Nearly Half of New Year’s Resolutions Stick—Are You Making Any?

We made it you guys! Another year, another election, a non-mageddon, and a whole lot of clean beauty. :) Don’t know about you, but we’re feeling pretty excited about what 2013 holds—and not because we’re wearing rose-colored glasses. This life stuff continues to be hard, but we’re of the mind that the more you work through your crap, with each passing year, the more rewarding the challenges become.

Anyways, on my very long drive back from Utah, where I spent the Christmas holiday, I listened to a lengthy (and kind of boring) interview about New Year’s resolutions. It turns out something like 46% of them actually stick, and that when you take the time to make a resolution on a chosen day (it doesn’t have to be New Year’s), it has a way better chance of surviving than just having an intention to make a change.

According to the piece, certain things really help make a resolution real. First off, you have to be serious about and truly ready for the resolution. It’s better if the resolution is clear and measurable, ie. instead of saying, “this year I’m going to be a better friend,” you say something more specific like, “this year I’m going to make an effort to call my close friends at least once a month” or whatever it may be. The buddy system seems to help too, or some kind of accountability to someone (your bud doesn’t need to have the same resolution as you). The expert also says that most people usually slip up pretty early in the game, but as long as you don’t let the slip be a fall, you’ll be fine. Last but not least, it’s important not to make too many resolutions at once—one is best, but two can work if they’re compatible.

Keeping all of this in mind, I am going to share my resolution for the year with you guys. Siobhan and Rebecca will share theirs in the comments, and we hope you tell us yours as well! That way we can all be accountable to each other here.

My resolution for 2013 is to become an intuitive eater. The good news there is that I’ve already started this practice! But I want to make sure it sticks for, well, my whole life. What do I mean by intuitive eating? I might have to save some of it for a longer post, but for most of my life I’ve been a pretty restricted eater in some way or another. While on the surface, this appeared to be very healthy—and was often done in the name of health—I’ve finally acknowledged to myself that it’s an obsessive type of behavior that has more to do with control than health. Some of the tenets of intuitive eating are: Eating when you’re hungry. Asking yourself what you truly want to eat instead of eating what you think you should eat. Stopping when you’re full, even if that means there’s still food on your plate. Not using food as a reward (or a punishment). Not really thinking about food unless you’re actually hungry—I come from a family that plans dinner before breakfast is even finished!—and so on. This book on intuitive eating has been really helpful to me, so if any of you feel a bit out of touch with your natural rhythms when it comes to food, I highly recommend it!

I have other intentions for this year, too, like being a better listener, and nurturing my spiritual practice. But as some of you surely know, the obsessive day-to-day stuff really detracts from the higher-self goals. So that’s where I’m gonna focus my energies for now.

Can’t wait to hear what you have planned for 2013. Happy New Year everyone!!!

15 Responses to “Nearly Half of New Year’s Resolutions Stick—Are You Making Any?”
  1. Rebecca says:

    Well, I’ve never been much for “new year” resolutions specifically – but there have been a few things I’ve been moving toward in the last few months, and I’m working on committing to them.

    1. Enjoy my time more – do the things that, for whatever reason, I don’t do enough even though I want to. That includes spending more time with friends, planning enjoyable family time with my son and husband, read things I’ve been wanting to read, do more DIY… I need to make this a bit more specific, will work on that.

    2. Be bloggalicious. I’ve got ideas swirling around and need to get more into writing. @Alexandra, I’ve been pondering one that relates to your resolution, inspired by Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.

    I wish for everyone to have all they need to make their resolutions stick!

  2. Alex says:

    I think I’m an intuitive eater for the most part… the only problem is, if I ask myself what I want, 90% of the time the answer is “a cookie.” Hmm.

    My resolution for the year is to stop spending money on anything I don’t really need. Our income isn’t huge and we really need to build up savings, so next year I’m going to try to cut way back. Maybe even learn how the hell coupons work, who knows.

  3. Caroline says:

    My resolution is to stop picking at my face. I swear, all of my acne is self created by picking and touching my face. Its exacerbated by stress (I took a GRE practice test recently and really did a number on my face). Any strategy suggestions from reformed pickers?

  4. Rebecca says:

    @Caroline, for me the best long term solution is to have other, more constructive, ways to get the stress released. Doing yoga and other exercise regularly helps me a lot, working on meditation, that sort of thing. I am probably 95% fixed – I was pretty bad for a lot of my life. If I find myself getting in picking mode, I try to occupy myself with something else and get away from the mirror. The hardest part is that I can’t really live by a strict no picking rule…if I must squeeze something I do it quick, put some honey or clay mask on it, and leave it be. I suppose the key is knowing when I’m doing it because of stress vs. when it might be helpful. I know there are people who say never ever ever pick, but I can’t seem to live by that! Good luck on your GRE : )

  5. C says:


    If you haven’t already, you should check out this fantastic blog about natural ways to deal with acne at Tracy has an awesome guide for how to “Quit Skin Picking, Popping, Touching, and Obsessing.” She’s totally down to earth and an inspiration.

  6. eaevansmd says:

    As someone “blessed” with stress-related acne…. I realized two things: if I adjusted to a healthier diet, cleaner beauty routine, and a less stressful existence, the acne started to subside. That said, spots still pop up – so what helped over the last hump:
    – Dot a drop of tea tree oil on the spot, which makes it go away the fastest (and cleanest) of anything I’ve tried.
    – Use the bathroom in the lowest possible light setting. I mean, it’s a familiar enough routine, right? I found if I couldn’t see in the mirror to pick, I wasn’t tempted.
    – While this isn’t everyone’s answer, I found my mind wandering as my hands worked: work dilemmas, family arguments, stressful situations. I realized that I was picking really as a way to get some time alone (I’m an introvert, and few people will bother you in a bathroom) to deal with stress. Identifying an alternate activity to do on my own while getting away from stress was a huge boost in getting myself to stop picking.
    Good luck!

  7. Mary says:

    I would like to get into yoga this year! I don’t make new years resolutions per say because I never keep them, but it has been something I’ve been wanting to commit to lately. I also want to reach 100 posts on my blog in 2013!

  8. Emma B says:

    @ Caroline I have the same resolution!
    I want to keep my hands off my face, and my fingers out of my mouth too. I know it’s going to be hard though, because I am finishing my PhD this year. And all that nail-bitting and face-scratching is a direct manifestation of stress and anxiety. I’m going to try some deep breathing every time I get the urge to bring my hands close to my face…
    I would like to improve my posture too, but maybe I’ll get to that next year.

  9. Caroline says:

    Thanks you guys! I am trying to pick up meditation this year as well, so hopefully that will have positive effect.

  10. christina says:

    my resolution is more of an intention that came about during a meditation. it is to remember that i am living amidst so many possibilities & to be open to the ones that seem to be leading me onward.
    best of luck to everyone this year!

  11. comagirl says:

    I’m not really into resolutions, but I do try to take time out to reconnect with my goals and recommit to certain things, such as healthful living, living in the present, letting go of things that hold me back, being a better listener and slowing down a bit. Once I’ve taken the time out to ponder these things and reconnect with them, I try to focus on them daily or weekly or whatever is needed. It is the journey, right? Not the destination.

  12. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for recommending this book – I actually cried on the bus this morning as I read it (just a single tear!) as I recognised that I am ‘The Careful Eater’, with issues.

    Vegetarian since 11, begging to be veggie for years before that, I would try and hide food under my knife and fork and around the underneath rim of my plate if I thought I was eating anything particularly bad. I had a jewellery box in my bedroom, and would keep a mini-size chocolate bar in there, allowing myself a little nibble every day, making it last the week. This would work fine, until I was so starved that given the opportunity, I would binge like mad. This was at its worst when I was at 6th form college aged 16-18, and would eat a bagel at 11am from the canteen, a banana later in the afternoon, then go home and eat a plate of vegetables. This would last throughout the week, and then at the weekend I would crack and buy a pint of ice cream and eat it all, along with family-size chocolate bars and bags of crisps.

    When I left for university, I was stuck in a similar cycle – very light cereal in the morning, a banana for lunch, or sometimes a bit of a friend’s sandwich and a coffee, a reasonable dinner such as a light pasta dish or some fish (as I was at that point pescatarian), but I would be ravenous as I wouldn’t eat during the day, and so would end up eating a family sized chocolate bar in my room in secret, feeling awful.

    When I was 20 I became vegan in hopes it would cure my sagging energy levels. I’d been relatively healthy for a while, having bran flakes for breakfast, a box of pasta salad or cous cous for lunch, and a big beany stew or chilli or something similar for dinner, and occasional snacks, but then I went off the rails again. The veganism didn’t help things. I was having a banana for breakfast, celery and cucumber sticks with salsa for lunch, and the same again for dinner, then feeling miserable and drinking most of a bottle of red to myself in the evening. I had gone from a UK size 10-12 to a UK size 6.

    Then I met my partner, and though still vegan, my eating changed. I skipped breakfast, ate fruit at work, and then would be ravenous when I got home, and would eat a peanut butter sandwich and a banana and biscuits and cups of tea, and then eat an enormous portion of dinner, and have bread afterwards. It was hell, and I ballooned back up to 10st.

    Last year, I broke the cycle, or so I thought, by going raw vegan. I went down to 8st10lbs, and a size 8, and liked the size I was. But I was tired, and it was hard work. And soon I was back to my old ways, and now I weight 10st again, and feel very bloated and uncomfortable.

    My partner has just started Slimming World (she’s over 13st and the same height as me) and I agreed to do the same eating plan. Looking at it shocked me – eggs for breakfast, beans for lunch, potatoes and cheese and all sorts for dinner, yoghurts for snacks… I realised I wasn’t eating anywhere enough during the day, and my body was in a constant state of freaking out.

    I didn’t really put it all together until reading Intuitive Eating though, and realising what a nightmare I’d been putting myself through.

    I’ve quit veganism, for now, and have just eaten a lunch of wholewheat pasta with mixed beans, crème fraiche, cucumber, carrot, and sweetcorn, and feel so satisfied. I have never felt this satisfied and full while at work, and it feels – wonderful.

    I don’t think I fit into any eating disorder category, but that doesn’t mean my eating isn’t disordered, or that I don’t deserve help. I’m helping myself, I will help myself. It’s going to be strange, but I’m excited about it, and that’s wonderful. (Sorry for such a long comment!)

  13. fern says:

    Intuitive Eating is a really good book – it helped me a lot.

  14. Rachel says:

    @Caroline and skin pickers: n-acetyl cysteine changed my life. It’s an amino acid and available over the counter. My doc told me about it after he’d read that it’d helped with hair pulling. I take 3 a day but it has seriously changed my life. I order it from Amazon, the NOW brand. (

  15. eva says:

    My resolution is to be kinder. To myself and in general to my stepson. I actually think I’m a pretty fantastic step-mom but I notice something super-upsetting – if I’m not nice to MYSELF about something, I can’t be nice to him about it either. We have a very close relationship and it’s weird how that connection goes – I’m not sure I have going on with anybody else (my husband, my baby, friends). For some reason he and I just push each other’s buttons. Perhaps it’s just the inbuilt stress of living with full time and parenting/being parented by someone who is not your mother..So my intention is to be kind, to be gentle. To all of us.

    As for the eating thing. I hear you all. As I was reading you all’s comments I literally screwed up my face and went “oh no, no, she must be so hungry!”. Paleo works for me, but I don’t think it matters too much which regiment exactly you find your bliss in, as long as you get enough food and eat with joy. It’s funny – EVERY SINGLE TIME I skimp on the fats and the proteins I feel it. BOOOM, major craving a couple of hours later. That lovely, full, happy, energetic yet light feeling goes away. It’s also been funny to see my 8 month old go gaga for egg yolk with a tiny bit of salt and pepper, avocado, tiny bit of braised chicken and veggies and wholeheartedly, 100% refuse with disgust every kind of cardboard-like cereal /grain mush I’ve tried. Even the nicer home-cooked ones. So, the kid likes real food too and I’ll try to eat a bit more like him. Except perhaps without the epic mess.

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