Solutions, Not New Year’s Resolutions

Banish New Year's resolutions and search for solutions instead. via @blestbutstrest

For years I made New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, give up chocolate, start an exercise program, have better health and myriad other impossible proclamations.  While my husband recovered from his stem-cell transplant, I spent all of my spare time in bed—grumpy and depressed and fifty pounds overweight.  All of my resolutions clustered around me, tying me to my perpetual inaction.

And then I learned a secret.  ‘Resolution’ simply means to decide on a course of action—there’s nothing to ensure that I stay on course.  Lofty plans sound great on December 31, but without action they fall by the wayside quicker than couch potatoes running a 5K.

‘Solution,’ on the other hand, means ‘the act of solving a problem’ or ‘the state of being solved.’  Action equals motion.  This year, decide on solutions to problems and ditch the resolutions. (tweet this)

Since saying ‘Adios!’ to New Year’s Resolutions, and acting to solve problems I saw in my life, I’ve lost those fifty extra pounds, lowered my cholesterol and learned that chocolate isn’t the enemy. I have more solutions to work out in my life, but I’m not the grumpy, frumpy middle-aged lump I used to be.




“I will eat healthier.”
  • Buy whole-wheat flour and substitute it for half of the white flour in all of your recipes (as you accustom yourself to the taste, keep adding more whole wheat flour and taking out more of the white).
  • Make a salad in the morning and eat it for lunch and supper before you dig into the other food.
“I will lose weight.”
  • Buy a pedometer and walk 10,000 steps a day.  Walking just 75 minutes a week adds 1.8 years to your life (
  • Give away your office chair and replace it with an exercise ball (you’ll burn calories as you balance).
“I will stress less.”
  • Go outside and breath deeply—if you live some place beautiful, keep your eyes open.  If you live in the city, close your eyes and imagine some place beautiful.  Repeat throughout the day.
  • Pray.  Spend time in the morning (getting up earlier if you need to) talking to God.  Place your list of worries and goals and cares at his feet and let him worry about them.
“I will take time for myself.”
  • Lace up your shoes and go for a walk.
  • Schedule a haircut, a manicure, a massage, an outing with a friend or time to work on a project.
“I will give up chocolate.”
  • Recognize that ONE piece of chocolate, eaten slowly and savored, satisfies you just as much as an entire chocolate bar (probably more, since ONE piece of chocolate doesn’t make you feel guilty!).


What solutions have YOU started on?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Your daughter

    I love these, mom! 😀

  • Sarah

    Good ideas, Mom! As for the closing question, my answer is, “Insanity!” And to run Bloomsday in under an hour. 🙂

  • Anita Ojeda

    I’m proud of both of you for finding solutions, too! I’ll be here cheering you on :).

  • Amanda Watilo

    I crack up when I go to the gym on January 1st and it is PACKED! Two weeks later, it’s the same old regulars (maybe one or two that stuck with it). Resolutions seem to be empty promises but I loved your blog about solutions. How you’re going to get from point A to point B! Mine is that I’m going to continue to push towards my dreams. I don’t see this as a resolution because I have been working on this for quite some time but I’m planning on continuing my journey!

    • Anita Ojeda

      Thanks, Amanda! Every step you take towards a dream is a step in the right direction! Congratulations for accomplishing your dream to become a nurse, and keep on striving towards your goals–I KNOW you can do it!

  • This is perfect timing. I have been very vocal about how much I love the fresh clean slate of New Years and I am already collecting New Year’s resolutions. I absolutely love what you wrote here. I pinned it and I’m going to remember this one.

    I am so glad we are doing this weekend version of 5 for 5, because I know what you mean about earlier posts that potentially no one even saw! It would be a shame to let something like this go to waste just because you weren’t established yet 🙂
    Messy Mom recently posted…Our First Scouting ExperienceMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words :). I’m glad you found the solutions theory helpful!

  • This is such a great reminder! I love your solutions. They are so practical and feasible.
    Alesha recently posted…Balance: {Journey, not Myth}My Profile

  • Anita, this is such a great post. I love that perspective: solutions rather than resolutions. I am going to try and use that perspective in my own life. I got a FitBit about a year ago and I love it. I am trying to walk 10,000 steps every day. I don’t always get there but I am working towards that goal.

    • Thanks, Tara :). Good for you for walking 10,000 steps a day! That’s how I started. Tell me more about the FitBit–I’ve been thinking about getting them for Christmas presents this year ;).

  • This post was great. I will bookmark it for a month from now when everyone starts talking about New Year’s resolutions…have a great weekend!
    Amanda recently posted…Petland Aquarium AdventureMy Profile

    • Thanks, Amanda :). I had such a great weekend I wasn’t on line at all!

  • I’ve never been a resolution maker and I really like this solution plan. Good idea!
    Susan Shipe recently posted…five minute friday: noticeMy Profile

  • Anita- I love your chart and your message… less talk, more action. It’s gonna be a better year, friend. 🙂
    Karen Brown recently posted…MovingMy Profile

    • I’m preaching to myself, too :). I love that my new phone records my number of steps for the day! It helps keep me honest as to how much I’ve moved in a day :).

  • What a better approach to take to the New Year. Love it. I happen to be sitting her thinking on the new year, goals and so forth, so your message was rather timely. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Blessings. xoxo
    Beth (@SimplyBeth3) recently posted…A Christmas WishMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it :). Simple actions, over time, make big steps! Have a wonderful New Year and thank you for all the beautiful words that you share with others on your blog.