let them know that the end of a sprint or top of a hill is just 15 seconds away—so close that they can "see" it—I notice that my students do one of two things: They either slow down right away, coasting to the finish without much effort – OR – they buckle down and push on through the end with strength and heart. Which person are you?

When you mess up on your diet, do you give up for the rest of the week, or get back on track so that one slipup doesn't get in your way?

When life gets busy, do you skip your workouts entirely, or do you squeeze in whatever you can, even if it's only 10 or 15 minutes?

When the holiday season hits—with all its glorious food and parties—do you resign to gain weight and restart next year, or do you continue pushing forward with all the effort you can muster?

Climbing a hill in Spinning class isn't that much different than any other challenge or goal in life. You have to decide that you want to do it, work hard even though resistance is working against you, and then follow through until you reach the top.

Two common phrases I repeat to my Spinning students are, "Give yourself a finish that you'll be proud of," and, "Finish just as strong as you started." And that's what I want to encourage you to do as you're facing the most difficult time of year for sticking to healthy eating and exercise habits.

You will never regret choosing to work hard and climb to the top of that hill, no matter how challenging it may be or how much resistance is trying to hold you back. But you will regret giving up early, putting it off, and simply coasting to the finish line (which is a lot like backpedaling). In a race, a runner doesn't start to walk once the finish line is in sight ("Whew, I'm almost there, so I'll just relax now!"). That runner kicks it in and gives everything he or she has left until they cross that line. So why should you treat your own goals any differently? Your personal finish line is no less important, and you owe it to yourself to get there without giving up. Use whatever effort you have left so that you, too, can finish out the year—that final hill—with a sprint to the finish. A finish you can be proud of.

Have you committed to a strong finish this year, or are you going to give up and start over in 2011?

Follow thecoachnicole on Twitter

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

NEXT ENTRY >   12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Chef Meg's Cocoa Meringue Shells

Great Stories from around the Web


  • 136
    From June to December I was kicking butt in the gym and eating all the right things. I lost 10 pounds. BUT, Christmas came... I spent a week with my Uncle who cooks the most amazing fatty foods... it took one day for me to fall into temptation. Since then, I've only ran maybe twice, and am in a downward spiral eating anything I can get my hands on. It doesn't help that I'm having family issues as well since I'm an emotional eater. I'm hoping once school starts I can get back on track. :\ - 1/12/2011   2:51:45 AM
  • 135
    I have coasted in the past, but not any more. I'm going to push my way to the top and gain a healthy lifestyle! It's my health I need to focus on, not the weight loss. - 12/29/2010   11:33:59 AM
    Thanks for this article. i love the statement "Give yourself a finish that you'll be proud of." That should be one of our driving forces for the end of the year but for life in general and any undertaking we might embark upon,
    - 12/10/2010   10:22:28 AM
  • 133
    I needed to read this. I am recommitted to finish strong! - 12/9/2010   8:56:38 PM
    I am happy that I read this today. It gives me the motivation to finish strong. I am not good at getting my exercise in each day. I did start again yesterday by doing a few minutes on the treadmill. I liked the suggestion of standing in place and walking. That is good for me as I sit long hours at a receptionist desk each day. I'm starting to do it tonight. - 12/9/2010   5:46:27 PM
    Nope, I'm staying strong through December still working hard... when January come and the gym is packed with people "starting over" .. I'm already there!! And yeah the gym will be empty again about 2 weeks into January!! Good luck everyone!! - 12/9/2010   5:20:59 PM
  • 130
    I was saying, "oh well, next year is just around the corner". Your article reminded me that we're not even promised today, never mind next year. I'm going out with a bang, because I always want to do my best!, and I've treated me badly long enough! Thanks for blogging! - 12/9/2010   11:25:26 AM
  • 129
    I am now seeing myself as a coaster. :-( I had been doing exceptionally well, and now after many days of "well I already messed up" it's becoming increasingly hard to get back on track. - 12/8/2010   6:43:18 PM
  • 128
    Great Article!!! - 12/8/2010   5:48:39 PM
    "Your personal finish line is no less important, and you owe it to yourself to get there without giving up."

    The whole entry was very inspirational, but this really hit me hard! Thank you for the extra encouragement! - 12/8/2010   2:10:51 PM
  • 126
    I am still going strong for the year! - 12/8/2010   12:00:57 PM
  • 125
    I feel I am giving up. I know I am not eating good this week. I know I am not exercising like I should and frustrated with the scale. I know it is all my doing yet I feel depressed by it all and going through an internal struggle to be good by eating write and exercising while the rest of me wants to be lazy and eat whatever. Last year, I was so determined and lost weight as xmas neared and maintained during the 2 week period I was home. This year i know if I don't get my mindset changed I will gain during the holiday season. You would think as I near my goals I would do better but unfortunately, I am those who begin coasting and in return gain taking me back away from my goals. :( - 12/8/2010   11:14:43 AM
  • 124
    I believe I am the type to buckle down and push on through the end with strength and heart. Which is my plan for ending this year strong, so I can be proud of me!
    - 12/8/2010   11:03:03 AM
  • 123
    LOVE this blog! Thanks Coach Nicole! - 12/8/2010   10:30:04 AM
  • 122
    I've committed to a strong finish this year!!! This isn't anything like previous years! XD - 12/8/2010   5:39:00 AM
  • 121
    Full Speed ahead!! I will finish the year strong! Thanks Coach Nicole! - 12/7/2010   10:42:05 PM
  • 120
    I plan to finish this year strong!!! I love the sight of the finish line at the end of the race. - 12/7/2010   8:27:00 PM
    I appreciate the concept, I really do, but I think, for me at least, I also need to understand that "doing my best ever day"---which is my goal---is going to be finishing stronger some days than others. I have a long history of attempting weight loss, and this is the first time I've been as successful as I've been for as long as I've been. I really think part of the reason is that I've come to understand that is NOT a sprint; it's a long-term journey and that I need to enjoy the journey (or at least not hate every moment of it) because it's my life.
    So with all respect to how everyone else approaches getting healthier (also my goal), I'm going to contine taking this day by day, step by step, and understanding that some days I will coast into the finish, because that IS the best I can do that day and some days I will push harder because I can. - 12/7/2010   6:37:56 PM
  • 118
    This came at the right moment. I am so ready to just give it up and try again some other time. Thanks for the boost! - 12/7/2010   4:58:21 PM
  • 117
    haha, i forgot to answer this call :D well, i do speed up, when i see the finish line, but hey... the end of the year is not the end of the road. I did think of saving some affort to go on the whole next year. Now i am planing of swapping my alcohol for juices and cakes for fruits. - 12/7/2010   3:59:54 PM
  • 116
    Cool, this came right the moment i was thinking of it. Thank's Nicole, for your work to keep us up on our way. - 12/7/2010   3:45:47 PM
  • 115
    I'm glad that you used spinning class as an example because I am trying to finish the year strong by attending 3 spinning classes a week! - 12/7/2010   2:59:22 PM
  • 114
    I am so going into a full sprint!! - 12/7/2010   2:35:15 PM
  • 113
    I needed this advice. - 12/7/2010   2:32:34 PM
  • 112
    I know I'm going to treat myself this month - I always do (weakness for sweets!). But, I still plan on staying on track 90% of the time and keeping up or increasing my exercise intensity. I know I can get through this month without too much damage this way! - 12/7/2010   12:45:51 PM
    Seeing the comment "I'll start again in 2011" hit a nerve. I can't count how many years I have made a simular statement. Four months ago I lost 30 pounds of the 150 I need to lose. In the past month and a half my weight has seesawed as I gave in to my emotions that are being encouraged by my laziness. This article has helped to snap me out of my funk. I realize my first step will be to continue reading articles like this on a daily bases. Next, I must stop focusing on things in my life that I can not change. My weight is the one thing I can take control of and will take control of again. Thank U Nicole. - 12/7/2010   12:04:52 PM
    Thankyou! It makes me shake my head becasue that's exactly what I have been doing...resigning myself to the fact that I am not on track and to start fresh in the new year...This makes me want to renew my sense of purpose.
    I am disappointed in how this year went, but it's not too late to make it better than it was. I like ESLteacher1 comment before me..I am vowing it too.
    quote....."With God's help I will finish this year strong and continue working on my lifestyle changes in 2011. Woo Hoo!" - 12/7/2010   11:58:00 AM
    I'll be keeping that in mind.... - 12/7/2010   11:39:16 AM
  • 108
    I've been pretty good with my diet and plan to remain so through the rest of the year. Exercise has faded, but pretty soon I'll be done with school and I can focus more on exercise! Finish strong and finish proud! - 12/7/2010   11:20:42 AM
  • 107
    Great article! I always push myself harder when I can see the end, so I've been trying to keep my goals in mind as I've been heading out to holiday parties... filling my plate with veggies and lean protein, and indulging in half a cookie :) - 12/7/2010   10:08:30 AM
    Inspiring!! Really needed that today. - 12/7/2010   9:52:17 AM
  • 105
    I'm not giving up I'm gving it my best shot the last thing i want is to gain during this month I will make it to Dec 31st and be proud of my accomplishment for teh year - 12/7/2010   9:34:07 AM
    Really needed to remind myself to finish the year off good. - 12/7/2010   9:33:47 AM
    Thanks for the timely moral support....I'm "kicking it up a notch!" - 12/7/2010   8:47:21 AM
  • 102
    i can hear jillian michael's in my head shouting "Don't phone it in!" and i finish strong! i get excited to see the finish line, it amps me up to push through it - i've made it this far, right?! - 12/7/2010   8:46:50 AM
    Great article! - 12/7/2010   8:43:14 AM
  • 100
    Finish strong! I had a setback yesterday, and I just gave up for the day, but I won't let myself give up for the rest of the year. No way! - 12/7/2010   8:35:54 AM
  • 99
    Enjoyed the article! It's just what I tell my kids all the time regarding school, even just this morning regarding this semester. I must practice what I preach in every area. I am going to finish strong! :) - 12/7/2010   8:29:37 AM
  • 98
    Great article!!!!!
    Thanks! - 12/7/2010   7:42:11 AM
  • 97
    I myself am going to finish strong. I will end the year less than when I started it! :)

    7lb more to lose. I can do it :) - 12/7/2010   7:08:37 AM
    This year, I'm actually looking forward to some time off work so that I can push my workouts a little bit longer! - 12/7/2010   4:53:46 AM
  • 95
    Thanks for the visual! I can imagine the finish line less than 4 weeks away, and I'll pace myself for the sprint across the line. - 12/7/2010   3:07:19 AM
  • 94
    Very good article, Nicole! I plan to finish 2010 on a strong note. The challenge I am on just started Dec. 5 and I believe it will keep me going right thru the season and all of those parties.
    Thanks for the thought provoking article! - 12/6/2010   9:05:26 PM
  • 93
    You bet I'm going to sprint to the finish!! Woo Hoo!! - 12/6/2010   8:49:57 PM
  • 92
    I'm not ONLY finishing STRONG!! I will be continuing in 2011!! WooHoo! - 12/6/2010   7:43:39 PM
  • 91
    Thx. really needed this kind of pep talk for the push through December. This blog post couldn't have come @ a better time. Sooooo...think I'll try to finish strong! - 12/5/2010   10:09:59 PM
  • 90
    I love the idea of finishing as strong as you started. I am trying to set a goal of losing the two pounds I need to have lost 70 lbs by the beginning of 2011. I would love to lose more, but if I keep on track then I should be able to do that! - 12/5/2010   4:35:08 PM
  • 89
    I WILL finish the year strong! I will NOT gain.....I may stay the same but I will NOT gain. I WILL make time for exercise everyday, even if it's just 15 minutes. I WILL get my 10,000 steps a day. Thanks for the push! - 12/5/2010   3:08:47 PM
  • 88
    Since winter and the busy holiday season started, I have had trouble fitting in the exercise I would like to do. I set a goal to do at least 10 minutes EVERY DAY for the month of December. So far I'm on track. It seems like so little but thanks for the reminder that it is indeed better than skipping it altogether! - 12/5/2010   12:58:45 PM
  • 87
    great idea - 12/5/2010   12:55:01 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Sign up for a FREE SparkPeople account