New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

Leek and Apple Salad (Photo provided — Yvona Fast)

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions in 2018? Was one of your New Year’s Resolutions to stay on a budget? Or to stay in shape? Or have healthier eating habits? Did you make a resolution to lose weight?

According to data from the University of Scranton, about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions — and the most popular resolution is weight loss. More than one-third of all New Year’s resolutions have to do with food and healthier eating.

Many try to start the New Year with positive change – turning a new page in their life. Approximately half of us make resolutions each New Year, according to researcher John Norcross and colleagues, who published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Resolutions are an effort to motivate ourselves to do better, to reinvent ourselves, to create positive change. But often this doesn’t work, and most New Year’s resolutions quickly get broken.

The reasons for failure are many. Often, the goals set are unrealistic. And some folks just are not ready for change.

In her blog, The Anti-Resolution Revolution 2017, Julie Foster Hedlund writes that one reason resolutions don’t work is because they start from negativity and failure. She writes, “We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one… Lose weight = I weigh too much …  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.” She continues, “When times are tough, when you start feeling as if your dreams are eluding you, it becomes more important to reflect on your accomplishments and give yourself credit for all that you did achieve.”

Confidence and self-worth is established through success, not failure. While it’s true that we can learn from our mistakes, it is our successes that motivate us to press on and continue. To be successful, goals should be based on previous accomplishments, not disappointments.

So instead of healthy resolutions for 2018, what were your health successes in 2017? How did you accomplish them? How can you build on those achievements?

It is too easy to think of ourselves as a failure when we don’t have major triumphs. When we feel this way, it is easy to just give up. Change takes willpower. It takes time and energy.

Yet even if there are no obvious successes, like huge weight loss, did you take steps to stay fit? Did you walk or exercise at the gym? Did you practice portion control? Did you manage to not binge at Thanksgiving?

Successes don’t have to be spectacular. Small steps are successes too. Celebrate them. In 2018, instead of making resolutions which will likely be broken, build on your 2017 successes.

What have you accomplished in 2017? Did you cook more? Eat out less? Eat less junk food? Eat more veggies? Exercise? Buy more local, fresh food at the farmers’ market? Eat more whole foods and less processed? Are you better informed about the food you eat than you were one year ago? What have you done in 2017 to improve your health? How can you continue that progress in 2018?

Healthy eating means different things to different people. To some, it means dieting. To others, it means low fat. To others, it means skipping meals. Some believe healthy eating is vegetarian, or vegan, or paleo. Others think they’re eating healthy because they stuff themselves with supplements and vitamins.

To me, healthy eating is choosing the right foods – foods that are whole, local and organic. It means eating real food, not food from boxes and packages. Whole foods are alive, and unprocessed. They include fruits, vegetables, grains, protein sources like eggs, fish, meat, nuts, legumes and dairy. It means preparing my own food, so I know what goes into the meal. Although the farmers’ market is closed for the winter season, I will share a couple healthy recipes made with real, fresh ingredients rather than cans and boxes.

What does healthy food mean to you, and how can you eat better in 2018? How can you build on last year’s success as you move into 2018 with a positive mindset?

Pork and Vegetable Stew

A great warm up on cold winter days, this hearty, savory stew with potatoes, carrots, celery, broth, herbs, and spices. Cook on the stove or in the crockpot. I used pork but beef or lamb could also be used. Amounts are approximate; use what you have.  


1 1/2 pounds pork steak

2 yellow onions

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 carrots

2 potatoes 1 parsnip

2 stalks celery

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup tomato juice or sauce


Cut off the fatty parts of the meat. (Or discard and use oil). In a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat, render the fat. Cut meat in chunks and brown on all sides in the fat for about 10 minutes. Peel and dice the onions, add, cover, and cook until translucent, five to seven minutes. Cover with a little water, add salt, pepper, and bay leaf, lower the heat and simmer 30 to 60 minutes until tender.

Peel potatoes; wash carrots, parsnip and celery. Peel and crush the garlic. Slice all the vegetables, add to the stew along with the herbs, and cook about 30 minutes longer.

Take a little cold water, add 2 teaspoons cornstarch, mix well, add wine and tomato juice, stir in a little warm liquid from the pot, then blend back into the stew, stirring, to thicken. Cook about 10 more minutes.

Leek and apple salad

When fresh greens are out of season, this is one of our favorite winter salads.


1 leek

1 teaspoon salt

1 apple

1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Toasted nuts or fresh chopped greens for garnish, optional


Discard tough greens of leek and slice off root end. Cut the leek in half lengthwise, and rinse under running water to remove sand.

Chop each half crosswise into thin slices. Place in colander, sprinkle with salt and mix thoroughly with your hands. Let sit 20 minutes or longer.

Rinse thoroughly to remove excess salt. Place in salad bowl.

Wash, core and chop apple. Add to bowl with leek. Fold in sour cream.

Serve with above pork root roast. Add optional garnishes if desired.

Serves two to three.


≤Psychology Today:

≤Julie Hedlund:

Author of the award-winning cookbook Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market, Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. She can be reached at, or on Facebook as Author

Yvona Fast.