New Year’s Resolutions Fail [What I’m Doing Instead]


I’m not really a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  “Why?” you may ask.  Well, because there is so much evidence of the failure rate of said resolutions.  So, what’s a girl to do when she wants to actually improve her life and that of her family?

I’ll give you a hint.  It isn’t a list of New Year’s Resolutions (at least for me).

Have you ever seen the crowds at the gym at the beginning of January?  Every boot camp, spin class, and treadmill has a waiting list 3 miles long.  But by the beginning of March, the crowds seem to have thinned out back to the normal gym crowd.

Don’t get me wrong, getting stronger, healthier, more physically fit is definitely a worthy goal.  It is just that most New Year’s resolutions tend to lose steam after the first few weeks.  And this isn’t only the case with exercise goals. So I have avoided making “resolutions.”

No New Year's Resolutions

Instead I tried goals. A couple years ago I asked my kids what their goals were for the new year.  My son (I think he was 8 or 9-years-old at the time) said he wanted to play lots of video games, lol. My older daughter wanted to be able to read chapter books. My little one let me set a goal for her.  I suggested a good goal was to be able to write her name all on her own (she was in preschool, so I figured this was very achievable).  I think my goal was to be able to eat more food! (If you take a look at what I was eating before, you’ll understand why this was a goal.) I think we all actually accomplished our individual goals!

I kind of liked the idea of focusing on 1 goal for the year.  It was definitely doable since they were pretty realistic goals and only 1 per person.  But this year, I’m doing something completely different.

A couple weeks ago, we listened to a sermon at church where the pastor recommended making a “To Don’t Do List.” (Click here if you want to watch or listen to it too, I highly recommend it. He is so funny and makes a really great point!) The idea of a To Don’t Do List really resonated with me.

Our lives (and I mean all of us, not just my family) are so hectic and busy, it is so easy to get wrapped up in adding to our list of things that need to be done (which already seem to be a mile long!).  Adding additional goals like going to the gym more often or reading a new book each month, just may not be feasible with the current frenzied state of our lives.

So what is a To Don’t Do List?  It is a list of things that we will cut out/cut back from our current hectic lives to create more space in our lives for the things that are more important to us.  The pastor gave examples of stopping playing on Facebook or other social media as often as we do. Or cutting back on fantasy football (again his example, not mine).  Or maybe shopping for clothes we (or our children) don’t need and maybe aren’t in our budget anyway.

By cutting out or cutting back on extras that don’t actually enrich our lives or are not in line what is really important to us, we leave more room and time for those things that really do matter.

And for me, that isn’t just things that take up time.  I’m applying this to all aspects of my life (health, financial, time, relationships, etc.).

Goals for the New Year


So here is my 2018 To Don’t Do List:
#1 – Don’t Say Yes to Everything

One of the problems many moms have is saying “yes” to way too many things and then fill our time with little tasks that take way too much time.  I fall prey to this too.  So, this year, I plan to NOT say yes to many things that may sound important, but really just take up my time and money, such as: fundraisers at school, agreeing to every whim the kids have for after school activities, cooking every special request known to man (i.e. being a short order cook), etc.

Before everyone gets mad at me for saying no to school fundraisers, let me explain. I know our schools need money to provide programs for our kids and I know how important the money is! But I would much prefer to donate a set sum to the school/PTA than feel pressured to buy every box of chocolates, roll of wrapping paper and tub of cookie dough known to man.  Not only does the school not get all of the proceeds from these fundraisers, but, since we have 3 kids, trying to participate equally for all three so they can all get the same prizes gets so expensive.  Setting aside money for the school, not giving in to the stress and pressure of the never-ending fundraiser requests, and not bringing home extra “stuff” to deal with sounds like a win-win to me!

Remember this is all about NOT doing things that take up our resources (time, money, etc.) that are better used elsewhere.

#2 – Don’t Play on Social Media Right Before Bed

This is a tough one for me. I tend to mindlessly scroll through my Facebook or Instagram feed after turning off the TV and before heading to bed.  I’ve come to realize that this pushes my bedtime back 30, 45, even 60 minutes on some nights!  And even though my kids generally sleep through the night (yes, you still get woken up on occasion when the kids are 5, 8 and 10), that doesn’t mean I get as much sleep as I need each night.

I think, like most moms/parents, I am eternally sleep deprived.  But an extra 30-60 minutes a night of sleep can make a huge difference in my attitude, alertness, and ability to function the next morning.  Not to mention, that is time taken away from spending with my husband.  I’d say he is much more important than silly cat videos on Facebook!

#3 – Don’t Fly by the Seat of My Pants

I’m a planner and organizer at heart.  I love having an idea of where I’m going and what to expect of myself.  But lately (read: since I had my first child over 10 years ago), I have fallen prey to taking care of the immediate problem at hand and not making long-term plans.  And by long term, I mean anything from planning what we are having for dinner that night, having a routine for paying bills each month, planning a vacation, and even having plans set in place for retirement.

This can also apply to my blog.  Having a plan of what to share with you all and a focused business plan is necessary.  Because I want to provide you great information that is useful to your lives! And, honestly, I want to make some spending money for my family and help cover extra expenses that come up.  But I can’t do this if I am all loosey goosey.

#4 – Don’t Eat Flour and Sugar

This may sound silly and way out there for some, but I feel totally yuck when I eat this stuff. And eating it sets me back in my health.  My tummy doesn’t like it, my brain doesn’t like it and the scale doesn’t like it.  Though I don’t force this way of eating on the rest of my family, I do try to make sure that they eat healthy, balanced meals.  But they also have occasional treats.  So that means that there are things that tempt me around the house.  It can be really hard sometimes, but when I give in to temptation it seriously derails me in all aspects of life. So flour and sugar are on my To Don’t Do List.

Everyone’s To Don’t Do List will be different, but these are the things that I felt like would make the biggest impacts in my life.

You may want to look at your busy life and consider what might be non-essential.  Maybe there are things that you would rather spend your time and other resources on?  If so, what do you think should be on your To Don’t Do List this year?



  1. Verla

    January 3, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Love this sensible approach. Going to try the no sugar or flour. And the no media before bed. Happy New Year Lisa.

    1. Lisa

      January 3, 2018 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks! And Happy New Year to you too, Verla! 🙂

  2. Anitra

    January 5, 2018 at 5:03 am

    This is great, a To Don’t Do List is such a clever idea! Ill have to get busy on my own! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Diane

    January 5, 2018 at 5:32 am

    I agree. I hate resolutions.. but I look back at what I succeed in last year and make a list of things I want to achieve this year that is realistic. But I do like the no social media for bed…I’m sure my husband would too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  4. Laura Belle

    January 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I had never heard of a To Don’t Do List, but this is kind of how I make resolutions. It works for me

  5. Deanna

    January 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Fantastic perspective, and I Love the “To don’t do list”! #2 and #4 totally resonate with me.

  6. Melissa

    January 5, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    I don’t even set resolutions anymore, but love the idea of a to don’t do list! That’s great!

  7. Melina

    January 5, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    Love these goals! I need to stop using social media before bed as well!

  8. Monica

    January 5, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I love this idea. A coworker asked me if I had any New Years resolutions and I told her there’s nothing wrong with making goals for yourself. What I meant is similar to what you’re saying. You don’t need to use a new year as an excuse to start making your life better. The do not list idea is great. Mine would be so not stress the little stuff.

  9. Clay and Hannah

    January 5, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    LOve this Idea! I think its great to set goals at the beginning of the new year but unfortunately, not everyone is realistic about them!

  10. Nicolette

    January 6, 2018 at 12:50 am

    A big YES to #4! I feel so much better when I stick to that one!

  11. Maggie

    January 6, 2018 at 12:50 am

    A “To Don’t Do” list sounds like a fun and engaging way to ring in the new year! Thanks for the insightful post!

  12. Karen

    January 6, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Love the idea of a “To don’t do list!” I do make resolutions, but I call them habits and keep them simple and achievable!

  13. Chantel

    January 6, 2018 at 4:09 am

    I love the idea of goals rather than resolutions! I have a list of do’s and don;t’s–I especially like “don’t say yes to everything” Happy New Year!

  14. Dee

    January 6, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    I love the idea of a don’t do list. Going to implement that since I don’t really do resolutions.

  15. shanna

    January 9, 2018 at 6:23 am

    don’t eat flour and sugar! OMG I might die! Haha just kidding. I am working this year on cutting processed food out of my diet almost entirely. I feel you on the yuck sister.

  16. Dawnmarie

    January 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    That is a good list of items that will definitely need focus…probably for many of us.

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