80% of New Year’s resolutions fail – by February, according to a December 23,2023 US News & World Report!!  Resolutions can be like a “paper tiger”: without follow-through, they’re just noise. 

BUT…resolutions that are realistic and become automatic & habitual will stick the landing.  Since I deal with nutrition, health, and lifestyle, let’s focus on better approaches to resolutions in those areas: 

Keep It Real: Change “Ideal” to “I DEAL”!

 Whether for you or your family, whether it’s about losing weight, improve your eating style, or become more active, changing “ideal” to “I Deal” means being open to some negotiating. 

Start by swapping huge changes for baby steps.  The wins will be smaller, but they’ll come faster and more steadily — perfect for habit-building!

4 more essentials:

Build “Capacity”!

This starts with prioritizing, so it’s actually POSSIBLE to make better living “automatic”.  But capacity-building must be gradual to be permanent.  So be “I-Deal” and be willing to adjust and pivot a little. Things to consider:

  • Carve out just 10 minutes for SOMETHING physical, even some stretching. Don’t have 10 minutes? DEAL & PIVOT so it’s a priority. It’s self-care & family care.


  • More family meals at home! This is a healthy habit – mountains of studies show this! Prioritize more family meals they’re that important – and that healthful. Using some convenience foods is fine. “Scratch cooking”? Not a reality for most, but that shouldn’t stop us from eating a few more meals at home with the family. More about making this easier below.

Give Your Kitchen A “Shelvic Exam.”

  • Scope out the fridge, pantry, and counters. Make it POSSIBLE to eat better by keeping good stuff around and accessible:
  • Stop replacing the “empty-calorie” snacks. Keep 1 type of cookie & one savory snack not several. Keep them in the pantry or cupboard – it discourages mindless eating.
  • Let the sugary drinks run out. Replace with 100% juice but stretch juice by keeping a pitcher of 50/50 juice/cold water in the fridge. (Pro-tip #1: Call it “flavored water” not “diluted juice.”)
  • Get input about FAVORITE fruits and veggies. Make sure to have them in stock as often as possible. You’re removing the low-nutrient stuff, so replace it with foods they LIKE. (Pro-tip #2: A bowl of washed red & green grapes or clementines (like “Cuties”) are a perfect “no-commitment” fruit to have on the counter. This kind of impulse-eating is just fine!)


Inform everyone in advance. Surprising the household with sudden new regimen guarantees blow-back. Start with kindness. No food-shaming. No judgements about liking “bad” foods, either. You’re only declaring taking some pro-active steps to prevent some habits that aren’t ideal from catching up to you all if they haven’t already. Specifics to declare:

  • No worries!  This isn’t boot camp – it’s going to be  gradual.
  • Re: favorite foods. Everyone will still get them. It’s not about “yes” or “no”, but how much and how often.
  • Re: physical activity. It’s not about running marathons or joining team sports (unless they want to). It’s about doing ANYTHING more than they are now and building form there. It’s about BETTER – the new “perfect”. (Nod to my friend and colleague Liz Ward for that!)
  • Welcome input – if constructive! It’s fine if they don’t like a particular change – IF they have a better idea.


             Photo credit: iStock-jacoblund

EVERYONE has a role to play here. If you have kids, you have help – and let them know you NEED their help. Also let them know it’s part of learning real-world skills:

  • Make a task chart, so everyone knows what’s expected, and of whom, and on which days.
  • Typical kid-friendly meal-related tasks:
    • Set the table for the family meal.
    • Make a salad (older kids). If they make it, let them know they can include the veggies they want.
    • Steam a veggie. Again, they’re choice.
    • CLEAN-UP! Yes, kids can do this as soon as they can reach the faucet and the water handle. They can also dry and put away the dishes. It’s not rocket science. It’s life skills.

5th: Give ‘Em PROPS!

Everyone likes to hear a “Thanks, nice job!”. Me, too! If you like the above, share this post! It’s the best compliment!

Featured photo: LeoPatrizi on iStock