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5 Resolutions You Can Actually Accomplish This Month

5 Resolutions You Can Actually Accomplish This Month

Believe me, I know how it is: we’re not even through January and enthusiasm for those New Year’s resolutions has already started to fade. Somehow all those lofty goals that seemed so achievable just a few short weeks ago are starting to sound like more trouble than they’re worth. If this describes you, trust me when I tell you you are not alone.

But wait! There’s hope. Below you’ll find a brief list of legitimately useful goals you can accomplish in surprisingly short time with remarkably little effort. Think of the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel once you’ve achieved success by knocking some goals off your list. Let’s start with my personal favorite…

ONE:  Write Down All That Information On Your Phone

Phones get lost, broken, and swept away by rogue waves at the beach. If your phone went AWOL or belly up, would you be able to call anyone? Up until a week ago I couldn’t…because I have no earthly clue what their phone numbers are. As for the street addresses of my friends and family, I can take you there but I couldn’t address a birthday card to save my life. So this year I finally dug through the drawer where I stashed envelopes from birthday and Christmas cards and wrote down everyone’s phone number and address. Technology curmudgeon that I am, I did it the old fashioned way: in a small notebook. With a pen. Sure, I could have put the information in a file on my laptop or stored it in the omnipresent cloud, but what if the electricity goes out or something? Stash it where you like, but do store it somewhere. It took me less than an hour; now if my phone gets left in an airline seat pocket I’ll still be able to contact my non-Facebook friends.

While you’re at it, make note of your doctors’ names and contact info. Add your insurance agent to the list. And it wouldn’t hurt to put any credit card contact numbers in there, too. Yes, it’s on the back of  your card, but if someone steals your card how long will it take you to find the number to cancel it? Having all that info in one (secure) place means you can grab it and run in case of emergency.

TWO:  Throw Out Your Expired Food

Some years ago I was on the phone with my mother complaining about a cake I had baked. “I don’t know what the deal is,” I whined. “It tastes kind of OK but it’s really flat.” “Have you checked the expiration date on your baking powder?” she asked. Wait...baking powder expires? Who knew? Mine was a mere five years past its sell-by date; no wonder my confection looked more like a pancake than a layer cake. Don’t let this happen to you. It only takes a few minutes to go through the spices in your cabinet and toss the ones that are outdated.

While you’re at it, go through your refrigerator. (Be brave!) Toss that scary stuff in the back that used to be leftovers and the slimy mess that once was salad. Don’t neglect the things lurking in the doors. Whatever it is—or was—if it’s past its date, toss it. Then give the fridge a good wipe down and start the New Year with a sparkling clean interior. If you’re trying to clean up your body’s “interior”, a sparkling refrigerator will make all that ‘good for you’ food look more appealing.

THREE:  Choose One Healthy Option for New Year

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? The one where we all vow to lose weight, eat less, create washboard abs by Easter, run a marathon, win a gold medal, whatever it is. All good goals! But perhaps, rather than setting your sights on having a supermodel body by swimsuit season, it might be best to start by changing just one thing at a time. Consider it a first step on the road to better health.

FOUR: Create a “Feel Good File”

“Brothers and Sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.”Philippians 4:8

Everybody gets discouraged now and then. Even my favorite Old Testament prophet (Elijah) threw a whopper of a pity party out in the desert, moaning “I have had enough, Lord…Let me die” (1 Kings 18). Since you can’t really count on your bad day ending with an angel showing up to tell you “Get up and eat” (don’t we wish!), it’s a good idea to have a plan in place to deal with discouraging days. That’s where the Feel Good File comes in.

Just like it sounds, it’s a file of things that “are good and worthy of praise” you can look at when you need a little boost. It can be a physical file—like a manila folder or a pretty box—or a digital folder. What goes in it? That’s up to you. A note or card from someone special, a favorite Scripture, an inspirational quote… When you find something that touches your heart, file it. And when you’re tempted to go sit in the desert a la Elijah, open your file and read through it. The things inside will make you feel better. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that things aren’t as bad as they seem—and even if they are, God is not surprised by your situation and He has a plan to deal with it. So do what Elijah did. Get up and eat, then get back to work.

FIVE:  Start, Already

I’m a planner. I love to plan and dream and think about doing this or that…but nothing happens until I stop planning and start doing. As the great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” So whatever your goals may be, don’t just think about doing them…do them. Listen to your inner Jewish grandmother and start, already!

Susan Ellingburg is a natural-born Texan who sings at every opportunity, reads as much as possible, and cherishes every day she gets to spend with friends. She's a serious foodie and not-so-serious gardener who is determined not to let being single stand in the way of living an amazing life. Read Susan's blog at

Publication date: January 22, 2013