01/20/2015 02:46 pm ET Updated Mar 22, 2015

Make Change, Not Resolutions


Time to get on track.

OK, people, January is half over; it's time to get serious. I don't make annual New Year's resolutions because they don't typically end well. So instead, I try to make a list of five things I'd like to do better in the new year. They can be very simple which makes completing them much more likely. Write them down and cross them off as you go. This gives you a feeling of accomplishment which puts you on the positive road to finishing more.

I know that in the past when I make a grand gesture of announcing my resolutions I feel defeated before I even start, but with this casual list and approach things are easier to handle and give you no pressure like a typical list does. Start out light like this: I will add healthier items to my grocery list like chia seeds and more fruit. Then work to incorporate these items into your weekly eating plan. You can see how that's much more attainable than saying I'm going to eat all paleo and go to gym five days a week.

It's the little steps that still make a significant change. You are much likelier to stick to a plan of adding a few new healthy food items at a time than changing your entire eating plan. As you go along through the year add a few more and soon the change happened without the shock of trying to do it all at once.

I use this strategy in many other ways like instead of trying to remodel the whole house at once set a goal to get one or two rooms in order. Paint, buy some new accent pieces, replace old fixtures or furniture. It's easier to think about it a room at a time then to say this year I'm remodeling the whole house.

You will get on a roll and as one gets done it will inspire you to make other changes. Without a huge list things seems more realistic and you can get them done without huge expectations looming overhead. Same in your personal life: Make a conscious decision to make more time for one thing. Don't attempt to make more dinners, spend more time with friends, shop less and take more time for beauty routines all at once because it's too much to stay on track with. Say to yourself this week, "I'm going to make a special dinner and invite a friend over to eat with us then you kill two birds with one stone." Or say, "Instead of spending more money on shoes and handbags (oh how hard this one is), I'm going to put the extra money and time into a facial and some great skin products and make an effort to keep up on daily skin routine religiously."

Again, two goals tied together. Better skin care and less shopping is a hard one for me and specifically why I don't list them as resolutions. Instead, I try to just work a little more skin care in every week until it's a habit instead of a chore. That's the key to this whole approach. Instead of making a huge list of change that most of us fail on achieving, take a few small things and gradually work them into your lifestyle until they are habit and you don't even think of them.

Soon your grocery list will be healthier, your skin will be brighter, you'll have a bigger savings account and your home will be more orderly. And with all those things accomplished there's no need for resolutions. This plan keeps you constantly changing and improving all year long not just the first three weeks of January!