In The Hays Daily News on Jan. 12, there was an article by Daniel Neman titled “Now it’s time for salads.” If you just read the title, you might think, “Oh, no,” it is that time of year I have to diet again. But as you read the article you change your mind and realize salads are good year round. I want to quote a few lines from the story.

“Well, that was fun while it lasted. The cakes, the cookies, the candy canes and champagne — they’re all increasingly fleeting memories. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.

“Now it’s time for salads.

“Don’t groan. Salads are great, even if you haven’t made a weight-loss resolution. They’re good for you, they’re delicious and they can contain almost any combination of ingredients in creative ways.”

On Jan. 3, Alison Ashton had an article printed in the Parade magazine. She wrote, “With the new year comes resolutions to live better and healthier. Half of us make them, and losing weight often tops our list of lofty goals. But many of us are undone by everyday temptations that derail our best intentions to eat right, work out and take better care of ourselves. Giving into temptation is a real slippery slope.”

“Whatever your resolution is for 2016, let others know. The more you vocalize it, the more powerful you become. It helps keep you accountable.”

Have you made resolutions for 2016 that are too ambitious or unattainable? One way to avoid this is to set small goals at first then extend them to bigger goals. Another is to be committed to changing your lifestyle even though you are most likely trying to overcome what’s been a habit for many years.

How do we keep the resolutions we made for 2016? How do we break free from the temptations around us? One way might be to stay away from the things that tempt us to cave in. That can be difficult because we live or work with others who are not struggling with the issue(s) we’re attempting to overcome.

We know the appeal of certain foods, such as consuming sweets, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Plopping down on the couch for hours and doing nothing sounds nice but it’s not really a healthy habit. That’s why we need a plan to change, a course of action to follow to avoid our former way of life.

Let’s be realistic and change our goal from dieting to eating healthy and cutting back on portions, begin walking or doing other less strenuous exercises and be committed to a new lifestyle. In no time, you will feel better, probably look better, and most likely you’ll have a new outlook in life.

If weight loss was not a 2016 resolution, perhaps it was to quit drinking or quit smoking. These goals can be achieved, but I realize addiction to these habits is tough to break. Perhaps you might consider cutting back on the alcohol and limit the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Try this for awhile, then reduce both again until it’s no longer a habit. Avoid going places where you are tempted to drink and smoke with friends.

Other ideas would be to change things up a bit and meet your friends for a cup of coffee or tea at a local restaurant instead of meeting them at the bar. Take up chewing gum instead of reaching for the cigarette or alcoholic beverage. There’s an expression, “Double your pleasure, double your fun, and chew Double Mint gum.” I don’t know if that works, but it might be worth a try. If nothing else, it might satisfy your sweet tooth.

We all miss the mark on occasion but it’s possible to overcome bad habits. Seek counsel in a self-help book or a therapy group. Try over-the-counter drugs to boost your will to achieve. You might need a support group whose aim is to help you succeed. Another suggestion is to have buddies to encourage you through this challenging time of change. Put their phone numbers on speed dial. This could be important to your success.

Let’s not make excuses if we fail on occasion by saying I can’t do it. Instead, continue to strive to achieve your goals and realize these difficult times are just bumps in the road to success. Don’t be a slave to destructive habits. Ask God daily to help you through the challenges as you strive to overcome whatever is holding you back from your potential. This can work if you stick to it. Let’s begin today to have a blessed new year.

Alberta Klaus is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.