Skip to main content

How to Keep Resolutions for the New Year

The flat out truth is that most of us don't end up keeping our resolutions. So how do you keep resolutions, especially if you really want to?
  • Author:
  • Updated:
The author without makeup (new resolution?) with a completed 2011 resolution (have a baby)

The author without makeup (new resolution?) with a completed 2011 resolution (have a baby)

Have you made your list of resolutions for the new year yet? Oh, good.

Have you already broken at least one? I knew it.

The flat out truth is that most of us don't end up keeping our resolutions all year long (if we did we'd all be thinner, richer, and with fantastically perfect diets.) So how do you keep resolutions, especially if you really want to?

  1. Really Want To
    It does no good to make a resolution to do something if you truly don't want to do it. Do you really want to quit potato chips? No? Maybe this isn't your year. Try another year. Maybe 2015?
  2. Pick One Resolution
    Just the one. Not a list of 25 resolutions that you know, deep down, you are not going to keep. Don't set yourself up for failure. Unless you are one of those people who are "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars!" kind of people. (And honestly, if you're one of those people, you should consider putting an astronomy course on your resolutions-to-complete list, because that is not how that works.) If you do pick one resolution, you can focus on truly making it happen. My favorite resolution ever was to have better posture.
  3. Daily Reminder
    One of the reasons that keeping a simple resolution, like having better posture, worked for me was that I put a small reminder directly where I would see it and execute the action every day. A Post It on my computer monitor that said, "Sit up!" I was the only one who knew what it meant, and it made me pay attention to my posture.
  4. Pick an Unusual Resolution
    If you pick "Lose 20 Pounds" every year, and every year you fail, it's time for a new resolution. Resolutions are about making yourself a better person, so try something different. How about reading three classic books you know you should have read by now (e.g. Moby Dick, Grapes of Wrath, Night by Elie Wiesel)?
  5. Blog about It
    Last year the TodaysMama staff wrote their "11 Things in 2011" posts. I have to tell you, knowing that I told you about my resolutions made me want to try even harder to complete them. I did pretty well (considering my usual advice is to pick fewer resolutions) by finishing 8 out of 11.

Now that you know how to keep resolutions, what will you pick? There are one million options to make yourself a better person that do not include weighing 20 less pounds. Make yourself a more interesting person with a new resolution for the new year:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

  • Stop picking your nail polish.
  • Learn to say "Hello" in four languages.
  • Watch all the Best Picture Oscar Winners.
  • Learn how to change a tire.
  • Beat Dance, Dance Revolution.
  • Learn how to tweeze/wax/maintain your eyebrows.
  • Perfect a different yoga pose every week.
  • Clean out that one closet.
  • Hang art in your home.
  • Be a better tipper.
  • Hug each of your children at least once a day.
  • Try three new international cuisines.
  • Learn to graciously accept a compliment.
  • Take an after dinner walk.
  • Give more compliments.
  • Meditate every Saturday.

Stay tuned for my resolutions later this week.

Other posts you might like:

Detox Smoothies

Detox Salad 

Healthy Living: Food Diary Saves the Day


Sam Hawk Korean - Photo credit: Autumn Lorimer/The Daily Herald

One Resolution for 2012 - Eat at Local Restaurants

I found my one resolution: support local restaurants whenever possible. It's an easy change, but one that could help your community.

Resolving to Keep my New Year’s Resolution©

Last year I made a New Year’s resolution not to make any New Year’s resolutions because I always immediately break them.

Healthy Living for Mom: New Year’s Resolutions

I’m about to rollout what is possibly the least ambitious fitness resolutions you’ve ever heard.

2017 New Year New Me

New Year, New Me.

I like a good resolution, even if I abandon it three days in or die on top of that hill trying.


Resolution Progress

A lot of my tangible New Year's Resolutions haven't been touched, but let's concentrate on the positives. Please share something about your year so far, too!

About New Year’s Resolutions

Maybe our biggest challenge this January is getting those New Year's Resolutions down on paper where you can measure them and really do something about bringing them to pass.


Keeping Up and Keeping Busy

You've worked too hard this year to let all the great things your kids learned slip down into the hazy, lazy days of summer. What's your plan?