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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

11 Tips for the “Resolutionally Challenged”

Four, Three, Two, One . . . Happy New Year’s Resolutions!! Time to start that new diet and gym membership to shed those holiday pounds. Here are a few tips for Success in 2019.

Every New Year’s rings in a new exercise machine and a new diet in our family.  For the first three weeks of the year, Mom, Dad and Junior follow a strict, healthy diet while they huff and puff on the latest version of a hamster’s wheel. Predictably, after a few months, I get fed all the salmon and kale under the dinner table and the new exercise machine joins the retired treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bicycles lined up in the basement corner near the washer.

So, here are a few ideas for better success with your healthy resolutions.

  1. Set Smaller Goals.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with five minutes a day.  If you have a pet, add five minutes a day to walking or playing – your pet will love you!

  1. Find Exercises you Enjoy.

Nobody gets excited about slugging along on a treadmill. However, a challenging game of table tennis, dancing to a favorite tune or a walk in a dog park can be great fun!

  1. Seek Healthy Foods you Like.

Unless you truly love salmon and kale, don’t eat it. Find other nutritious foods and spice them up with a little pizazz.  A plain, broiled chicken breast offers little to satisfy the taste buds, but add a little low-fat butter and lemon juice, and you have a favorite delicacy – chicken limone, which can be served over a bed of riced cauliflower.

  1. Use the Five-minute Rule.

When faced with a dreaded task, like looking at recipes or going for a wintery walk, resolve to pursue the task for only five minutes. If you can’t handle it after five minutes, then stop.  However, you will often be motivated to complete the task after five minutes. Resolve each day to pursue a resolution task for five minutes.

New Year’s Resolutions
  1. Organize.

Keep your pantry stocked with healthy treats and have your gym bag packed at all times.

  1. Try Something Different.

We have all heard the old adage if you do what you have always done, you will get what you always got. Review your past failed resolutions and try a new approach. If cutting calories too low or following too strict of a diet didn’t result in sustained behavior change, modify your approach to cutting back on desserts or sodas.

  1. Plan for Carbohydrate Withdrawal.

If you have been indulging in too many sweets and chips this holiday season, your body will need to adjust to the reduction in sugars and refined carbs. Drink plenty of water, flavored with a little lemon or lime juice, eat healthy fats like nuts, avacados, olive or coconut oil.

  1. Engage in a Friendly Competition.

Find a health buddy to join in your resolutions. However, focus more on positive behaviors (number of times to gym, number of times temptation was resisted) than weight loss.

  1. Weigh Yourself Once a Month.

Give yourself enough time to notice weight changes without the daily or weekly fluctuations. The best way to know if you’re slimming down is how your clothes feel – especially after a trip to the cleaners.

  1. Use Technology Productively.

Place an inspirational photo on your phone or computer wallpaper.  Use your phone for reminders. Download cool apps to keep you motivated.

  1. Ease Your Stress.

Stress will knock your resolve quicker than a speeding bullet. Notice your rising stress levels early and use your best techniques to resolve them.  See my blog posts on general stress relief and easing stress at work.


Resolve to make your New Year’s Resolutions more fun, and you will likely see more success.

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11 Tips for the “Resolutionally Challenged”

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2019). 11 Tips for the “Resolutionally Challenged”. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Jan 2019
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