Five New Year’s Resolutions You Might Keep: A Menu Approach

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s January 2018 issue.

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When January 1st rolls around, most of us look for fresh starts. This year we’ll lose weight, quit smoking or drinking too much, get along with family members, and….the list goes on. Check in with folks around January 20th, and most have either given up on their resolutions already or have forgotten what they were.

Change doesn't come easily. But what if we made some resolutions for 2018 that were things we want to do, not just things we think we should do? What if we made a list of resolutions that we could look forward to trying? It might still take a bit of discipline, but it could be fun.

Here are five categories most of us can identify with. Let’s make it simple—something we can accomplish without gritting our teeth. Before we know it, we’ll have incorporated good habits into our daily schedules and stand proud as we say, “I kept my New Year’s Resolution!”

Choose one or two items from each checklist or write your own. Permit yourself to change your goal as the year progresses. Keep the goals simple and measurable. Celebrate at the end of each month if you've accomplished them.


  • Spend 15 minutes outside each day
  • Take the stairs and not the elevator
  • Monitor your daily step count. Set a goal and track your progress
  • Ride your bike x times per week
  • Take the dog for a walk x times per week
  • Make a home exercise workout and do it while watching a TV show


  • Volunteer once a week in your community
  • Donate money regularly to a legitimate cause
  • Send cards, letters, or e-mails to loved ones
  • Spend time with friends
  • Pay it forward anonymously to those in need
  • Visit a shut-in or other lonely person
  • Clear out clutter and little-used items to donate to local charities


  • Take time for coffee or lunch dates
  • Listen to a friend’s problems
  • Do a kind deed for an acquaintance
  • Give a compliment to someone at least once a day
  • Overlook annoying habits
  • Refrain from gossip or criticism
  • Phone or visit an elderly friend or relative


  • Drink x number of glasses of water per day
  • Eat half portion desserts
  • Add more whole grains or fresh fruit to your diet
  • Sign up for healthy fruit or veggie deliveries
  • Learn to make healthy smoothie drinks
  • Observe meatless Monday
  • Try one new grain recipe

Reduce Stress

  • Give yourself the gift of quiet each day
  • Listen to music 
  • Limit television time
  • Plan a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to go
  • Declutter your living space
  • Take a class—music, dance, art, cooking
  • List the things you love and include them in your daily life

If you're a paper and pencil person, you might enjoy tracking the progress for the items you select. When you are ready for a new challenge, feel free to move on to other goals. Setting simple, doable goals and achieving them is a satisfying experience. You'll find the resolutions aren't as hard to keep when you enjoy doing them.

about the author...Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a freelance writer and the author of Homegrown Readers and Homegrown Family Fun. Find Jan at www.janpierce.net.