How to Make New Year's Resolutions Not Suck

The following post is from 2017 festival presenter, Becka Kelley. Becka will be speaking on the Apple Stage on Sunday, January 28from 3:50-4:40pm.

By Becka Kelley, Health Psychology Coach,


How many times have we set New Year’s resolutions around food, only to keep them for a month, a week, maybe even just a day?  Then, of course, there’s the familiar sense of failure, disappointment, and the ensuing shame storm.  Are we setting ourselves up for failure with this style of resolutions? 


What if instead about thinking about what it is we want to stop, we became curious about why we want to do it in the first place? Let's say we want to stop eating bread, for example. Instead of telling myself, "I have to stop eating bread!", I'll ask, "Why do I feel this strong compulsion to eat bread?"


Hmmm, well, when I feel stressed at work or I want a snack I always go into the break room where there are all those pastries. When I go over to my friend's place there's tempting snacks. If I'm starving and I don't have anything to eat, I know if I get bread it will be quick, easy, and filling. When I am angry at my spouse or kids, all I want to do is eat bread. Get the drift?


Practicing awareness and understanding with ourselves is a way of practicing self-compassion instead of shame. From that place, we address the true issue in a kind and encouraging way.


There was that one time I felt stressed at work and I took a walk around the building instead of going into the break room, I felt much better after that. I bet I could pack some grapes and apple pieces to snack on when I get hungry. Maybe the next time I'm invited over I'll bring some sweet potato fries and just eat those. If I plan better on Sundays, I won't run out of food and be tempted to go out to eat. The next time I'm feeling really angry I'm going to write out my frustration in a journal, dance to my favorite song, or call a friend instead of eating.


When we truly nourish ourselves, we don't have to force ourselves to avoid making self-destructive choices; we don't have the impulsive to do them in the first place. 


Instead of making the food (or whatever it is for you) the problem, let's consider that it may be a symptom of another problem. If we were to get rid of the symptom (which is our attempt to cope with the problem), then we're still left with the problem and we have no coping tool to address it! So let's go directly to addressing the problem and then the symptom will go away on it's own. 


I hope you have a great time making your resolutions and have a wonderful new year!