New Year’s Resolutions vs. Daily Action

Good morning, friends!

Let’s talk New Years Resolutions. For most of you, today means back to the daily grind. It also means a fresh start after the indulgence of the holidays. I’m all for people making decisions to change their lives in a healthy way, but I’m not a big resolution person. I know that resolutions really work for some, but for me resolutions have always been a bit too broad and overwhelming. As I hope I’ve shown on this blog, I believe much more in the power of small daily actions, or intentions. I find that setting smaller daily or weekly goals vs. broad resolutions really helps with making healthy living a lifestyle change vs. a quick fix — or a huge overwhelming goal that is never reached.


Here are some examples of how to turn a broad resolution into a more specific action.

Resolution: “I will exercise more this year.”

Daily/Weekly Action or Intention: “I will schedule at least three workouts into my calendar every week.”

Then every Sunday, schedule exercise into your calendar in a very specific way — e.g. Monday morning 7 a.m. run, or Wednesday night 6:30 p.m. Zumba class. Over time, scheduling your workouts will become second nature. I always take this approach — I find if something is in my calendar, it makes it much easier for me to just do it vs. trying to figure out when to fit in exercise last minute. Another great approach? Sign up for a race and create a training plan!


Resolution: “I will lose weight this year.”

Daily/Weekly Action or Intention: “I will eat at least one vegetable every day.” or “I will choose brown rice or whole wheat pasta instead of white rice/pasta.” or “I will eat a healthy breakfast 6 out of 7 days of the week.”

Again, I think setting a more specific daily or weekly action will help to make the overall goal more reachable.


I know this approach might not resonate with everyone, but I find that taking broad, sweeping resolutions and working them into weekly or daily intentions can help with making them seem less overwhelming. It will also help to translate them more into action and make healthy living more a part of your daily life, vs. something you try to fit in when you can.

What do you guys think — are you more of a resolutions person or a daily intentions person? I’m clearly not trying to act like an expert in any of this, and obviously changing your life for the healthier is a lot easier said than done, but I just thought this new approach to resolutions might help some of you to translate your resolutions into action.

Did you set a New Year’s Resolution? What is it? And if you like the idea of daily intentions, what are some examples of how you can turn your original resolution into daily action? You can do this! :)

For more examples of daily actions vs. broad resolutions, check out my inspiration for this post: the Anti-Resolution Campaign!

(photo source)

Want some more health tips? Check out some of my previous related posts:

p.s. Speaking of incorporating fitness into your daily life, remember when I wrote last week about that gorgeous yoga studio in Adams Morgan called Stroga? Well, there’s a Living Social Deal for it today — 10 group yoga or fitness classes for $39. Sweet! Just bought it; it’s good through July 6, so I should have plenty of time to put it to use since we’re moving back in May! Yoga is so crazy expensive in D.C. so I’m excited.



  1. 1

    100% agree with this post! I just wrote a really similar post to this actually – but instead of the “Daily / Weekly Action or Intention” I called them SMART Goals. Because instead of long term outcomes, we should focus on goals that are specific, measurable, action based, realistic, and time constrained – aka SMART!

  2. 3

    I think this is probably one of the only ways to make a new year’s resolution realistic and attainable. Otherwise, you’re stuck with vague commitments like “lose weight” or “work out more”, and without figuring out how that’s going to fit into your daily life, they won’t actually BECOME part of your daily life.

  3. 5

    I agree working out should be a “natural” routine….
    I run everyday on my “lunch break” -so I never miss a workout!
    (an hour long “lunch” in overrated! :-)

    And eating a healthy low carb, high protein diet rich in antioxidants -is my preference, and lifestyle.
    (especially at my age)

    I consciously continue to naturally look Good…..and feel Great! ;-)

  4. 7

    Anne, I agree with your thinking. I don’t really like New Year’s Resolutions because I think it’s almost like setting yourself up to fail. But, anytime you make a start at being healthier is good. I’m going to schedule a yoga class in my schedule once a week- or try to anyway!
    Happy New Year!

  5. 9

    I’m somewhere in between! My “resolution” is to continue what I started in the last few months, less processed and boxed food and more homemade from scratch whole goodies! I was planning the week’s meals and cooking everything on Sunday/Monday since I work out of town 2 days a week. Guess since I’ve been doing it since October it’s not really a “NY resolution” but I want to keep it up and having 3 weeks where I get to work 100% from home has broken the habit a bit.

    My weekly goal is to try a new fruit/veggie each week. I’m very picky and trying to develop a taste for new foods (even if I have to “trick” myself by mincing them into my recipes). So far I’ve decided I like beets (but only fresh, roasted ones) and cranberries are good in salads with pears, gorgonzola and tons of baby spinach.

    • 10

      I love your resolutions – great translation from a broad goal (eat less processed/box food) into a manageable intention (make a week’s worth of meals every Sunday/Monday and try a new fruit/veg every week). Great ideas – you are definitely on your way to success. :)

  6. 11

    Great point! I think your point is exactly why people should review their resolutions (or goals – whatever you want to call them) periodically throughout the year to ensure their daily actions are leading up to the results they want.

    • 12

      Definitely. I’m all for people having big goals/resolutions – but it’s important to set smaller goals or daily intentions to make sure you are on the right track.

  7. 13

    Anne: Thanks for your healthy tips. I really want to change my way I mean do exercises, lost weight and try to eat more vegetables. Definitely I have to organize my schedule and “hope not to die in the attempt..” ;). … every time I said “i do not have time to do this or that..” but really If we want something we have to try..thanks again.

  8. 15

    My big NYR is to run a half marathon so my short term goal is to follow my training plan for each week! I’m feeling pretty crazy saying that I’m going to run 13.1 miles, but I know if I follow my plan I can do it!

  9. 17

    Totally agree and great tips of really focusing in and planning actual resolutions (or whatever you want to call them!) I’ve got a few in the works but I’ve decided to let my goal planning continue throughout the week/month/year!

  10. 19

    I’m kind of in the middle, too… I made goals for the year, but I am hoping they are ones that I will break down month by month into little actions that go into my week. One of the big ones is to track my workouts this year!! Kind of goes along with scheduling them, I guess?

  11. 21

    Anne, I 100% agree with you about resolutions. We are all human and we fall occasionally. I have resumed my 5 miles per day walk, except for today high in Atlanta 37.Zumba 2 times per week and kbells 2 times per week. I did make an exception this year and promised myself to be a better sister. As you know, I am the eldest of 10 kids. 9 girls and 1 boy. 2010 2011 was very hard for me, my husband and 3 sons were deployed most of the year and I had their families living with me and caring for them. I neglected my younger siblings and I want to make it up to them. For starters we will be going on our walks together and meeting for lunch at least 1 time per week. I think that is a good start. Have a great day.

  12. 22

    i’m definitely a fan of taking daily actions versus setting resolutions. i do much better with short-term goals to work toward than long-term ones that overwhelm me. great post!

  13. 23

    This is such a great post! I never make resolutions just for the simple fact that I would not meet them if I did. Setting small daily goals on the other hand make much more sense to me and they don’t seem so overwhelming. I really love the way you have it listed here. At the end of the day I can feel good about meeting them and start all over the next day! :)

    Have a great day!

  14. 25

    I like the daily intentions and as I don’t like to call my ideas “goals” or “resolutions” they are simply things I want to do in the new year. And they’re not so hard to accomplish so they’re more attainable!

  15. 27

    Resolutions have never worked for me so this year I just set 1 and it’s really more of a theme. Get Fit in 2012. I just want to work out more. I’m training for a race in March and I’m hoping by generating some excitement in my life for working out again the healthy eating and everything will follow. I really like all your ideas about weekly goals. I think I’ll start adding those into my posts on my blog. :-D

    • 28

      Great theme. Good luck with the race – and love the idea of adding your weekly goals into blog posts! Good accountability AND inspiring for readers. :)

  16. 29

    I like to set goals to try and make each year the best that it can be. Resolution seems like too much pressure!

  17. 30

    I didn’t make any resolutions for the same reason, although I felt kinda wrong not having any! Last year I lost 50 lbs, started running and eat very well. I am just looking to maintain!

  18. 32

    I totally agree with you that daily actionable goals are more effective! I’m aiming to hit the gym or yoga 5 days/week.

  19. 34

    I definitely believe that clear, quantifiable goals are the way to go! Instead of making “resolutions” for myself, I have a list of 13 goals that I plan on accomplishing in 2012. Each one can be completed with a neat little check mark in a box, and then I can feel the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that it brings :)

  20. 36

    I’m with you, Anne, on the small things vs big resolutions. Also about scheduling workouts at dates/times. That works best for me!

  21. 37

    I made a “bucket list” instead of resolutions because I felt like it was a more fun/less stressful approach to making this a great year! I included both long term and short term things to keep me interesting

    I’ve already crossed off a couple short term things, which felt absolutely wonderful! :)

  22. 39

    Love your outlook on resolutions. It is so important to set goals that are actually attainable. Many times, looking at it on a year basis is just too overwhelming which is why I believe so many people fail.

  23. 40

    To make your plake on the ball even more challenging try raising one leg at a time and pausing a second. This not only targets your abs but also your gluets :)

  24. 42
    Adventurer says

    Love it, Anne! It’s all about establishing a “personal culture of fitness and health!” Very well done/great advice and examples. Thanks– and good luck/all best for an awesome 2012 of success in grad school and an awesome wedding!

  25. 43

    I completely agree! I don’t really mind what it’s called as long as it is quantitative.

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