By D.C. Lucchesi

Here we are again. That time of year when we make, and sometimes prepare to break, so many good intentions for the new year. We’ve all done that kind of big talking before, opening up our wordholes at the office Christmas party, a group run, or even in front of the morning mirror. Trouble is, those same words can serve as a succotash of bitter regret when we can’t – or don’t – live up to them. But don’t despair. I’m here to tell you there’s no need to add some mountaintop experience to your list in order to look back on 2015 and chalk it up as anything other than an uncontestable success. Here are five little changes that will make this year a biggie:

Cash it in: Chances are, you’re likely in good enough shape to parlay some of that fitness into success, or at least certain survival, in another sport. Or, you can at least buy yourself enough time to pick up on the basics and decide whether or not you’re interested in taking this little side pursuit any further. Go for it. And just because you haven’t heard of it or tried it yet, doesn’t mean there’s not an adult or rec league just waiting for you. Too much? Try a different discipline or distance in your activity of choice.

New gear: Bet you saw this one coming, didn’t you? A new sport means new gear and goodies! After you’ve tested the waters, or what have you, you’ll want to get new shoes, pads, gear, etc., or at least the rationalization to make such a purchase. Done and done. Consider it an investment in your good health. Plus, plunking down a few shekels on gear, league fees, or event registrations will keep you honest about sticking with the program. You’re welcome.

Trade up to speed up: OK, we’re not suggesting that you kick your old training partner to the curb. There’s a comfort level in knowing how fast or hard your partner is willing to go. But there’s  nothing like the reality check of training or playing up a level every once in a while. That doesn’t mean you need to suit up with the pros to see any bennies, but mixing it up can revitalize your routine when you feel that motivation starting to sag.

Play it forward: Even if you’re unwilling to take on the cloth of something entirely new, you can stay within your current wheelhouse and do a little something for someone else. Outside of the hardcore race scene, many events are tied to some sort of charity or cause. Your challenge is to spend a moment of your training cycle to learn what that cause is all about. Want extra credit? Make that donation of time, talent or treasure to do more than just grace them with your entry fee. You’ve got this!

Anything but kale: Lord in heaven above. I’m no botanist, but there has got to be something else out there that is just as good for us but doesn’t reek – and taste – of sweat socks. Yeah, yeah. It’s a super food, and all that, but have you ever heard Willard Scott wax on about some centenarian who credits kale for their extrapolated lifespan? Consider this permission to scan further down the produce aisle, people. And when you find it, let me know, will you?

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D.C. Lucchesi runs, rides, and writes from Charlotte.When D.C. isn’t planning or participating in his own “next adventure,” the award-winning writer and former television producer can be found freelancing and waxing poetic on subjects ranging from health and endurance to schools and politics. When he’s not volunteering or coaching in some capacity with school-aged kids, he still enjoys interacting with grown-ups. Find him at