It’s that time of year, when the gyms are flooded, cigarette sales decline and the local dog shelter gets overwhelmed with potential volunteers. As the year nears its end, we begin reflecting on the past 12 months we are about to leave behind. And after having contemplated all of those things, we naturally start planning the creative and amazing goals we want to achieve in the new year to come.
Just in case you don’t know where to start, below is the top New Year’s resolution ideas. Some of them may be familiar and already jotted down on a piece of paper or even on your bucket list, while others may be exactly what you needed to make as a resolution but hadn’t come around to thinking about. Either way, you will find all these examples to be inspirational and meaningful, some will be challenging and others will even be fun.
The Best New Year’s Resolution Ideas: The Ultimate Goals List to Start the Year
What is a New Year’s Resolution?
When we speak of a New Year’s Resolution, we are talking about promises we make to ourselves for the brand new year. Things we want to achieve like saving money and losing weight, but often struggle to commit to doing. This is a tradition that supposedly traces back all the way to Ancient Rome, specifically having to do with Janus, a two-faced God that January was named after. Because one face was looking forward and the other back, the Romans took it as a symbol of one face representing the previous year and the other looking into the future year, thought to give forgiveness for previous year’s wrongdoings if the Romans achieved more in the year to follow.
1. ✧ Adopt a Pet
There are so many incredible benefits to adopting a pet. They’ll enrich your life in numerous ways, from helping you to destress, to getting you moving more, to giving you someone to nurture and add meaning to your life. Not to mention, pets are perhaps the best cure for loneliness. And in turn, you’ll give a loyal and an innocent animal a loving home they absolutely deserve – and there are so many pets out there just waiting to be adopted by YOU! You can start your search for your new friend at Petfinder.
2. ✦ Answer the 365 Thought Provoking Questions
Sometimes all you need to get to know yourself (or someone else) better is to ask the right questions. With the 365 Thought Provoking Questions there is one for every day of the year. They are designed to inspire self-discovery, empowerment and happiness.
3. ✦ Be a Mentor
By mentoring someone, you are not only offering them valuable insight and expertise into your industry, which is also the career path they’re interested in, but you’ll be there for them for emotional support, motivation and guidance. Though it may not sound appealing to everyone at first to spend your time and resources this way, you’ll certainly receive an amazing feeling out of helping someone out this intensively, as well as their eternal gratitude. And who knows, you just may be building a lifelong connection by mentoring someone.
4. ✦ Be an Organ Donor
Becoming an organ donor is an example of one of the most beautiful things you could do for someone and one of the most meaningful New Year’s resolution goals any of us could have. After all, it helps save lives! There are numerous organs you can donate while alive: one kidney, a portion of your liver, and even a lung, as well as a portion of your pancreas or intestine. Additionally, by registering as an organ donor, even after your own passing, you can still help someone who’s sick and in urgent need of a healthy organ which you may possess.
5. ✦ Be Happier
Unsurprisingly, this is an item that you can find on most people’s New Years Resolution idea lists. At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy, so of course it’s always at the top of our goals. However, as simple as it is, it can be simultaneously frustrating to get a grasp of. Healthline has some easy ways to get started on reaching this goal and the 5 habits of happy people will also help.
6. ✧ Be More Cultured
Although not as commonly listed down, being more cultured is something many of us also strive for. Whether it’s been a conscious effort or not up to this point, it’s an excellent resolution to write down on your list; it’s quite meaningful but also incredibly easy to achieve. Some ways to become more cultured is by watching more documentaries and classic movies, learning another language, exploring through the local museums, and, of course, travel, travel, travel!
7. ✧ Become More Decisive
Becoming more decisive is another incredibly great New Year’s Resolution to make when you think of your life for the long term. Most of us aren’t as decisive as we could be and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, sometimes the exact thing our life needs is for us to let go of our fears and make that firm decision to do something, no matter how risky it may sound. Success’s 11 genius tips to becoming more decisive will help to give you the power of deciding at the strike of the clock of midnight on NYE!
8. ✧ Carve Out “Me Time”
It’s so easy in this world where we’re always on our phones, doing long hours at work, and consistently have this or that social event to partake in, and so on to forget even thinking about making time for just me, myself & I. This is especially true, if you don’t live alone or have kids—sometimes you need to get creative! But although we are social animals, it is actually incredibly important for our happiness and wellbeing to sometimes make time for simply me and me alone. It can be something as simple as unplugging all your electronics for the day or it can be something a lot more extravagant like taking yourself on a solo spa weekend getaway.
9. ✧ Create a Financial Budget (& Stick to it!)
Aside from being happier, creating and sticking to your budget is usually at the top of New Year’s Resolution Ideas. Although there’s no need for us to live our lives 100% without small treats and impulse buys, there are definite benefits to having a specific financial budget. Some of these benefits are figuring out exactly where your money goes to, therefore helping you organize your spending so that saving money for the big things you want becomes more attainable, and it’ll also enable you to create a “safety net” of sorts for when a bad day or an unexpected big bill gets sent your way. Basically, by budgeting you’ll be able to stress over finances a lot less!
10. ✧ Develop a Daily Skincare Routine
If you’re yet to start with a daily skincare routine, now’s the time to start! Trust me, your skin will majorly thank you for it, and in turn you’ll thank yourself for having started. Figure out your skin type and then begin discovering products that’ll be the perfect treat for it. Sephora has a ton of top selling products, but some of the best brands to check out are La Mer, Farmacy Beauty and Drunk Elephant.
11. ✧ Do a Charity Walk/Run
Here’s another one for the New Year’s Resolution Ideas that you maybe haven’t ever thought to add to your list yet, but totally should do so now! Not only is it a great way to get active, but you’re helping out a good cause. You won’t have to do a lot of googling around to find a nice one to attend.
12. ✦ Do a Random Act of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are some of the most fulfilling and sweetest things you could ever do, especially when it is done for a complete stranger. Donate food, pay the bridge toll for the person behind you or feed someone’s parking meter—the possibilities are endless. If you have trouble thinking of ideas, read my post for plenty of options: 75 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas: Examples of Kind Things to Do.
13. ✦ Donate Books, Toys and/or Clothing
Christmas is all about giving, and giving a gift to a child in need is one of the most rewarding things to do this holiday—a heartwarming addition to your Christmas bucket list! Each year I typically collect toys at my Italian restaurant to donate to Toys for Tots, but there are many other places in need too. Try your local homeless shelter, children’s hospital or fire department. Plus, many shops and businesses will have Christmas Angel trees, where the ornaments hung are wishes from kids in need.
Don’t know what the hottest toys are this season? Here’s Amazon’s list of the Top 100 Toys.
14. ✦ Dream Bigger
Perhaps the simplest resolution to make is this, because technically it doesn’t require any tangible action from you, just a creative mind. By letting yourself dream bigger, you find yourself bringing more positivity and confidence in your life, thus drawing success towards you, as well. And why not dream big? We all have a right to be our happiest selves in this life!
Hint: a great way to dream bigger is by creating your bucket list! Need help? Read How to Make a Bucket List in 5 Easy Steps.
15. ✧ Drink Less Alcohol
This definitely seems like one that’s on almost everyone’s resolution lists? It’s such a classic; there are events and reasons where drinking alcohol is fine, but many of us probably find ourselves indulging in it just a tad bit more than need be. But I have faith that if you truly want to do this, and add it to your resolutions, you’ll be able to accomplish it!
16. ✦ Drink More Water
It’s surprising how many of us also struggle with drinking the adequate amount of water a day. You don’t need to entirely quit all the alcohol, soda, and coffee, but committing to drinking the generally suggested amount of water is an excellent ambition to take on. It won’t take you long to notice its positive effects, either.
17. ✦ Earn More Money
Usually the resolution people make is one that calls for saving money, but what if you turned this idea on its head a little and vouched to earn more money instead? You’d still end up with more money in your pocket, and that’s always a nice feeling. You may have to hustle for it, but you may also get to your goal simply by investing in some bonds or equivalent.
If you need ideas for how to make extra money, Entrepreneur has 50 lucrative ways to make money. Or do as I did and start a blog! Don’t know how? Read my article: Become a Blogger: How to Start a Successful Blog in 6 Easy Steps
18. ✧ End a Toxic Relationship
One of the biggest fears we all have is the fear of ending up alone. Sadly, because of that fear, we commit to and stay in relationships that do not serve us and may even be toxic – with friendships as well – simply because we’re scared we’ll never find anyone else. But how about this time we make a promise, a resolution, to ourselves to be brave and end that relationship and let life show us just how rewarding it is for those of us with bravery.
19. ✦ Explore a New Hobby
Picking up a new hobby, however fleeting or lasting, is a great way to challenge yourself. It’ll also bring along some additional positivity and may introduce you to new cool people, as well. Additionally, it may teach you new things about yourself and your abilities.
There’s dozens of different types of hobbies to test out: check out these our Hobbies Bucket List: The 100+ Most Popular Types to Try
20. ✦ Face a Fear
It can be facing your fear of flying or the fear of big groups, or it can be something entirely else. Whatever your fears are, choose one of them this year to face and hopefully get over. Yes, this is a scary one to complete, but you will immensely thank yourself for trying – and hopefully succeeding!
One of the best ways to get over your fear is to have someone special by your side to encourage and support you while you are facing it head on. So, hike up that mountain peak, go on that roller coaster or swim in the ocean.
21. ✧ Feed a Person in Need
Sadly, some people have been dealt a harder hand than others, and may have found themselves not knowing where their next meal will come from. Helping someone to get themselves completely out of trouble may be out of our reach, but offering even a little bit of ourselves to those less fortunate can go a long way to build their spirits.
22. ✧ Find Your Work/Life Balance
There’s no doubt about it that work is an important part of our life, as it is usually what pays for everything. However, for the sake of our happiness and wellbeing, it is important for there to be a balance – our work can’t be our whole life! Thus, if you feel as if too much of your life at the moment is spent at work or thinking about work, this would be an excellent resolution to commit yourself to.
23. ✧ Get a Complete Physical
When was the last time you got a physical exam, let alone went through a complete physical one? Exactly! So often we don’t fully acknowledge the physical state of our bodies if there are no obvious signs of illness or injury, but it’d be so much better if we had an actual document to prove that. Or, in case there is something we should know about, by getting a complete physical we may be fortunate enough to catch it early.
24. ✧ Get into Shape
By getting into shape, you’ll likely be increasing your body’s physical wellness state for years to come. And not only that, but it will do amazing things to your emotional wellbeing as well, plus it can help endure stress better! Getting into shape also doesn’t have to mean living off of salads and vigorous training; starting off with small and simple changes in what you eat plus finding some form of exercise – whether that be swimming, dancing or lifting weights – will take you a long way.
25. ✧ Get More Sleep
How many of us actually prioritize our eight hours of sleep? Most of us probably don’t, stating that we simply don’t have enough time for it, despite of the fact that sleep is crucial for our brain to function correctly. With more sleep in your schedule, you’ll be able to retain information and memories better, be able to focus better, feel and eat healthier, and even feel less stressed.
26. ✦ Get Organized
You can get as specific with this New Year’s Resolution as you want to. Maybe it’ll be something simple as that one messy room in your house or your work desk, maybe it’s a proper clean-up of your house, or maybe you’ll want to get organized with your life as a whole. Whatever it is you want to add organization to, you’ll feel much more free and less stressed once it’s in order.
27. ✦ Get Out of Debt
Though getting into debt in the first place isn’t at all a shameful thing to do, since it can pay for our education or a house or something else huge in our lives, getting out of it often becomes much more complicated. By aiming to get out of debt, you’ll eventually end up with more spendable income, a better credit score, less risk for any future debt you may have to get, and of course less stress.
28. ✦ Give Blood
Thanks to my fear of needles, my heart beat uncontrollably when I decided to give blood. But my mother, who had given blood many times before, convinced me that the feeling of saving lives would far outweigh the fear of that needle piercing my poor, unscathed arm. And she was right. A little pinch in the arm is worth knowing your blood donation can possibly save three lives!
Read about my experience: Giving Blood: What to Expect & 5 Benefits of Donating
29. ✧ Improve an Important Relationship
Whether it’s with your parents, your siblings, a different relative, a friend or a significant other, we all always have at least one important relationship that we could improve upon. Do something special together, but also simply remember to nurture it regularly. Lifehack has 25 hacks for how to improve upon any kind of relationship in your life.
30. ✧ Learn a New Language
You can learn a new skill at any age, so why not learn a language? It can be a fun and interactive experience for the whole family. Perhaps you can learn the language of a dream destination where you hope to go on a vacation someday? Dream big!
31. ✦ Learn a New Skill
You may have heard the saying “knowledge is power” and it’s absolutely true! Learning something new is an amazing way to challenge yourself and especially your brain, plus it can turn out to be surprisingly useful later in life. Think for a moment what type of skills you may secretly be desiring to learn – and then commit to learning one!
32. ✦ Learn to Cook
If you haven’t yet picked up cooking, now’s the high time. You don’t have to be a creative wizard in the kitchen to make some simple and delicious meals, and just the simple joy from having made your own dish will make it taste so much better than a ready-go meal you’d get from the store.
Here are a ton of dishes to start your culinary journey with! Or try one of mine:
- Best-Ever Homemade Beef & Mushroom Chili Recipe
- Recipe: Italian Sausage & Oven Roasted Eggplant Farro Risotto
33. ✦ Make a New Friend
Even if you already have a pretty great group of friends, you won’t exactly lose out on much by making another new friend. And especially if you’ve been feeling a little lonely and like some company would do good, a new friend just might be the cure for it. By making new friends, you open yourself to new adventures, learning new ways of thinking, and so many more joyous things. Not to mention you may have to get out of your comfort zone to meet new people in the first place!
34. ✧ Practice Patience
After all, patience is a virtue, and therefore also an invaluable skill to possess. It may perhaps even be the most important resolution on this list, as many of the other resolutions require you to have patience to be able to complete them.
35. ✧ Quit a Bad Habit
Maybe you eat junk food too much, smoke, bite your nails, drink excessively, procrastinate, never show up on time, and the list goes on. And maybe you recognize them as a bad habit you’d like to quit, but have struggled with committing to thus far in life. Jot down this resolution to your list, either as a general point or with the specific habit you hope to quit, and check Healthline for directions on how to make it reality.
36. ✦ Quit Negative Self Talk
Have you ever taken a pause to reflect on the way you address yourself? Do you confidently cheer yourself on or do you engage in negative tones? If it’s the latter, then now is the time to stop, because it can be detrimental to your mental health, goal setting capabilities, and so many more things. Challenging my negative thoughts was one of the main things that helped me to overcome anxiety and live my dreams.
37. ✦ Read More Books
While most of us enjoyed literature in our younger days, as we become adults post-studies, shockingly many of us seem to drop reading books altogether. However, whether you prefer fiction or fact, it’s time to make a change and start reading more books again. There are numerous benefits to this, only few of which are the facts that it’s amazing exercise for your brain, vocabulary and even conversation skills.
Amazon even has hundreds of free books to download to your Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? No problem, just download the Kindle app to your smartphone or tablet (you can even download my book on Amazon—shameless plus!). Like to flip the pages of a book? Hit up your local thrift store where you can typically pick up a paperback for under a dollar.
If you love the classics then check of the Classic Books Bucket List: 25 of the Best Must-Read Novels
38. ✦ Reduce Stress
Some stress is a normal part of life, but being stressed too often can lead to all sorts of physical diseases as well as emotional and mental problems. Thankfully, it is possible to reduce stress without having to drop the big things in your life cold turkey. I’ve already laid out a few resolutions here that’ll aid in reducing stress, but these 16 more stress relievers are some easy quick fixes in the moment.
39. ✦ Save a 3-Month Emergency Fund
This can be a tricky one to get started with if your income is currently at a level that doesn’t allow for much saving to begin with. But if you have any money that you can stand to put aside on a monthly basis, then saving up a 3-month emergency fund just might prove to be a life saver. It will be of serious help in situations where you have a sudden large expense or get laid off or something else similar, without having to dip into your other savings, investments, credit cards or take out loans and so on.
40. ✦ Send a Care Package to a Soldier
Far away from their homeland and loved ones, and out in the open, soldiers sacrifice so much for their country. By sending a soldier a care package, even if it’s someone you don’t personally know, you are showing them a great gesture of generosity, love and thanks. Also, this will be amazing in helping boost their wellbeing and morale while deployed and in duty.
41. ✧ Spend More Time in Nature
Many of us have probably at one point in our live said how we’re not nature people, as in people who love to spend time in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but nature for miles. And that’s fine; not all of us can love camping or hiking or the sort. However, there are many benefits to spending more time in nature, even by taking a simple walk through a forest, for our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
42. ✧ Start a Gratitude Journal
Over the years there have been many studies on the positive effects of having an attitude of gratitude. Studies suggest that people who practice gratitude have higher levels of positive emotions, a stronger immune system, feel less lonely, and have more happiness. Do you need more reasons that that?
Start each morning by listing five things you are grateful for. In the beginning it will probably be a struggle to come up with a mere five, being wrapped up in a world full of fear can disguise the good in your life. Think hard. Did you just drink a deliciously warm cup of coffee? Or did you connect with a friend by text? Or enjoy a heartwarming movie on television? There is always something to be grateful for—always.
Need help with coming up with things to be grateful for? Read the article Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today
43. ✧ Start Eating Healthier
You absolutely don’t need to drop treat, junk food and alcohol altogether if you don’t want to, but we’d all definitely benefit from eating at least a little bit healthier. Number one reason for why we vouch to start eating healthier is, of course, losing weight, but that’s not the sole reason why this is so beneficial to you. Eating healthier will also reduce the risk of numerous diseases, as well as improve your memory and overall mood, among many other benefits.
44. ✧ Stay Present
Staying present means simply that; you’re fully in this current moment, not dwelling in the past or dreaming of the future. This is otherwise also referred to as mindfulness, or staying mindful. One great life improvement that could come out of staying present is improved social skills and interpersonal relationships, because you’ll not only be paying better attention to whoever you’re interacting with, but you’ll also find yourself more confident, less stressed out and lower level of self-consciousness. Not convinced? Positive Psychology has even more reasons why you should stay present.
45. ✧ Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Easier said than done, but at the end of the day we hardly accomplish anything besides a sour mood and lack of confidence by comparing ourselves to others. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you spent that time and energy focusing on yourself instead! Tiny Buddha shared 13 things to do instead of comparing yourself to others that could help you reach this goal.
46. ✧ Stop Complaining
We all need those moments where we need to vent out the negative feelings, thoughts and memories of something that’s bothering us. Complaining rarely ever actually fixes anything, however–it simply ensures that bad mood you’re in persists. You’ll be surprised by how quickly your overall mood will improve once you start tackling down your complaining habits!
47. ✦ Stop Judging Others
Not everyone makes life decisions that we agree upon, and it may lead us to giving them some serious side eye, or even throwing a judging comment their way. But what if we spent the time we use to judge others on simply minding our own business instead? Perhaps you’ll feel lighter, more understanding, happier and even like yourself better.
48. ✦ Stop Procrastinating
Procrastinating is a habit a lot of us share with each other. It’s as if it simply comes naturally to us! But if we managed to stop procrastinating, we may actually accomplish more and in better quality, and be much more successful and happy in the long term. Here are some cool hacks to decreasing the amount of procrastinating you do.
49. ✧ Switch Up Your Daily Routine
You may have already cooked up a daily routine that absolutely kicks ass and therefore wonder why this is even among all the New Year goals. However, as surprising as it may sound, there’s always something positive that comes from breaking the status quo of your routine, even if it’s a productive and comfortable one. Your brain will love the challenge, you may even increase your productivity or comfortability in ways you didn’t realize were possible, and other positive effects. And hey, if it doesn’t work for some reason, you can always switch back!
50. ✦ Travel More
Perhaps you’ve dreamed of more travel in your life for years already, but haven’t made it happen yet? Maybe you haven’t even thought to travel much before? Well, now’s the time to change all of that! It’s guaranteed to decrease stress while increasing creativity, and it will definitely make you happy, both in the moment of travel and when you’re dreaming and planning the next trip.
Don’t know where to go? My Ultimate Travel Bucket List may be able to help.
51. ✦ Try Meditation
Here’s one way you can spice up your daily routine a little bit! It may take a moment of perseverance to get meditation plugged into your routine, but it’s not an activity that takes a lot of time or energy out of a day, although offers you a lot in return. Meditating will make you more grounded, mindful, peaceful, focused, and the list goes on and on. Zen Habits is one excellent tool to use when you’re starting out with meditation.
52. ✦ Turn Your Passion into a Side Hustle or Career
They say you never work a day in your life when your work is something you love and are passionate about (that’s how I feel about blogging about my bucket list!). It may be incredibly scary to take that step and start actually trying out to make a living off of your passion, but trust me, it is beyond worth it! Maybe you would like to test the waters by making a side hustle from it, and then, once you’re ready and convinced it’s possible, dive off the deep end and turn it into a flourishing career.
If you think that blogging might be a part of turning your passion into a career, then read my tips: Become a Blogger: How to Start a Successful Blog in 6 Easy Steps.
53. ✦ Unplug for a Week
Another surprisingly scary one for New Year’s Resolution Ideas is this one, especially when so many of us struggle to even unplug properly for a day. But our struggle with it is all the more reason why you should totally commit to having this as a resolution. You’ll be more present, you’ll find yourself comparing your life to others’ way less, you’ll likely be more relaxed without the constant buzz of the apps, and whichever other discoveries you may come across. It’s up to you whether you simply unplug from social media for the week, or if you’ll unplug from technology in general!
54. ✦ Volunteer
During every time of the year there are always people or pooches in need of some extra assistance. Spread some joy by helping in some way. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or bring happiness to a children’s hospital. Pick a cause close to your heart and spend the day giving. Find opportunities near you on the United Way or Volunteer Match website.
55. ✧ Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day
Especially if you strongly dislike exercising but want to get fitter, walking 10,000 steps every day is a decent replacement, at least to an extent. It’ll help you get healthier, maintain that health, and may also result in some weight loss. Completing 10,000 steps a day every day may not be a simple feat, however, so you may also find yourself facing a challenge of how to complete this resolution, which only makes it more worthwhile.
56. ✦ Write a Letter to Your Future Self
It’s up to you how you’ll write a letter to your future self, but the typical topics contain telling about your current life situation as well as your dreams and hopes for the future. It’ll be so much fun for you to open up the letter in the future, on a date of your choosing, and see how much you’ve changed and which of your dreams you’ve by then achieved. It may even work as a great reminder to get back to working on those dreams your younger self dared to dream.
Make your letter even more special by picking some pretty paper (like this Japanese Stationary) and handwriting it.
As corny as it may sound, at the strike of the clock at midnight, marking the change of the year, you’ve received a new, clean state in front of you. Although we may not be able to control everything that happens in our lives and the world around us, we ought to make the most of what we do have control over. Hopefully many of these New Year’s Resolution Ideas and examples resonated with you and you’ve come up with an amazing list of resolutions that you’re excited to start tackling come next year. Cheers to making the best of the upcoming 365 days!
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