By Taylor Makakoa

As 2014 comes to a close it is only natural to think of 2015 and new beginnings. It’s a tradition for many people: make a set of New Year’s Resolutions, promise to adhere to them and then 12 months later look back and say “okay that didn’t work but this time I really mean it.” My feeling is, rather than try to change 20 things at once, why not focus on one that truly matters and that anyone can achieve: improving one’s fitness and health.

If losing extra holiday pounds and getting in better shape has not been one of your own resolutions, it has likely been the resolution of friends and family. I think fitness may be such a popular resolution because so many of us are unhappy with how we look or feel; and the reason we are unhappy isn’t just aesthetic, it’s the fact that deep down, we know there is nothing more important than our health. After all, if you are in bad shape, it’s going to be hard to achieve any of your other life’s goals. So as the New Year begins maybe we should all take this as an opportunity to embrace new fitness goals and beginnings.

I personally decided not to wait until Jan. 1. My mother and I have been exercising this past year, but in addition, we recently decided to actually make an entire lifestyle change. When we started working out we told our trainer, “We are not trying to lose weight or build muscle, we are just working out,” and our progress reflected our lack of a goal. My new beginning occurred when I decided to compete in fitness competitions. Rather than looking to food for comfort or for enjoyment, I now look at food as nourishing fuel. I begin each day looking forward to my workout, because it’s another step in my plan to set a new personal fitness record. And whether you are 26 or 86, you can always set a new reachable goal for yourself. You don’t have to compete against others, make your new beginning a competition with yourself. And with your newfound fitness, I bet you’ll find you have the energy to start a few other new beginnings. Use this New Year as an opportunity to start again. Do what makes you healthy and happy!

Taylor Makakoa is model and performer in Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment live at The Mirage