Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Written By:Stacy Simon
smiling woman holding 5 pound hand weights

The New Year is a natural time to try for a new start and do things better.

Some of the most common – to lose weight, exercise more, and quit smoking – are healthy habits that can help you lower your cancer risk and benefit you for the rest of your life.

More than 40% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions, and almost half of them keep their resolutions for at least 6 months. Here are some tips and tools for making those resolutions and sticking to them.


  • Be specific about your exercise goal. For example, instead of resolving to just get more, make a plan to walk 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Think you don’t have time to add any physical activity to your day? Try simple substitutions, such as using stairs rather than an elevator, walking to visit co-workers instead of sending an email, and using a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV. Studies show that getting even just 15 more minutes of exercise a day can help you live longer.
  • Use the USDA’s free SuperTracker tools to help you set goals for managing your weight and getting enough physical activity.

Eat better

Quit smoking

  • Ask the American Cancer Society to help you quit smoking. Research shows that getting help increases your chances of success. Visit or call us at 1-800-227-2345 and we’ll help you get started.
  • Get an app for that. The National Cancer Institute has a quit-smoking app that allows users to set quit dates, track financial goals, schedule reminders, and more. 

Quitting smoking is the most important action you can take to reduce your cancer risk. Half of all smokers who keep smoking will end up eventually dying from a smoking-related illness. Additional important ways to lower your risk include getting to and maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The evidence for this is strong: Each year, more than 589,000 Americans die of cancer; about one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.

Learn more about adopting and keeping healthy habits at

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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