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?






  1. That’s a fabulous list Wendy! I wish that I were a runner like you, but the top of my list is to walk more. Increasing my water intake is always on my mind too. My last one is not to be so hard on myself about my shortcomings. Best wishes sticking to your list and Happy New Year!
    Rhonda Yvsg recently posted..Business Opportunities and Other Ways to Earn Money From HomeMy Profile

    • 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!

  2. Great tips! Mine is to get into shape and get healthier!
    Danette Lykins recently posted..Do you Suffer from Pain?My Profile

  3. 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.

  4. The include/exclude idea is super great! I will try it out! Thanks for a great idea!
    Ave recently posted..New Year’s Eve Traditions Around the WorldMy Profile

  5. You are SO SMART!!!! Including healthy things will be a positive focus and make me not feel deprived. I am really glad that I read this – AWESOME! Drinking more water is on the top of my list too.
    jenny at dapperhouse recently posted..Jazz Up Your Brownies with Cashew Cream Cheese FillingMy Profile

  6. I love your inclusive ideas. It makes such a difference to focus on doing something positive each day instead of taking something away.
    Tracie recently posted..Thoughts On A Year Of Act(ion)My Profile

  7. 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.

  8. Include not exclude is my favorite tip. As soon as I can’t have something, it is all I can think about.
    Debi recently posted..Dessert and Cupcake Stand That Holds 41 Cupcakes Only $12.70 (Reg $39.95)My Profile

  9. I really like your perspective of inclusion rather than exclusion for New Year’s resolutions! This is something I think I could muster. Focusing on trying to start good habits and replace the bad ones is a really good way to look at it!
    Jessica Harlow recently posted..FREE Sample of Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel!My Profile

  10. i am LOVING the inclusive resolutions and the positivity!!
    brett recently posted..5 Tips for Extending Your Dog’s Life (Petcurean Pet Food Giveaway)My Profile

  11. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I really like your resolutions. Is it OK if I borrow a few?

  12. I took some time off myself and it was nice. I am still working on my resolutions and goals for next year.
    Angela recently posted..Give the Gift of Security with Fellowes Powershred 73Ci Shredder #IDSafetySeasonMy Profile

  13. Personally I dont like to use the word resolution, I like to use the word GOAL!
    trisha recently posted..Protect yourself online, how to arm yourself with knowledge.My Profile

  14. These are great tips! I am determined to make my resolutions stick this year!
    Jennifer B recently posted..GlobeIn 3-month Subscription Box GiveawayMy Profile

  15. sounds like good resolutions – I need to drink more water too!

  16. Personally I never make resolutions because I can never keep them!

  17. I’d like to read more (for personal pleasure, but also reading to our little one). I like the using gentle words with the kids resolution. It’s easy to lose your temper (guilty sometimes) and that’s a good one.
    Shanna recently posted..Move over leftovers! Get Spicy on New Year’s Eve with #KraftEssentials: Bacon Ranch Jalapeño Poppers RecipeMy Profile

  18. Great list! I am going to keep my resolutions small so that I can be sure to reach them.
    Stefani recently posted..Free Fonts For Food BloggersMy Profile

  19. Great tips! I think the attitude and confidence works wonders!
    Danielle @ We Have It All recently posted..#CartonSmart Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes RecipeMy Profile

  20. Oh heck yeah, I’m all about positivity in the new year! I like that idea much better than a list of sure-to-fail items!
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..It’s All About Positivity #FightFatTalkMy Profile

  21. Great way to look at resolutions. I have decided this year I will have goals to meet and not necessarily things to change.
    Cynthia L recently posted..Top 12 Reader Favorites of 2013My Profile

  22. Great tips! I often find that my “resolutions” as I wrote them don’t stick very long but some form of it stays around through most of the year.
    Shannah @ Just Us Four recently posted..Top Ten of 2013My Profile

  23. I would love to lose weight, and spend my time more wisely with my family!
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted..Gluten Free Cinnamon and Sugar Valentine’s Day Pie Crust CookiesMy Profile

  24. 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!

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