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?