If You Struggle With New Year’s Resolutions …Try This Instead!

I pride myself on being an eternal optimist. I believe I can turn any situation sunny if I smile enough and I can accomplish anything if I work hard. However, New Year’s resolutions always stump me.

We’re so ambitious and positive on Jan. 1. We’re inspired to hit the gym and get off the couch. Unfortunately, 80 percent of people give up their new goals around February, returning to their sweatpants and Netflix marathons.

But what if we stopped looking at the New Year as a time to leave our guilty pleasures behind, but instead decided to “take on” something new?

Wise wisdom from grandma

I got this idea from my grandma. We’ve always lived right down the road from my grandparents,  so it’s no surprise that she and my grandpa continue to be some of my biggest influences.

We spent almost every holiday together, including New Year’s. I remember asking her at a very young age what she was going to give up in the New Year, to which she bluntly said “nothing.”

She wanted to “take something on” instead by being nicer to people in the New Year.

It’s easier than you think!

She’s going to be nicer to people? What kind of resolution is that?

Doesn’t the start of a new year mean that we have to completely turn ourselves around?

Or are we making resolutions so difficult that we can’t stick to them? We hear phrases like, “I’m going to stop smoking,” “I’m not going to spend unnecessary money,” “I’m going to quit eating fatty foods and carbs.” All are good resolutions, but sound a little overwhelming and hard to accomplish once the excitement of the New Year wears off.

What if we replaced all of those challenging goals by “taking something on” instead?  A once negative phrase that sounded too monumental has turned into a doable challenge.

“I’m going to start finding healthy substitutes instead of cigarettes.”

“I will create a budget, so I can see where I’m spending my money.”

“I’m trying one new healthy food each week.”

Simple changes are often all we need to make a big difference.

4 things to take on

  1. In my household, we would try a new food on New Year’s Eve. One year it was caviar, another year it was anchovies (for good luck!). Although that sounds like nothing, for a 10-year-old, eating fish eggs was traumatic!
  2. Try spending quality time with your friends and family by putting the electronics away.
  3. Vow to try a new form of exercise like biking, instead of throwing away money on a gym membership you know you won’t use!
  4. Try to make your bed every day- or if that’s a little too challenging, try at least during the work week. For more, read Overwhelmed with Life? Try Making Your Bed.

My favorite resolution

If you’d like to try the  “take it on” method of New Year’s resolutions, you may want to start with my grandma’s resolution of being nicer to people.

It’s a great way to practice “taking something on,” while helping others in need. The world can always use people who care about the well-being of others, and sometimes that can be difficult. Picture what a different world it would be if we took the time to project our positivity and good spirit onto someone else!

Be Nice- It’s that simple!

So how can you be nicer to people? Hold the door for someone at the office, give up your seat on the bus ride home, volunteer in your community, and the list goes on! There are hundreds of opportunities throughout our day that we might miss if we don’t pay attention.


Erika Gruszewski

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