We’ve all done it: made impossible-to-keep resolutions on the eve of a brand new year. Whether you’ve pledged to lose weight, keep more money in the bank, spend more time with your kids, quit smoking, or join the local gym, often these resolutions are but faint memories by February.

Instead of resolving to stick to strict rules or major lifestyle changes, improve your odds of success by making your resolutions more realistic and easier to keep. Here are ten ideas that can help you keep your New Year’s resolution this coming year.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Any resolution that starts out with “eat more” has to be good, right? Adding more produce to your diet gives your body more of the good stuff it needs, and has the added bonus of keeping your tummy full so you won’t reach for the potato chips. Which, incidentally, don’t count as a veggie.

2. Walk around the block every day. Sure, it sounds like a strange resolution, but think about it. You’ll be getting some exercise, you don’t have to spend money on equipment or a gym membership, and it only takes 5-10 minutes every day. What could be easier?

3. Think twice before making impulse purchases. If you’re the spendy type, impulse purchases eat up quite a bit of your bank account. Instead of adding that high-priced temptation to your shopping basket, think about it first. Do you really need it? Will you actually use it? Is there a less expensive alternative that will make a suitable substitute?

4. Cut down on caffeine/smoking/alcohol. I’m not telling you to promise yourself you’ll quit, because that can be daunting for anyone addicted to any substance, be it nicotine or sugar. If you find yourself stressing at the thought of going cold turkey, resolve to cut down, even if it’s just a little bit. Little bits add up, and over time you’ll be better prepared to cut down even more.

5. Designate “unplugged” days. Sit down and mark some days during the new year as “unplugged” days. That means no computers, no televisions, no cell phones, no PDA’s. Spend that time with your family and friends, doing activities that you all enjoy. How many of these days you can manage will depend on your schedule, of course, but try for at least once a month.

6. Adopt a cause. No, you don’t have to go out with signs and campaign for anyone’s rights, nor do you have to send in oodles of cash donations. Simply pick a cause that you believe in, and show them your support. Donate time, items from your home that you aren’t using any longer, or services that you can provide such as office painting, canvassing, or helping with fund raisers. Get involved to the best of your ability, and bring the family along to share in the goodwill.

7. Organize your home, one corner at a time. If the thought of getting your home organized leaves you in a cold sweat, take heart. It doesn’t have to be such a huge task! Each week, tackle one single spot in your house. It could be a closet, a guest room, or even the junk drawer. Then, once that spot is organized, keep it that way while you de-clutter another area the following week. Simple!

8. Join a club. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a beginner, everyone has interests and hobbies, and joining a group of like-minded people is beneficial in many ways. You’ll be getting out and making new friends, scheduling time for yourself and your interested, and learning new things in the process. If you can’t find a suitable club in your area, start one!

9. Celebrate more often. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well it is! Find reasons to celebrate, and include your friends and loved ones as much as possible. For birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions, skip the gifts and spend the money you would have used on a present on a nice dinner out, or some other activity. If someone you know gets a job promotion or other happy event is on the horizon, drop by with a card and take them out for a coffee. You’ll be getting out more and having fun celebrating!

10. Pamper yourself. This resolution doesn’t sound that difficult to keep, but if you’re working long hours, taking care of a home and a family, or just feeling burned out with your life, it can be hard to find time for yourself. Schedule whatever makes you happy, and stick to your schedule! A trip to the salon, a long bubble bath, a round of golf – whatever it is, you deserve it.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be painful or rigidly strict. Break down your goals into manageable tasks, and resolve to complete a few of them. Adding some fun elements into the mix will help you stay on track and stick to your resolutions, whatever they may be.

10 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

The District in Tustin
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