How to NOT Fail Your New Year’s Resolution + Clean Shrimp “Fried” Rice

Welp, tomorrow is officially the last day of 2013. I don’t want to make this some sappy post all about how much I’ve grown this year, so I’ll avoid that as much as possible, but I will say that I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible in the last 12 months. I bet you guys are more curious about HOW I got here, so I’ll focus on that instead. I’m closing out this year healthier, happier, and more motivated than I’ve ever been: all things that I am extremely proud of. I’m 50 pounds lighter, a LOT smarter (or so I think…), and I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.

That last part — the self-acceptance — is something I’d never nailed down before. I’ve always been able to seem self-confident, but I wasn’t ever truly there. I hid behind materialistic things, alcohol, and/or work to make everyone believe that I was, but I never really loved myself as much as I should have. This year, I stopped partying as much, stopped bringing work home, and started focusing on plain ol’ me. It made all the difference. I had to learn to appreciate myself for who I am and believe that I’m worth the effort first and foremost before I could dive into working toward a goal of becoming healthier.

Why 92% of People Fail At Their New Year’s Resolutions

TONS of people make health-related resolutions at the beginning of every single year. “Get in shape” or “lose weight” had been at the top of my list for as long as I remember, but I never made it happen until this year. I started 2013 with a resolution to stay dedicated to working out at Synergy, which was also tied to finally losing the weight that I’d been trying to lose since high school. What made this year’s resolution different was that I actually knew why I wanted to do it.

I totally encourage everyone to set a resolution for the new year, but the most important part is knowing the “why” behind it. 92% of people that start off the new year with a resolution eventually end up failing. I completely believe that a key differentiation of the 8% who actually succeed is that they know the reason behind setting the goal for themselves in the first place. In January of this year, I made a resolution to stick with boot camp and get in shape for 3 reasons:

  1. I hit my lowest of low points and knew I needed to change. You know people say you’ve got to hit rock bottom before you can really make your way to the top? At the end of 2012, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. If you take a quick look at my family health history, you’ll find diabetes, cardiac issues, stress, Alzheimer’s, etc. I’m not invincible. I knew continuing with the path I was on would mean TONS of health issues as I got older and a drastically shortened life. None of that really sounded like a party to me, so I made a conscious decision to change course.
  2. Change only gets harder as you get older (but it’s NEVER too late to start). The habits that we develop at a young age stick with us. Now that I’m in the post-college “real world” and have been living on my own for a couple of years, I’ve realized that the way that I handle the day-to-day NOW is going to shape the rest of my life. I’m in charge of my own choices — from how I spend my free time to the food that I eat and what I wear — and these choices, regardless of if they’re big or small, will mold how I am 20 years from now. Teaching myself to live a healthy life in my twenties will make things SO much easier when I’m in my 40’s and beyond, and they will filter into how my future kids live their lives. I made the choice to start building healthy habits this year in order to make the years to come more enjoyable.
  3. I needed to prove that I could adequately take care of myself before I even consider starting my own family. I’m at the age where it seems like all of my coworkers and friends are getting engaged, married, or pregnant. All of these things involve WAY more responsibility than I’ve ever had, but I know I’m getting to that typical age where getting married and having babies is somewhat expected. At the beginning of the year, I knew that I wasn’t even good about taking care of my own well-being. I made a promise that I would learn how to be great at that before I even think about becoming responsible for others. While kids are probably still VERY far into the future for me, I know that the habits I’ve worked to build this year will set me up to be a better parent some day. (Bailey already loves me more for taking her on longer walks and runs… A puppy is really just a furry, four-legged kid anyway, right?)

Having these reasons to go beyond the typical, vague “I want to lose weight” resolution were critical to me actually achieving it. Any time that I was faced with the decision to give up or keep going, I thought back to these reasons. They gave me the drive to not give up. I’d never had a real reason that I actually could recite if someone asked why I wanted to get healthy until this year, and now I can say that I accomplished what I set out to do this year. My coach has said to “remember your why” a million times, but I never really connected the dots until I looked back on the last 12 months.

If you’re planning to make a resolution for 2014, think about your reasons for it. Don’t just write down the resolution; write down all of the “why’s” that go along with it. If it’s fitting into a specific dress or being able to run a marathon, any reason for getting in shape is a good one. Big or small; write every single one down. Memorize them. Read over them regularly. If you’re brave enough, post them in the comments here! :o) We don’t think about the “why” enough because we typically get lost in the tactics (or, the “how”) — but if you have a reason attached to a goal, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. (If you want to take it to the next level, Forbes has a list of tips on how to achieve your resolution that I completely agree with — including charting/tracking success and keeping goals specific.)

Clean Shrimp “Fried” Rice

20131230-165653.jpgBehind Italian, Chinese food is my second biggest weakness. I absolutely miss mine and Ryan’s Sunday afternoon Chinese take-out binges, but I don’t miss how crappy they made me feel after feasting OR what they did to my waistline. I always have brown rice in the pantry and a bag of shrimp in the freezer, so I put them both to use and came up with a healthier version of shrimp fried rice that makes a quick, yummy weeknight dinner OR make-ahead lunch that won’t make you feel terrible after eating it. :o)

Nutritional Overview
Calories: 392
Carbs: 33
Fat: 7
Protein: 47

Serves: 2
Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 1 bag of boil-in-bag brown rice
  • 12 oz. defrosted shrimp (tails off)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 3 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables (no sauce added)
  • 1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid amino acids (or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Cracked pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and insert bag of brown rice. Boil for 10 minutes
  2. While rice is cooking, saute garlic in sesame oil until lightly browned
  3. Add shrimp and cook until lightly pink; set aside
  4. Cook frozen vegetables in Bragg’s (or soy sauce) over medium heat until tender-crisp
  5. Add shrimp, salt, pepper, rice, scrambled eggs, green onion, and sesame seeds to the vegetables
  6. Mix all ingredients until well combined and serve. (I paired this with a side of edamame to make ours a full meal!)

7 thoughts on “How to NOT Fail Your New Year’s Resolution + Clean Shrimp “Fried” Rice”

  1. Mackenzie, I totally agree with you on the “why” behind a resolution. I too hit my ultimate low last year and decided that the change needed to happen soon. I had tried everything under the sun to lose weight and “diet” and still no results. Finally when I knew why I wanted to do it, everything clicked. My family has a history of all those diseases also and then I was told to lose weight or I was going to be put on meds too. That was my “why.” I needed to lose weight and be healthy so that I would not be on piles of medication and also to get out from my unhappiness in my own world. Same as you, everyone who knows me had no idea the personal battle I dealt with everyday. I too would use materialistic things and throwing myself into all kinds of hobbies to avoid what I really needed to do to finally feel true happiness. I am close to my 50 lb weight loss myself and I look forward to what 2014 will bring. I’m also continuing with Synergy and my resolution in 2014 is to become even “healthier!” Happy New Year to you and I wish you the best in 2014!!! I look forward to reading more of your blog!! You’re a true inspiration!!

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