12/30/2014 07:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Out With New Year's Resolutions In With Happiness


Photo Credit Melissa Garvey

A new year is approaching, and it's time to make those resolutions! Of course, for most of us, those New Year's resolutions don't make it past the first new month. According to University of Scranton research, just 8 percent of us actually achieve those resolutions -- even though 40 percent of Americans make them. Do a quick Google search, and you can find all kinds of articles articulating why this happens. We don't make smart goals, we don't have intrinsic motivation, we need vision boards, etc.

I'm here to say, out with the resolutions! It's not that we need all of that extraneous work to meet them, it's that we're focusing on negatives -- what's wrong with us that we need to fix -- and we're putting too many constraints on ourselves for most of us to realistically reach those goals.

I have been working with this amazing registered dietician, Dawn Jackson Blatner, and one of her main mantras to me is to do what brings me joy. And that works. I don't cut out sugar completely or live off of fresh-made juices. But by acknowledging that I can have a brownie now and then when I really want one, I've actually cut out a ton of sugar and I eat healthier naturally and happily. And I do that by simply taking a moment to ask myself, "Is this what I really want right now? Will this bring me joy?" I'm not depriving myself of anything or setting impossible standards, and that makes it so much easier. I'm simply doing what makes me happy.

So many of us look at New Year's Resolutions from the point of view of, "What's wrong with me that I need to fix?" It's already starting from a negative viewpoint, so how will it get a positive result? Let's toss all of that out the window. Instead of making some big resolution, let's resolve to just take a few moments to look at our lives and the choices we make and say, "What makes me happy?" Will a workout make me happy right now, or will I feel better sitting on the couch for one more episode of the Real Housewives? Will eating an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies make me feel happy, or will one suffice?

When you take a minute to simply look within yourself, you will more often than not make the right choice for your health. And you won't have to limit yourself to these stupid, harsh rules that don't really hold anyway. Lose the resolution and resolve to choose happiness.