It’s no secret that January is one of the most inspirational times of the year, as people around the globe work towards new goals and fresh beginnings. In the past ten days alone, we’ve been blown away by the Racefully community’s commitment to healthy living as you smash your 30-Day Challenge goals (you guys seriously never cease to inspire us).

It’s true. We’re ten days into the New Year, and the aspirations for a healthy 2017 are still going strong.  That said, today marks a pivotal point in the resolution cycle. Globally, January 10th is the day many people begin to abandon their resolutions. Life is busy and with a new year also comes new responsibilities. Work, school semesters, family, chores – all of those little things that make up the diverse challenges of everyday life.

That’s where the power of connection comes in

Okay, you might be asking where we’re going here. Don’t worry, we promise it ends well! It all boils down to the this: it might be easy to view those life responsibilities as inevitable obstacles, but the reality is that they are universal experiences and they unite us. And, in that way, they can actually strengthen our resolves to achieve our goals – but only if you let them.

Our relationships with other people– and all of the empathy, inspiration, and support that comes with them– act as powerful motivators.  Research has shown us that not only will communal goals improve your commitment to achieving them, but that sharing both the successes and pitfalls will strengthen your resolve every step of the way. A lot of people will tell you this all comes down to accountability –  you’re less likely to bail on a goal if you think you’re letting someone down. That’s certainly a part of it, but let’s suppose it’s about more than that.

Empathy for a friend and compassion for yourself come hand in hand

It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals. A missed day might feel like the end of the world – a second might make you want to give up all together. But ask yourself this: if your friend missed a run day – or two – because of family obligations or a hard deadline, would you beat them up over it? Would you ditch the goal you shared together? Of course you wouldn’t! You’d be there to lend an ear, give them a hug, and help them get back on the horse. And they’d be there to return the empathy when you need it. As we said, life’s daily challenges are ones that we all share.

As the saying goes, you’re harder on yourself than you are on your friends.  And that’s the secret behind sharing a goal with others. Not only do we learn to give and accept support and encouragement with the superpower of kindness, but by sharing the highs and lows of our goals, we can also learn how to impart that kindness on ourselves. Cheat days happen, you might miss a run. Forgive yourself and get back on track. Like all of us, you’re only human.

So, today, on day 10 of your New Year’s journey, reach out to a friend and share your goals together.  A colleague you laugh with, your mum, your son, a neighbour, an old school friend. Your new year’s resolution will thank you for it – from day 1 to day 365!