Sarina Sechrist, Mental Health Coordinator, Martha’s Table

Did you know that, on average, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February? If this applies to your 2022 resolutions, you’re not alone! But good news, Martha’s Table is committed to standing alongside you this year as you commit to healthier habits, rooted in sustainable growth and change! We have your back with ten sustainable alternatives to traditional resolutions that are more likely to be successful!

Traditional vs. Alternative

  1. ‘Lose weight’ vs. Eat fruits and vegetables daily. Adding healthier foods is more manageable than restricting foods. Naturally, consumption of unhealthy foods will decrease because you will be less hungry, shifting focus from weight to health. You can shop for fresh fruits, veggies, and shelf-stable items every day at our Lobby Food Markets.
  2. ‘Start a gym membership’ vs. Get 15 minutes of physical activity daily. Our lives are busy, going to the gym is not always realistic. Exercising 15 minutes a day is small enough to incorporate even during busy days and will give you the motivation to increase the time duration as you see yourself maintaining the 15-minute goal. Check out Martha’s Table’s virtual workout classes by visiting and find a fitness program that works for you.
  3. ‘Delete social media’ vs. Replace 15 minutes of screen time with reading or meditating each day. All-or-nothing approaches are challenging to maintain and often leave us feeling defeated if we fail. Instead, start small by replacing only 15 minutes of screen time with reading or meditation. You can stick with this smaller goal, or build your way up to a bigger target. To help support this switch you can join the Community Change Makers Book Club at Martha’s Table contact Charlie Gussom, at to learn more and join the next session.
  4. Find a significant other vs. Develop healthy relationship skills. Finding a partner is not something that is totally within your control. However, you can increase your chances of having healthy, fulfilling relationships by improving your interpersonal and overall emotional wellness skills. Join our “Growing a Healthy Mind” workshop to maximize your own emotional wellness, before adding a partner to the equation! You can register at
  5. Get more sleep vs. Pick one day per week to go to bed early or sleep in late.  We all want more sleep, but life is busy and things just seem to get in the way. However, we can significantly improve our mood and energy levels by getting extra sleep just one day a week. Also, making this goal specific and measurable will help you hold yourself accountable.
  6. Save money vs. Cancel one monthly subscription and put that money directly in savings. Memberships often go unused. This is a simple way to increase your monthly savings that will add up over the year. Financial literacy skills such as this are an integral part of economic mobility, a major pillar in Martha’s Table Strategic Plan. To learn more about Martha’s Table economic mobility program and upcoming events, email David, Deputy Chief of Programs at
  7. Volunteer more vs. Donate to one charity or attend one community event. This is a realistic, specific and measurable goal that will help you hold yourself accountable. Interested in volunteering at a Martha’s Table community event? Visit to sign up for volunteer opportunities.
  8. Stop overcommitting to plans/work vs. Saying “no” once per week. Saying “NO” is a gift you give to yourself, and you deserve gifts weekly, not just on holidays! Are you interested in talking to a counselor about setting healthy boundaries for yourself in 2022? Contact Sarina Sechrist at or 202-643-4016.
  9. Relax more vs. One night per week with no chores or plans. Spending one night during the week recharging will prevent the “end of week burnout” we often feel. Make your mental health the priority, not the dishes and laundry!
  10. Spend more time in your relationships vs. Alternate hosting/scheduling monthly get-togethers with family and friends. Balancing relationships can be overwhelming. Sharing the responsibility of planning and spending time as a group can help lighten the load, allowing you to fully enjoy the time shared with loved ones. Martha’s Table can help support this goal through our Family Engagement program. Visit to learn more about our family and parent initiatives.

Now that you have the ten alternative New Year’s resolutions  keep these four general tips in mind to ensure goal success.

  1. Avoid over-assessing progress and don’t have an all-or-nothing mindset; it’s not about each day; it’s about the pattern
  2. Don’t “wait till Monday to start over.” If you missed your goal this morning, try again this afternoon. The longer you wait to “start again,” the less likely you are to resume the goal
  3. If possible have an accountability partner, someone who will check in and motivate you, not judge you
  4. Remember goals should add to your life, not frustrate you!

To learn more about Martha’s Table emotional wellness program offerings, contact Sarina at or 202-643-4016

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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