Lots of people make New Year's resolutions, but not everyone keeps them. It can be overwhelming to make a major change when you're looking at it right at the beginning… but the end result is often worth the year-long challenge.
We asked our readers to share the New Year's resolutions they kept, and how it changed their lives for the better. Whether they were determined to lose weight, get healthy, or do something extraordinary, they found the strength and the motivation to realize their goal.
Lisa F., 47
Successful Resolution: Lisa wanted to take ballet classes her whole life, and finally began at age 35 as part of her New Year's resolution. Twelve years later, she's now taking three classes a week! "Starting ballet as an adult is not easy, but for me, class is not only good mental and physical exercise, it also allows you to forget all your cares and worries," she tells us. "It's never too late to live your dreams."
Denver F., 37
Successful Resolution: Denver wanted to compete in a 100-mile ultra marathon course - with altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 13,000 feet! He trained for months, waking up at 3am every day to run for four hours before work. The day of the race finally came, and even though he had to stop at mile 87 (so close!) he knows it was worth the effort.
Brock M., 29
Successful Resolution: Brock was in a bad car accident in 2007 and suffered a spinal cord injury. He was told he had 1% chance of ever walking again, or even moving his legs. His resolution was to walk without canes at his wedding, and he did it when he wed his bride Haley in 2012. "With an incredible amount of work, faith and god-given opportunity, I have been able to overcome the odds," Brock tells us. His next goal is to walk a 5K without use of his canes.
Ashley R., 25
Successful Resolution: Ashley decided to get healthy when she found out her blood pressure was dangerously high. All of 2011, she dedicated her life to being healthy and lost 150 lbs. through diet and exercise. "My life has completely changed in every aspect, physically and mentally," Ashley tells us. She's now training for a half marathon and has become a fitness coach, inspiring others to take control of their lives and get fit.
Salem A., 18
Successful Resolution: Sick of being bullied and feeling insecure, Salem dedicated 2011 to getting healthy. He worked out every day before and after school and lost 115 lbs. in one year. "I can now wear size medium tee shirts instead of XXL, so shopping is a breeze," he tells us. "Most importantly, I am now asthma-free and I am at a healthy weight. People respect me much more and I am satisfied when I look in the mirror every day."
Cheryl A., 28
Successful Resolution: After losing her mother to breast cancer in 2012, Cheryl wanted to put the focus back on herself and her health. This past year, she managed to lose 100 lbs., thanks to her New Year's resolution to get in shape! She's now able to keep up with her husband and son, and they're planning a trip to Disney World now that she can easily get around the park. Her resolution for 2014 is to lose 10 more pounds and learn how to be stylish so she can dress her new body.
Successful Resolution: Jennifer was never confident in her appearance - she was particularly unhappy with her weight and her teeth. She decided to take control and committed the last year to losing weight. She also finally got the braces she always wanted, and is happy to show them off with a smile. "I don't mind pictures being posted of me," she says about how her resolution has changed her life. "I actually think that I'm beautiful now. Even though I'm not where I want to be yet, it's a process, and I'm so excited for the final result!"