It's no New Year's resolution, it's a challenge!

Every year around this time, we take a moment to analyze the past year. What was great, what wasn't, and how we can be better. For many of us, getting in shape or heading to the gym falls under the "getting better" category, myself included. I encourage everyone to live healthy and live happy. But, what I really want you to do is put a challenge on your schedule for next year. Instead of "going to the gym" or "heading for a workout," start TRAINING for a race or event. I've convinced my mom, mother-in-law and friend to do this with me -- and I'd love some more teammates.

Trust me, this will be a real kick in the butt. If you're anything like me, once you say you're going to do something, you follow through with it. So light a fire, try something that scares you or just plain up the ante! Don't sell yourself short!

If you read my blogs on summersanders.net, you know that last summer I trained for my first-ever triathlon. As a working mom with two toddlers, my training wasn't anywhere near what I did as an Olympian. But it was entertaining and fun, especially because I had two girlfriends with me for every pedal, stroke and step of the way. The three of us (we're all moms) were up at the crack of dawn a few times a week for our one-hour swim and half-hour run -- dreaming the entire time about the cup of delicious coffee we'd have afterwards. We took evening bike rides with our husbands, which ended at our local pizza joint where we indulged in a few pies and beers.

If you haven't gotten the vibe yet, let me spell it out for you: Our "training" is about having FUN and challenging ourselves at the same time. We work hard in those 4-5 hours a week but we keep ourselves in check. I'm not kidding! We consistently tell each other, "No pressure. Remember, we're doing this for fun."

I chose to challenge myself with something new because I was tired of working out. I wanted something to work for ... a goal. At a very young age, I realized the incredible joy you feel when you accomplish a goal. (It's actually more addicting than coffee!) It's a moment in our chaotic lives when we can give ourselves a pat on the back and say, "You did it girl!"

When I crossed the finish line of the Jordanelle Triathlon last summer, I took it all in -- even more so than when I won my gold medal. Being 38 years old versus 19 has something to do with it. I appreciate it more. I appreciate the time I get to train, I appreciate the people who came to cheer me on and the emotions I have when I accomplish something. I teared up a bit. I saw my hubby and my son and daughter and I got emotional. I immediately went over to them and gave them big hugs. Then, I came right back to reality when my daughter asked me to put her hair in a ponytail and my son commented on how sweaty I was and asked for me to hold him. That made me smile.

So, here's my request: Before the end of the year, choose a race, an event or a hurdle and commit to achieve that goal! My friend, Allison, and I are going to do the March Triathlon Series at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif. on March 27. It was an easy choice. We wanted a race in March, so we went online and this one caught our eye. My mom is going to do a 5k and my mother-in-law is going to do a sprint triathlon. What's your challenge? Let me know, because we're all in this together. I want to be a part of your team and I will help you however I can! As my college coach used to say every freezing morning at 5 a.m., "Let's go swimmin' women!" Why the hell not?!