The Secret to Resolutions that Stick



Hey! Where’ve I been?

I took a few days off. Unplugged, hung out with the fam. Drank some wine. And I’m going to do a lot more of that in the new year (unplugging, not wine drinking. Or maybe both…) It’s one of my resolutions.

Wait…resolution? Aren’t those the things that fall apart so quickly that we shouldn’t even bother making them? I mean, is anyone still cutting calories come February?

The answer is yes – and yes. Resolutions have a really bad reputation for leaving even the most well-meaning people high and dry. We get a big idea, get all amped up to make it happen in the new year (!), only to have our excitement wane and eventually wither into nothing after a month (week?) or two of doing stuff that just isn’t fun or sustainable. Why do we do that to ourselves?

Well, I have a theory about New Year’s resolutions, and it seems to work pretty well for me. That’s not to say that I stick to every resolution I make, but since I changed the way I look at these promises we make to ourselves, I seem to be able to make them a much more permanent part of my life. (Even cutting calories…)

The crux? Think “include” instead of “exclude.” 

It’s really that simple. Does anyone ever get up in the morning with a spring in their step because of all the things they’re not going to do that day? All the things the plan to deprive themselves of? All the things they’re going to want, but not have? No way.

I think it’s important to think about what the word “resolution” really means. It doesn’t mean that you have to cut something out, give something up, or spend time thinking about what you “shouldn’t” be doing. Upon looking up the definition, you’ll find phrases like, “the act of resolving upon a course of action,” “determination” and “firmness of purpose.” I say, let’s put those ideas to work in a positive sense and start thinking about what we’re going to do this year instead of what we’re not.

Can you just imagine the difference in what you’d be teaching your children? It’s the difference between “I WILL!” and “I shouldn’t…” and it’s huge!

For example, my favorite resolution ever was a few years ago when I resolved to start wearing more jewelry. I headed into the new year bound and determined to pick out an accessory to add a little sparkle or flair to my outfit each day. You know why? Because when I went into the office each day feeling just a little bit better about my look, it just made me feel better. Simple, but not.

more confidence –> better attitude –> better workday –> better work

And to this day, there’s a little voice in my head that reminds me to check my jewelry box or scarf drawer in the morning. I don’t always do it, but I try. It’s become a habit, rather than an old forgotten-about resolution that died a late-January death.

A few more inclusive resolutions I want to make:

  • to drink more water each day so my skin looks better.
  • to run more each week (because I enjoy it. If I didn’t, it wouldn’t be on the list. Find an exercise to love!)
  • to strive for more color variation in my fruits and veggies each day.
  • to make more time for my friends.
  • to prioritize regular at-home pedicures.
  • to design a better skincare and dental routine each night that will make me feel healthier and more pampered. (This is hard to get back into after baby!)
  • to use more gentle words with my kids each day.

There are so many things that could make the list, so I still have some thinking to do before 1/1. No matter what I choose, you can bet that there will be a common thread: not one thing on my list of resolutions will make me feel deprived when I do it or ashamed when I don’t.

The real beauty? When you devote more time to those “will-do” things on your list, you’ll find that you just don’t have as much room for those “shouldn’t do” things anymore. (Don’t cut out soda. Vow to drink more green tea, and the soda will get bumped out!) Just pick what makes you feel good – healthy, strong, empowered and affirmed – and resolve to do more of it! 

Who’s in? Join me to make this the year of positive action! What’s on your list of resolutions?





    • Wendy says

      Boy, can I relate to that! I beat myself up on the regular for my shortcomings, so that’s on my list for sure. (That’s kind of a constant resolution for me, but I really need to get it together because I don’t want my kids picking up on it!)

      Good luck in 2014!

  1. says

    These are such positive reinforcements and I’m certain they would work for everyone. WOW! They are taking a negative statement (aka I will NOT do something) and making the positive. I have one resolution to make and I’m going to work on my positive sentence because of your influence. Thanks.

  2. says

    Great ideas. One of the things I will be doing in 2014 is starting a memory jar to fill with pictures of things I plan to do with my grandkids. I think this will be a fun way for us to look back at the end of the year and remember all the good times we had together.

  3. says

    What a great way to think about resolutions! Because if you wake up each day thinking “I am going to get so much done!”, you are setting up for something to happen. I usually wake up and try to cross at least 2 things off my list, even if it is just sweeping the floor and organizing the mail. It might not be much, but I feel like I am accomplishing something!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge