New Year’s Resolutions You Can Stick to All Year Long

You swear off soda for good. You will never have another soda ever again. Soda is so yesterday. You don’t need it … until January 6 when you find yourself with your mouth wide open under the soda fountain at 7-Eleven.

You promise yourself you will work out every single day in hopes of finally getting that perfect summer bod. After a couple consecutive missed workouts, you decide next week will be the week. You’ll work out every day starting Monday. Except Monday ends up being chaotic at work and you don’t get home until 9 pm … and you conclude that a consistent fitness routine just isn’t for you.

You will not eat the donuts at the office. You will not eat the donuts at the office. You will not eat the donuts at the office. Oh look, there’s still a plain glazed one left … Now that you ate it, you might as well order Five Guys with everyone at lunch.

We’ve all been there. The clean slate that a new year offers is so refreshing, but the smallest scuff can make the entire thing seem tainted and hopeless. This all-or-nothing mindset is the reason why many of us end up giving up on our resolutions. Here are some ways to help shape your mindset into one that can and will be successful all year long.


DO NOT focus on what you aren’t going to eat.

You get what you focus on, so if you are constantly focusing on not eating sweets, you will be more likely to give in to sweets.

DO focus on what you will eat.

If you constantly focus on getting in all of your servings of fruits and veggies, you will be more likely to eat lots of fruits and veggies. To help yourself stay focused, find or create a weekly meal plan and only buy the ingredients that are listed.

DO NOT promise to maintain difficult diet measures for extended periods of time.

You already think that giving up pasta/bread/pizza/cookies (or whatever your vice may be) for good sounds impossible. And in some cases, not only is it impossible, but not even necessary. It is okay to incorporate natural bread, pasta, pizza, cookies and other carbs into your diet in moderation. The key word here is natural. If your vice isn’t at least mostly natural, it’s probably best to go your separate ways. Read on.

DO gradually cut out food/beverage choices you know you should eliminate.

Of course, giving something up completely can be hard and can lead to binging. Instead of swearing something off completely, try taking baby steps. For example, if you have multiple sodas a day, start by limiting yourself to one a day. Then, try extending it to one every other day. Next, only have one a week, and so on until you don’t even miss it.

DO NOT focus on the scale.

I have heard so many friends and family members sound defeated as they describe all of their healthy efforts and yet, haven’t experienced any weight loss lately. If you start to feel like this, remind yourself that there is so much more to health than what the scale says.

DO focus on what you are doing to stay healthy and happy.

Happiness is abstract and thus cannot and should not be measured by a number on a scale. Instead, focus on your goals that are unrelated to weight. Are you getting more sleep? Do you have more energy throughout the day? Are certain exercises getting easier? Has your daily water intake increased? Do you just feel better in general? If one or more of these goals are being achieved on a regular basis, celebrate. That’s incredible.

DO NOT promise yourself that you are going to work out 6-7 days every week.

Even if you want to strive for this, do not make this the standard. It may leave you feeling discouraged and worse, may make you feel like giving up. Instead, set a fitness goal that you can stick to even throughout your busiest weeks.

DO promise yourself you will never workout less than ___ days a week.

I personally set my workout minimum to 2 days a week. A more realistic goal can help to ensure you reach your fitness goals year-round.

DO NOT wait for tomorrow, Monday, the 1st of the month, etc.

Even the most dedicated person will come across a treat, an indulgent meal, a missed workout … none of these are enough to ruin your progress. What will take away from your progress is concluding that your streak is over and that you might as well continue to indulge and miss workouts until a designated “restart” date.

DO find opportunities to hit “restart” every day.

Having one donut from a box a colleague brought will not cancel out the healthy lunch you brought or the workout you scheduled after work. Enjoy the donut, shake it off, and move on with your day. It is okay if your day isn’t 100% perfect. As long as you are making as many healthy choices as you can each day, your body will thank you.


I wish you all a very happy, healthy and balanced New Year!

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About Ashley McCullough

Ashley McCullough has been an active advocate of weight lifting, taco eating, city living and not running for as long as she can remember. A lifelong Notre Dame fan, she graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. By day, you can find her organizing objects by color, singing, chanting, dancing around, and reading with her kindergarten class. After the school bell rings, well, not much changes. She continues to do all that. But she also thoroughly enjoys conversing and interacting with adults at group fitness classes and #Sweatworking events. Ashley was born and raised in the suburbs and moved to the city 4 years ago. She never plans to leave… unless she is able to find a beach house on a mountain in a major industrial city on a private island. Then she just might.