Creating Successful New Year’s Resolutions

By on January 1, 2012

By Alice Burron –

Most Americans love New Year’s resolutions–according to several national surveys and polls 40-45% of American’s make resolutions each New Years. And who can blame us? The hope of a new year is irresistible–we can start all over and finally become that wonderful, productive, healthy, happy person we’ve always wanted to be. What a great opportunity to improve ourselves! Sounds almost too good to be true!

And so it often is. We end up with resolution failure because we jump in feet-first without proper planning. The self-focus of resolutions can also be a big weak link—self improvement for self gain isn’t often a strong enough motivator to change behavior. This year, take a new approach to your New Year’s resolutions. Use these four proven strategies to improve your chances of New Year’s resolution success.

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1.  Resolve to help others with the success of your resolution. Although we can think of many reasons to change our behavior, focus on a reason that affects those around you. For example, although you may want to lose weight to look and feel better, a more heart-felt outcome would be to have increased energy for your family, or improve your health to be able to better serve others. Lasting change more often comes from the desire to help others, not just ourselves.

2.  Make small switches. Swap the all-or-nothing approach for one or two healthy switch-ups in your daily routine. Not only do small swaps add up to big success, it makes the experience much more positive. Pick one or two and track daily on a calendar. For some habits, you may want to reward yourself if you are successful 5 days out of 7 every week. Keep with one or two habits for 4 to 6 weeks, then, if you’re ready, move on to another one or two habits and repeat the process. Here are some easy lifestyle tweaks to choose from:

  • Eat before 6:30 pm
  • Have a healthy breakfast every day
  • Avoid chips
  • Eat 5 fruits and vegetables every day
  • Cut back on alcohol, soda or fattening drinks by one or two beverages every week
  • Smoke less every week
  • Walk 2,000 steps more every day
  • Fill half of your plate with vegetables first before you serve the rest of the meal
  • Attend a fitness class twice a week
  • Switch to 100% whole wheat pasta and breads
  • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier five out of seven days a week
  • Eat a healthful breakfast every day
  • Eat at home instead of eating out
  • Eat on a smaller plate (8-9 inch) at dinner and only have one serving

3.  Prepare. Make a checklist of things you anticipate you’ll need to succeed. Depending on your resolution, you may need: a planner or calendar for tracking progress, exercise equipment, a great playlist of music, comfortable and cute exercise clothing, a special smaller plate, scheduled time on your daily calendar, and healthy low-fat desserts and snacks on hand.

4.  Think reward! Make your overall goal achievement, and your smaller achievement rewards solid before you begin your plan. Whether it’s going to a movie, getting a massage, taking a vacation, having friends over for dinner, a new bicycle, or even a new kitchen stove, make reasonable timelines to reach your goals, start working on your goals, and get ready for reward time!


Alice Burron earned a master’s in physical education with an emphasis in exercise physiology from the University of Wyoming. She is an affiliate spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and is an ACE certified personal trainer and certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant. Her first book, Four Weeks to Fabulous, is aimed at helping the busy person lose weight using sound nutrition, weight control and exercise principles that are proven successful. Visit her on her website at

About Alice Burron

Alice Burron, one of the co-authors of the “Stress As Trigger, Your Body As Target” book, is a life-long student of health and wellness. Her experience includes worksite wellness, wellness coaching, personal training, writing, speaking and community wellness initiatives. She can be contacted at [email protected] The book can be purchased at

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Creating Successful New Year’s Resolutions