Maintaining Your Resolutions

by karen on February 8, 2019

Well, we’re a month into the New Year and that makes it a good time to check in on how we’re doing with our resolutions. Many experts say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, so my hope for all of us is, that with the 36 days we’ve had since making our plans, they’re starting to solidify as part of our routine. Habits don’t involve much effort, they just happen; that’s the beauty of healthy habits.

Here’s a check-in on my resolutions and how I’m doing with them:

#1. Work/life balance. I’ve been successful keeping my work days shorter, leaving more time and energy for life outside of work. I’ll continue to delegate new tasks to my receptionist, make sure I have fun at work every day, and work to change the parts of my job that I don’t enjoy. I have quite a lot of growth I want to do in both work and life that will continue through the year.

#2. Physical fitness. I have to admit I’m off to a slow start. This goal is on my radar but I have not yet made it the priority I need to. I exercised last night and two other times in the month. OK, writing that and owning it hurt a bit; I’m upping my game starting today—thanks for helping me be accountable! In reviewing my Resolutions, I see Hula Hoop written down—forgot that I had considered it, but doesn’t it sound fun? Stay tuned on the Hula Hoop.

#3. Regular social activity. I am pleased to say I’ve coordinated six get togethers with friends and have had at least one social activity per week, which is a realistic goal for me. Part of my social activity is also to keep in touch via text and phone with friends and loved ones. I’ll give myself a C+ with this piece; I really struggle keeping in touch this way, but feel it’s a crucial part of my happiness.

#4. Travel. I will be visiting my daughter in April, seeing my mom in May, going to New Orleans with my girls in September/October, and am considering travel in July and December as well. I’m very excited for each of these vacations, and they are a big part of my #1 and #3 goals. They give me joy in the anticipation and also motivate me to stay dedicated to my daily to-do’s, which give me the liberty to travel.

Here’s a checklist of how each of us can succeed:

  1. Keep your resolutions simple. Nothing leads to failure quicker than having an overwhelming plan. Keep your number of resolutions limited, and prioritize them. You’ll realize, as I did, that they often overlap, so if you think you’re neglecting something in not putting it on your plan, it’s likely being addressed.

  2. Choose carefully. But which to choose? If, in reviewing your resolutions a month into your plan, you see you may have chosen too much, look at the items that will have the greatest impact on your life. The important things are your health, happiness and fulfillment. Be OK with whittling down your list if need be, it will up your success as well as your happiness as you work on your plan throughout the year.

  3. Be realistic. Remember that it takes at least 21 days to build a new habit. I personally believe 21 days is a good start, but that it can take much longer, maybe 6 months, before the habit is so entrenched that nothing gets you off your game. So, give yourself time to achieve your resolutions, and be patient but persistent with yourself.

  4. Create bite-sized goals. When we look at a global and sometimes elusive goal, like work/life balance, it can be daunting to even know where to start to make changes. Making short-term plans of achieving the larger goals is very important. This is where your well-thought-out to-do list comes into play, as well as making SMART goals, both of which we’ve addressed in previous blogs. Click here for our To-Do List blog, and here for our detailed SMART Goals post

  5. Plan a time frame. Time frames are essential for ensuring our goals are bite-sized and allow us to assess our progress as we go, acknowledge what we’re doing well with, and modify as needed. Use a calendar or day planner to commit your plans to a manageable time frame.

  6. Make notes. Notes can take on many forms. You might journal how you’re doing on a daily or weekly basis, have a spreadsheet of your resolutions with a notes column, or make a vision board filled with pictures of you, clips from magazines, and prints and snippets from the internet, that motivate you to stay the course.

  1. Treat yourself. It’s important to acknowledge your successes as you go, and make your rewards specific to the goals you’re accomplishing. A reward means more when you’ve earned it, so be honest and don’t take the reward if you didn’t meet your goal. Simply review, modify and take the reward when you’ve done the work.

  2. Receive support. Think of ways your friends and loved ones can help you achieve your goals. Be specific and take a moment to make sure you’re asking for realistic help from someone who will genuinely support you. I receive support from my friends and family asking that they stay in touch with me via regular texts and phone calls.

  3. Don’t give up. Being able to look honestly at your plan and progress, and modifying your plan as you trial and err along the way is a sure-fire way to succeed. You haven’t failed until you give up. Persevere!

  4. Put yourself in charge. Taking responsibility for your health, happiness and fulfillment can be very scary, but when you give yourself the go-ahead to take the lead, you’ll be amazed at where you can go. Being accountable, firm, flexible and loving with yourself is a great way to keep working on achieving your New Year’s Resolutions.

Karen Fisher, MS, RD, LDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection. Find her website at

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