50 New Year’s Resolutions: Start the Year Off Well! How-to Guide + Printable
You have found your ultimate guide to creating New Year’s Resolutions.
We’ve organized the top 50 New Year’s Resolutions – what they are, why they are important, and how you can effectively implement them into your life.
Think of this resource as your blueprint to kickstart the major areas of your life; a plan for the new year.
Table Of Contents
- New Year’s Resolutions Overview
- Social New Year’s Resolutions
- New Year’s Resolutions for Giving
- New Year’s Resolutions for Exercise
- Sleep New Year’s Resolutions
- Financial New Year’s Resolutions
- New Year’s Resolutions for Dieting
- Lifestyle New Year’s Resolutions
- New Year’s Resolutions Printable
New Year’s Resolutions Overview
There are seven primary categories your resolutions fall under – social, giving, exercise, sleep, financial, diet and lifestyle.
Within each primary category, you will find seven (the financial category has 8) subsets – your specific, action-based, resolutions.
In all, 50 New Year’s Resolutions.
Social New Year’s Resolutions
Up first are your resolutions for developing deeper connections socially and in your most important relationships.
1. Spend More Time with Family and Friends
There is a reason this resolution comes first.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” -Annie Dillard
The biggest indicator of what is most important to you is where your time is spent.
Why spending time with family and friends is important:
Children of parents who make time for quality time have higher self-esteem. Memories are made and connections are strengthened.
Especially if your relationships are strained or it’s more comfortable for you to bury your head in work, Netflix, your phone – you get the picture – you may need to get out of that comfort zone.
It sounds cliche, but twenty years from now, don’t feel regret over not making loved ones a priority.
How to spend time with family and friends:
- Put it on the calendar – if not, something else will fill that date
- Create routines – Sunday night dinners, game night, etc.
- Evaluate commitments – if you are overscheduled, cut back to make room for those you care about most
- Bond over boring stuff – especially with your immediate family, work through the laundry or nightly dishes together and consider it an opportunity to visit
- Really listen – you are communicating to your loved one that you care about what they think when you tune in and make eye contact
2. Limit Social Media
Our brains are naturally wired to seek out quick dopamine hits.
Unfortunately, those short-term spikes in feel-good brain chemicals – like when we click update on our Facebook feed – typically do nothing for our long-term health.
Why limiting social media is important:
If something in your life has proven to sour mood, generate stress and anxiety, increase depression and interrupt sleep, you’d want to get rid of it, right?
That would be social media.
Simply Google, “dangers of social media” and you will find scholarly articles and countless posts on the topic.
We’re not saying disconnect completely.
Limited, controlled use to catch up on how your Aunt Linda’s trip through Italy is going is probably healthy.
On the other hand, an hour-long scrolling session at 1:00 am, while you should be sleeping, is not in your best interest.
How to limit social media:
- Use an app – a number of applications exist to help track and limit your social media time
- Take vacations from social media – take complete breaks from time to time
- Silence your phone – every little beep is a distraction, put your phone on silent mode to avoid the endless notifications
- Unfollow – if an account doesn’t bring you joy and connectivity, click delete
- Let go of FOMO – fear of missing out is an ill-conceived concern, and someone’s “highlight reel” is not reality
- Pause before posting – before you post an update, ask yourself, “Is this something I want to share, representative of who I am, and will it generate positive interactions?”
3. Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
Days, weeks, months, and years go by, and before you know it, you can’t remember the last time you talked to your childhood friend.
Or, maybe you haven’t called your mom in a few weeks.
Why keeping in touch is important:
Loneliness is destructive to your health.
True connection, not the social media kind, is linked to a host of positive outcomes, like longer life, less disease, and overall happiness. (Source: Health and Human Services)
A strong social network makes life sweeter during good times and is crucial during difficult times.
How to keep in touch:
- Phone calls – reach out on a regular basis (weekly, monthly)
- Notecards – handwritten notecards on special occasions or just because
- Share a meal – whether it’s with family, friends, classmates, former colleagues
4. Sign Up for Something
Get out of the house and get involved with something that interests you.
You would be amazed at the variety of clubs, classes and organizations offered through most parks and recreation departments, churches, libraries, and the like.
Why signing up is important:
There is inherent value in learning something new.
In fact, the very act of trying a novel (and healthy) activity is good for you. (Source: Harvard Health)
Let your interests guide you, but don’t be afraid to step outside of your own wheelhouse.
Ideas of things to sign up for:
- Sports league – softball, bowling, basketball, racquetball
- Cooking class – technique, pastry, by cuisine
- Music – singing, choir, instrumental
- Writing – creative, journalistic
- Sewing – stitching, knitting, quilting
5. Assume Positive Intent
Assuming positive intent means, regardless of the situation, your foundational belief is that someone has good intentions.
Why assuming positive intent is important:
Picture a pair of boxing gloves sitting in your back pocket, ready to come out at any moment. Odds are, you’ll miss out on some opportunity and connection if you teach others you are always ready to fight, doubt, question.
Instead, if you give people – colleagues, friends, family, strangers – the benefit of the doubt, the door is open for a richer, more joyful experience.
That’s not to say you won’t encounter wolves along the way. Of course, you will. Of course, protect yourself. But, even in those circumstances, when someone has nefarious intentions, the hope is your example will inspire positive change.
How to keep positive intent:
- Listen – especially if you disagree with someone, keep an open mind
- Breathe – before you respond in a difficult conversation, take a moment to choose your words carefully
- Stoic – study the art of stoicism to hedge against feeling hurt personally
- Gratitude – be thankful for another’s thoughts and ideas
6. Get to Know Your Neighbors
30 years ago, we were much more likely to know and even spend time with our neighbors.
Today, roughly 30% of us know the majority of our neighbors. The percentages are even less than that if we’re single, childless, or divorced. (Source: Pew Research Center)
Why getting to know your neighbors is important:
For starters, there is safety in numbers. Your neighborhood is more secure if you know and look out for one another.
And, the social connection and sense of community promote overall well-being.
How to get to know your neighbors:
- Neighborhood watch group – organizations exist to help organize neighborhood information and look out for one another
- Get outside – you’re more likely to meet your neighbors if you’re in your yard than inside your house
- Plan a neighborhood event – garage sale, barbeque, street clean up
- Community garden – if space allows, plant a garden with your neighbors
- Acts of kindness – surprise your neighbor with a sweet treat or friendly gesture
7. Show Support to Loved Ones
Find ways to show your friends and family you care about them.
Why showing support is important:
Focusing your attention elsewhere, and not on yourself, is a form of selflessness.
Scientists even argue that selfless people are the happiest people.
Why? The act of supporting others ignites areas of the brain associated with feeling good – just like eating a piece of cake does.
How to show support:
- Empathy during difficulty – support during a hard time; phone calls, cards, flowers
- Encouragement during accomplishments – attend their special events, share in their rejoice
New Year’s Resolutions for Giving
New Year’s resolutions associated with giving are some of the best types of resolutions.
Your ability to give, whether it’s financially, with your time, or with your talents, is deeply connected to your personal welfare.
8. Donate Your Belongings
Especially after the holidays, when many a household is full of new and shiny gifts, we are filled with the urge to purge.
Why donating your belongings is important:
There are two primary reasons donating your stuff is important.
- There is value in a minimalistic approach to your household
- Someone else may appreciate having what you no longer need
How to donate your belongings:
Where and how you donate is dependent on what you have and where you’d like to see it go.
- Start with your community – check-in with your loved ones, local schools, your church, or your work to see if there are some needs you can fill
- Books – ask your local library
- Clothing – your local thrift store likely welcomes clothing donations
- Cars – depending on the condition of the vehicle, look to a car donation service or recycling option at the local junkyard
- Furniture – charitable organizations accept gently used furniture
- Computers – ask your local library if there is a need (erase hard drive, first)
9. Volunteer with Animals
Our furry friends could always use our time and compassion.
Why volunteering with animals is important:
Spending time with animals is incredibly good for you.
Animal companionship is associated with decreased rates of depression, lower blood pressure, and even lower cholesterol. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
How to volunteer with animals:
- Volunteer at a local shelter – most animal shelters have volunteer programs
- Travel – rescue organizations rely on volunteers to travel across the nation to save dogs and cats from shelters that kill
- Adopt – if it makes sense, consider bringing home a furry (or scaly) friend
- Foster – if you are unable to adopt, you can temporarily foster an animal or two while they wait for their forever home
10. Spend Time with the Elderly
Feelings of isolation and loneliness are prevalent amongst senior citizens.
Why spending time with the elderly is important:
Researchers call loneliness a public-health dilemma because it’s been found to shorten lifespan as much as smoking. (Source: Scientific American)
How to spend time with the elderly:
- Volunteer at a senior center – most local centers have volunteer programs
- Deliver meals – services exist to bring meals to those unable to cook for themselves
- Volunteer at a nursing home – bring your talents and compassion to a local nursing home or assisted living center
- Check on neighbors – an elderly neighbor may need help with a household project
11. Donate to a Food Bank
One of the best ways you can give back is through food donation.
Why donating to a food bank is important:
Hunger is a nationwide (and worldwide) epidemic.
“51% of all of all food programs rely entirely on volunteers.” –Feeding America
How to donate to a food bank:
- Hold a food drive – to grow your local food bank’s inventory
- Specific jobs – food banks often need volunteers for greeting, stocking, truck driving, front desk help
- Serve food – volunteer to be a server during a special function, like Thanksgiving
12. Give Financially
Just like how we spend our time, how we use our money communicates what is important to us.
Why giving financially is important:
If you have the means to help financially, and most of us do even if it’s just a little, by all means, do so.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.” -Anne Frank
Often, there is a cause near and dear to our hearts – cancer research, veterans, homelessness, church, animal rescue, child advocacy. Investigate what causes compel you to give and take action.
Important – always be cognizant of your budget when donating money.
How to give financially:
- Decide – countless charities exist – determine the one (or few) most important to you
- Research – be sure to do your homework to understand where each dollar goes when you give
- Routine – decide if you will donate weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, or possibly just once
- Revisit – regularly check in on the organizations you donate money to – to verify you still feel good about where your money is going
13. Join a Giving Circle
Especially if your budget doesn’t allow for significant financial donations, consider collaborating with like-minded individuals.
What is a giving circle? Individuals come together to pool their resources and determine where to donate their time and money.
Why a giving circle is important:
You can make your money go further by joining forces with others.
How to join a giving circle:
- Find a circle – take your time to find a reputable circle with a cause you believe in
- Stay involved – you are more likely to continue to give if you keep track of your circle’s accomplishments
14. Donate Your Talent
Perhaps the best way for you to give is through your skills and talents.
Why donating talent is important:
If you have a gift or skillset, whether it’s art, music, acting, athletics, cooking, medical, or even accounting, you can enrich the lives of others by sharing your expertise.
How to donate your talent:
- Art – donate your artwork to a charity
- Music – provide musical entertainment at a local senior center
- Acting – volunteer at your local community theater
- Coach – sign up to coach a local youth sports team
- Cook – offer to help with meal service at a soup kitchen
- Medical – donate your medical skills to a volunteer program either locally or globally
- Accounting – provide accounting services to a favorite charity
New Year’s Resolutions for Exercise
Getting fit is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions.
Sadly, it’s also one of the first resolutions to be broken. By mid-February, most of us are not making it to the gym regularly.
This year, take a different, more specific approach.
15. Keep a Routine
We are creatures of habit.
Why routine is important:
You’re much more likely to stick to an exercise program if it’s part of a regular routine in your life.
An established routine, which takes a month or so to acclimate to, will take the guessing work out of when you will exercise.
How to keep a routine:
- Determine the number of days – perhaps your routine will be M/W/F every week
- Decide on a time of day – we’re talking a specific time – like 5 am, noon, or 7 pm – and stick to it
- Set amount of time – commit to a certain period of time – 15 minutes, half an hour, an hour, whatever it is
16. Move More
A sedentary lifestyle is synonymous with the standard American lifestyle.
We can change that.
Why moving is important:
You will be happier. Simply moving is associated with alleviating symptoms of sadness and anxiety.
How to move more:
- Stand – practice standing more than sitting, especially if you are at a desk during workdays
- Take the stairs – you have heard this one before, but it’s a little thing that can make a big difference
- Walk your dog – if you have a furry friend, go for daily walks
- Park far away – don’t battle for the closest parking spot, find an open space in the back
Not only is flexibility a great personality trait, it’s important for your body, too.
Why stretching is important:
Stretching is an integral part of keeping your muscles and joints limber and healthy.
You will want to start slow, and possibly refer to an expert, to be sure you are helping – and not hurting – your body.
How to stretch:
- Consider yoga – an excellent way to increase overall flexibility
- Be patient – to notice improvement, stay committed to regularly stretching
- Focus on lower extremities – it’s usually best to first focus on hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and hip flexors
- Then move up – next, work stretching your back, shoulders, and neck
- Use caution – especially if you have an injury or chronic condition, refer to your physician for tips to stretch safely
18. Train for Something
A specific event is an excellent motivator to stay on track with your exercise goals.
Why training for something is important:
Knowing the “why” behind your activity gives motivation when sheer willpower gives out.
How to train for something:
- Sign up for a walk – local walks, like a 5k, happen year-round
- Sign up for a run – if you are so inclined, consider running an event instead of walking
- Think outside the box – train for something unique like a dancing, cycling, or hiking event
- Get intense – consider a challenging event like the Tough Mudder or Spartan Race
19. Lift Heavy Things
Usually called strength training, any time you work to develop lean muscle mass, you are doing your body a big favor.
Why lifting heavy things is important:
A lot of benefits come from lifting heavy things.
For example, you will increase your bone density, improve cognitive function, increase your metabolism, and decrease symptoms of chronic conditions, like arthritis. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
How to lift heavy things:
- Free weights – dumbells, kettlebells, and barbells
- Bodyweight – planks, squats, pushups, and pullups
- Machines – weight machines at your gym
- Bands – resistance bands
20. Monitor Your Progress
Tracking your efforts means you care about your hard work’s results.
Why monitoring your progress is important:
You are more likely to stay committed to your exercise goals when you are documenting your efforts.
In fact, only through monitoring can you see when you have reached or surpassed a fitness benchmark.
How to monitor your progress:
- App – download a fitness tracker onto your phone or watch
- Calendar – document your efforts
- Journal – fitness journals make room for reflection
- Accountability partner – peer pressure goes a long way
21. Stick to the Plan
Thoughtfully creating a plan – and adhering to it – is associated with successfully keeping exercise goals.
Why sticking to an exercise plan is important:
There is value in structure.
When you know what you’ll be doing for exercise each day, you prevent mental fog.
Further, if you’re careful about your planning, under or overtraining won’t be a problem.
How to stick to the plan:
- Short term and long term – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plans
- Adjust – be prepared to adjust your plan as needed
- Include reasons – within your plan, write down the “why”, like you want to keep up with your grandkids someday
- Types – add variety to your plan, including stretching, moving, and weight training
Sleep New Year’s Resolutions
Quality sleep is one of those non-negotiables if you are looking to be your best self.
Yet, shuteye is as elusive as bigfoot for many of us.
Here, one New Year’s resolution at a time, you can make some necessary changes to increase your odds of conquering good sleep.
22. Go to Bed at the Same Time
Be boring. Your body will thank you for going to bed around the same time every night.
Why bedtime is important:
Our bodies respond well to consistent bedtimes.
Routine bedtime is linked to falling asleep faster, staying asleep, and overall health – from happiness to cardiovascular protection and metabolic function.
How to keep a bedtime:
- Pick a bedtime – choose a realistic bedtime and consider setting an alarm on your phone for 30 minutes prior to allow time to get ready
- Pick a wakeup time – so that you can comfortably prepare for the day
- You may need adjustments – if your bedtime has been erratic, be patient with yourself and incrementally get on track
23. Get 7 – 9 Hours of Sleep Each Night
Your specific sleep requirements depend on your age, genetics, gender, and various physiological factors.
However, it’s likely you need at least seven hours each night. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Why 7-9 hours of sleep is important:
To start, adequate sleep every night reduces your risk of serious health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Further, sleep aids in appetite maintenance (you are not as likely to get weird hunger signals if you are well-rested).
How to get 7 – 9 hours of sleep:
- Set your alarm – be sure to be in bed about 8 hours before you need to wake up
- Avoid large meals – within a couple hours of bedtime
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – within a few hours of bedtime
- Be active during the day – physical activity during the day helps you sleep better at night
24. Make Your Bed Every Day
The small act of making your bed every day is associated with some big habits of success.
“If you want to make a difference in the world, start by making your bed.” -Admiral William H. McRaven
Why making your bed is important:
Those in the habit of making their bed every morning tend to have productive lives and lower levels of stress.
Why? Likely, it’s not the specific act of making your bed, but rather, the personality traits and behaviors associated with a person who chooses to make their bed.
Small accomplishments, first thing in the morning, can cascade into larger accomplishments throughout the day. Before you know it, you’re leading a healthier, tidier, more productive life.
How to consistently make your bed:
- Get comfortable with routine – lean into the habit of making your bed every day
- Keep your bed simple – be sure your sheets, comforter, and pillows are easy to straighten up
25. No Electronics in Bed
Resist the urge to bring your cell phone to bed with you. Your body will thank you for it.
On that note, it’s probably best to remove electronics from your room entirely.
Why keeping electronics away from your bed is important:
Light, especially blue light, is bad for sleep. Electronics emit blue light, which interferes with our circadian rhythm.
How to keep electronics away from your bed:
- Charge in the kitchen – charge your cellphone overnight in a central area of your home, like the kitchen
- Digital detox – at night, shut down electronics a couple hours before bed
- Blue light glasses – consider purchasing blue light blocking glasses for when you are using electronics
26. Keep Your Room Dark
Conduct an inventory of your room and eliminate sources of light.
Ideally, you want your room pitch black.
Why a dark room is important:
Exposure to even a small amount of light during sleep is linked to symptoms of depression, likely as a result of sleep disturbance. (Source: Time Magazine)
How to keep your room dark:
- Curtains and rods – hang black-out curtains on rods that cover your entire window
- No nightlights – unplug the nightlight
- Cover up – find other sources of light, like power lights on charging cords, clocks, fans, computers – and mask the light; perhaps with duct tape
27. Keep it Quiet
Even if you sleep like a rock, sound has the ability to disrupt your sleep cycle.
Why quietness is important:
It’s important to note that the type of sound disruption matters. We’re talking about quelling the abrasive, noisy kind that keeps your eyes open.
For example, snoring, television, sirens, pets, traffic, and neighborly noise are all examples of what can ruin a quiet room.
On the other hand, soothing white noise, like a fan, is likely beneficial.
How to keep it quiet:
- Noise-canceling earbuds – consider purchasing if they won’t bother you
- Turn off sound notifications – silence your computer and smartphone
- Don’t run appliances – washer/dryer, dishwasher
- Double-pane windows – reduces outside noise
- White-noise machine – if noise occurring is outside your control
28. Make Your Room a Sanctuary
Design your room around rest, relaxation, and sleeping.
Why a peaceful room is important:
You are more likely to sleep well in a peaceful environment than one with clutter.
How to make your room a sanctuary:
- No big clutter – no kids’ toys, TVs, computers, or other household items unrelated to rest
- No small clutter – cleanout under the bed, get rid of papers, and odds and ends
- Neutral and cool colors – look to whites, greys, tans, blues, and greens to decorate your room
- Watch the heat – we usually sleep better when the room temperature is between 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit (warmer for little ones)
Financial New Year’s Resolutions
No doubt, New Year’s resolutions about money are highly popular.
While financial resolutions typically don’t happen overnight, the best time to get started was yesterday. The second-best time to get started is now.
29. Conquer Debt
Likely, until you have this resolution complete, it will be more difficult to sleep well, eat right, exercise and give to others.
“US households are now sitting on a record $14 trillion in mortgages, credit cards, student loans and other forms of debt.” (Source: The Federal Reserve)
Why? The realities of living with debt are awful. Most of us have a hard time taking care of ourselves until that financial pressure is alleviated.
Why conquering debt is important:
Stress, depression, anxiety, resentment, fear – these are all emotions related to being in debt.
To be clear, not all debt is created equal. A small business loan is different than credit card debt that carries over each month.
However, the average American is carrying around the types of debts that cause an emotional state of angst.
Get that mountainous weight off your shoulders to think clearly and recapture the life you are intended to live.
How to conquer debt:
- Cut up the cards – get rid of those credit cards or your situation will never change; you must change your spending behavior
- Calculate – add up all of your debts
- Determine – how much money is currently available to pay debts
- Decide – your plan of attack; you may choose to pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first or pay off loans from smallest to largest balance (most prefer this – the snowball method)
- Stay the course – especially when you grow weary; keep paying towards those debts
- Don’t look back – fundamentally change your thoughts and behaviors towards money so that you don’t find yourself in debt again
30. Create a Budget
Budgeting is not sexy.
Especially when you are first getting started, the process is tedious and cumbersome. Yet, it’s a must-do.
Why a budget is important:
Until you understand your spending habits and where your money goes on a monthly basis, you won’t be able to have complete control of your finances.
And, it’s about more than just money. Budgeting is about taking ownership and responsibility – character traits that will carry over into all aspects of your life.
How to budget:
- App – manually tracking money on a spreadsheet usually creates more stress; instead, utilize budgeting technology through your bank or an app
- Allocate – assign each dollar a job and start with your basic requirements – food, shelter, utilities, transportation
- Analyze – track your spending habits and make healthy changes where necessary
- Autopilot – place your monthly bills on automatic payment because it will be one less thing to worry about each month
- Assess – regularly revisit your financial goals and income fluctuations to make changes to your budget accordingly
31. Create an Emergency Fund
Life happens. We must anticipate unplanned expenses.
Enter the emergency fund.
Without it, you’re going to find yourself dipping into savings, or worse yet, taking on debt, in order to fund bills you did not plan for.
Why an emergency fund is important:
It’s not a question of if – but when – you will need to pay for an unforeseen expense.
Be careful to only use your fund for true emergencies. For example, a vacation is not an emergency, but a trip to the emergency room, by its very name, is.
How to create an emergency fund:
- Savings account – place funds aside in an easily-accessible, preferably high-yield, savings account
- Start with $1,000 – everyone’s needs are different, but $1,000 is a reasonable starting point for an emergency fund
- Grow the fund – eventually, you will want up to a half-year of your monthly expenses saved up
- Monthly goals – within your budget, include a monthly amount you put towards your emergency savings until its properly funded
32. Buy Life Insurance
You probably need life insurance.
Why life insurance is important:
If someone depends on you financially, buying life insurance is the right thing to do.
Why? While it’s about as much fun to think about as fingernails on a chalkboard, you need to plan for the unthinkable.
Here’s some good news – life insurance is likely more affordable than you realize and no exam life insurance allows you to skip the physical exam and a heck of a lot of time.
How to buy life insurance:
- Conduct a needs analysis – determine how much money is needed to financially protect your loved ones: annual income, debts, years until retirement, future plans
- Quote – get a free quote from multiple carriers to understand your options and pricepoint
- Apply – with the best life insurance company to fit your needs with the help of an independent agent
- Underwriting process – often, just a phone interview if you apply for no exam coverage
- Policy issuance – if approved, your policy is issued
33. Monitor Your Credit Score
Regularly check your credit score to be sure things look as they should.
Why monitoring your credit score is important:
Credit scores are regarded by most as a measurement of financial health.
Your score helps banks and institutions decide whether or not to approve a credit application or loan, and what interest rate to charge you.
By regularly evaluating your score, you can consciously take steps to improve it.
In addition, monitoring your score is one of the best ways to catch identity theft early and stop it in its tracks.
How to monitor your credit score:
- Sign up – for credit monitoring through Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax
- Confirm – your personal information (name, address, employment) is accurate
- Evaluate – your reports to check for inconsistencies
34. Plan for Retirement
Regardless of your age, it’s never too early – or too late – to start thinking about retirement.
“Fewer than half of Americans have calculated how much they need to save for retirement.” -Employee Benefits Security Administration
Why planning for retirement is important:
Unless you would like to hold a job for your entire life, you need to have a plan in place.
How to plan for retirement:
- Start saving now – consider meeting with a financial planner to determine how much money you need for retirement
- Contribute to your employer’s plan – if you have one, contribute what you can to your 401k, or similar plan
- Open an Individual Retirement Account – called an IRA, these types of accounts provide a straightforward method to save money
- Know your Social Security options – generally pays about 40% of your annual income before retirement
35. Get a Will
If you care about your assets and whose hands they end up in, you need a will.
Thankfully, most can purchase an affordable will from the comfort of their homes.
Why securing a will is important:
If you die without a will, your state decides where your estate will go, under intestate succession law.
Most of us probably feel we would do a better job distributing our assets than our state would do.
Beyond asset distribution, wills also accomplish a number of important things: debt forgiveness, trusts for minors, guardians, and an executor of your estate.
How to get a will:
- Select a provider – templates exist online or meet with a lawyer if your estate is large or you need assistance
- Executor – choose an individual(s) to carry out the requests of your will, often a person’s lawyer or accountant
- List assets – bank accounts, real estate, insurance, vehicles, heirlooms, jewelry, etc.
- List debts – mortgage, loans, credit cards, etc.
- Determine beneficiaries – who will receive your estate
- Minor children – if you have young children, select a guardian who agrees to the role
36. Increase Your Income
One of the best ways to meet your financial goals faster is to bring home more money.
That and, of course, not buying things outside of your budget.
Why increasing income is important:
Extra income can be life-changing.
A raise at work or a side-hustle may provide enough funds to get rid of debt, take a vacation, fund your retirement, or save for a house.
How to increase your income:
- Know your worth – if you’re due, ask your employer for a raise or look for a job that is better suited for your talents
- Grow your business – if you are self-employed, consider developing a growth plan to meet your potential
- Side jobs – in your free time, make deliveries, drive for others, clean houses, detail cars, become a housesitter or petsitter
- Use your skills – teach music lessons, design art, teach a cooking course, write a book, become a personal trainer, teach a language
- Online side hustles – start a blog, sell on eBay, create an online course, design an app, or tutor
New Year’s Resolutions for Dieting
What, when, and how you eat, and just as important – what you don’t eat, teaches your body how to function.
Small incremental changes will add up to huge benefits physically and mentally.
37. Eat Less Sugar
Unsurprisingly, sugar is the number one additive to processed foods in the United States.
Why eating less sugar is important:
Americans, on average, consume over 42 teaspoons of sugar every day. (Source: Department of Health and Human Services)
However, most nutritionists will tell you that Americans should consume no more than 13 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis.
Further, food experts who lean towards a paleo or ketogenic diet recommend even less sugar.
Sugar consumption is directly related to spikes and falls in our blood-sugar levels, sending our pancreas into overdrive.
Studies have shown the more we maintain consistent blood-sugar levels, the healthier (and happier!) we are.
How to eat less sugar:
- Avoid processed foods – most prepackaged foods have a significant amount of sugar added to them
- Put down the sugary drinks – soda, fruit juice, and alcohol
- As a general rule, limit white stuff – bread, rice, and potatoes all eventually convert to sugar in your body
38. Eat More Fat
Decades ago, somewhere in the 1990s, the diet-trend was “non-fat” or “low-fat”.
The thinking was – eating fat makes you fat.
Thankfully, we have wised up.
Why eating fat is important:
First, fat is a primary source of energy. Our bodies need fat to function.
More still, healthy fats are associated with long-term health benefits, including mental functioning, coronary health, and weight maintenance.
Important – not all fat is created equal. If fat comes from nature – great. If fat comes from a factory, especially trans fat (trans-unsaturated fatty acid) – not great.
How to eat more fat:
- Incorporate fats – include healthy fats in your meals: nuts, oils, animal fats
- Keep it simple – focus on nature-inspired recipes
39. Drink Less Alcohol
As you know, alcohol impairs your brain’s ability to communicate by interrupting its pathways.
The dose makes the poison.
Committing to limiting or cutting out alcohol is an excellent New Year’s resolution.
Why drinking less is important:
You will significantly decrease your odds of developing a serious health condition by limiting your alcohol intake.
Specifically, your risk of heart disease, liver failure, pancreatic dysfunction, brain disease, and certain cancers are all lower if you avoid drinking too much. (Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)
Especially if alcohol abuse runs in your family, break that cycle of self-harm.
How to drink less:
- Abstain if necessary – because, for some, there is no such thing as “one drink”
- You are the company you keep – be careful to surround yourself with people with healthy habits
- Be conscientious of your habits – limit yourself to one or two drinks during social events
- Remember why – if you choose to drink less, remind yourself of the benefits – relationships and health
40. Drink More Water
The age-old advice of drinking at least 8 cups of water may have been debunked.
But, that doesn’t mean you should put down your hydro flask.
Rather, it’s a good idea to replace a soda, beer, and the like with plain old water.
Why drinking water is important:
Hydration is necessary for the human body.
Proper water intake is associated with normal blood pressure, body temperature regulation, cell function, digestion, and electrolyte balance.
Just how much water do we need? Experts now say, in general, about four to six cups per day for the general population.
Those with health conditions, like kidney disease, need to consult with their physician.
Important – depending on where you live, be sure to drink filtered water if your tap water is known to contain contaminants.
How to drink more water:
- Make it your go-to choice – opt for water over sugary drinks
- Keep it nearby – keep a bottle of water next to you
- Set a goal – and monitor your daily intake
- Make it fun – add some cucumber or lemon slices to your water
41. Eat Antioxidant-rich Food
Fortunately, the foods that contain the highest levels of antioxidants are some of the best-tasting foods.
Why antioxidant-rich food is important:
Think of antioxidants as warriors that protect your body’s cells against invaders, like free radicals.
Vitamins C and E, and carotenoids are examples of antioxidants. So are flavonoids, tannins, and phenols. They work to prevent cell damage, and theoretically, disease.
Note – antioxidant supplements have not been scientifically proven to have the same health benefits. So, eat the artichoke and put down the pill.
Important – be sure to be mindful of sugar content, especially concerning fruit and wine.
How to eat food rich in antioxidants:
- Vegetables – Artichokes, kale, bell peppers, broccoli
- Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
- Other fruits – Citrus fruits, stone fruits
- Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios
- Drinks – Coffee, black tea, red wine
42. Consider Fasting
Fasting, the act of forgoing some or all food for a period of time, is reaching headlines again. And, for good reason.
A robust collection of research demonstrates fasting lengthens lifespan and quality of life. (Source: National Institutes of Health)
Why fasting is important:
Specifically, intermittent fasting (IF), lowers insulin levels, increases metabolic function, and aids in weight control.
Going without for a set period of time might be an excellent New Year’s resolution for you.
How to implement intermittent fasting:
- Keep it simple – only eat during a specific window of the day, like 10 am to 6 pm
- Avoid snacking – allow your body to burn fuel between meals
- Nightime – especially avoid meals before bedtime
43. Make a Meal Plan
Preparation makes all the difference.
Why meal plans are important:
Before hunger strikes, know what you are going to eat. That way, you avoid making poor dietary choices.
Moreover, it’s budget-friendly. You will skip the last-minute takeout purchases when your dinners are planned.
How to meal plan:
- Use a template or calendar – a simple tool that is repeatable for each week or month
- Keep it simple – pick a healthy protein and vegetable as the core of each meal
- Family favorites – list your family’s go-to meals and pepper those throughout the plan
- Plan your shopping – organize your meal plan before you do the grocery shopping for the week or month
Lifestyle New Year’s Resolutions
Lifestyle New Year’s resolutions include habits and actions geared towards bettering yourself, and in return, becoming a better partner, friend, and relative.
44. Be on Time
Not only is promptness good for you, but it’s also showing that you respect another person’s time.
Why punctuality is important:
You teach others how to treat you based on your behaviors and actions.
If you are always on time, you let others know you are responsible, dependable, and pay attention to time management.
For some, there’s a thrill in waiting until the last minute, or a desire to avoid downtime. You can kick those feelings by developing new habits.
How to be on time:
- Count forward – to determine how long it will take you to arrive (drive time, traffic, etc.)
- Count backward – to determine how long it will take you to get ready (eat, shower, get dressed, etc.)
- Set your alarm – to keep yourself on schedule, set an alarm on your phone for perhaps 10 minutes before you need to be out the door
- Buffer time – add in extra time for traffic or other delays
- Arrive early – if you are not 10 minutes early, you’re late
45. Learn a New Skill
We have countless opportunities to learn, especially as we’ve entered the age of the Internet.
Get out of a rut and explore something new.
Why learning a new skill is important:
Your brain, specifically the myelin, grows stronger as you learn. Myelin coats the brain’s axons, and the stronger it is, the less of a chance you have of developing dementia.
What’s more, learning leads to more learning, like a domino effect. Happiness, curiosity, and social connection increase.
How to learn a new skill:
- Make a list – of things that interest you to narrow down where to start
- Be selective – avoid information overload and pick one or a couple of things at a time to learn about
- Research – the best way to learn the new skill: online, in a class, with an instructor, in a book, etc.
- Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable – learning something new feels uneasy at first
- Stick with it – once the newness wears off, stay the course to become adept at a new skill
Challenge yourself, maybe while you are limiting social media (resolution #2), to put down the phone and pick up a book.
Odds are, you will find richer, more rewarding content from a celebrated novel than you will from your Twitter feed.
Why reading is important:
Most of us have heard about the importance of books since visiting our school library during our elementary years.
It’s an easy habit to fall out of, but one you can fall in love with again.
Reading changes your life. How? Most importantly, it expands your mind by taking you out of your world and into countless other worlds.
Bill Gates reads 50 books per year. Reading also makes you smarter. Your analytical thinking, memory, vocabulary, and ability to focus all improve.
How to read more:
- Make time – carve out time each day to make reading a priority
- Keep it close – take your book with you in case you have an opportunity to read
- Turn off distractions – turn off the TV, podcast, or music
- Keep a running list – of books you’d like to read
- Library – save money by checking books out from the library
- Audiobooks – consider utilizing audiobooks if you drive a lot
Get excited about putting those thoughts and ideas onto paper.
Why journaling is important:
We have a lot to say.
Writing down your dreams, plans, pains, joys, and the like provides an opportunity for you to explore your thinking – and frees up space in your mind.
Depending on your personality, needs, and interests, journaling can provide all sorts of outcomes – emotional healing, goal accountability, creative outlet, an account of life events, or a space for gratitude.
How to journal:
- Explore different journal formats – bullet journaling, paragraph writing, illustrations, lists
- Keep a routine – try to journal at the same time each day, perhaps before bedtime or first thing in the morning
- Revisit – regularly reread previous journal posts to reflect
48. Practice Gratitude
The word, gratitude, has Latin roots and means, “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation and to return kindness”.
Why gratitude is important:
Gratitude profoundly reduces activity in the brain associated with stress, self-absorption and loneliness.
In other words, if you are grateful, you are less likely to be a “me-monster”.
By carefully directing your thoughts and expressing thankfulness, your immune system is stronger, you sleep better at night, and your happiness increases.
How to practice gratitude:
- Develop a routine – prayer, gratitude journaling, reflection, and communicating appreciation all cultivate thankfulness
- Be patient with yourself – developing strong habits of gratitude takes time
49. Take Care of Your Mental Health
40 million Americans, or 1 in 5, experience mental health difficulties each year. (Source: National Alliance of Mental Illness)
Depression and anxiety are the two most common forms of mental disorders.
As you know, your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health.
Fortunately, the stigma traditionally associated with mental illness is going by the wayside, and there are more resources than ever to get help.
Why mental health is important:
You have a responsibility to yourself – and those around you – to take good care of your mental health.
Without a healthy mind, relationships are strained, job stability is put at risk, finances are often compromised, and your physical health suffers, too.
How to take care of your mental health:
- Make mental health a priority – do not put mental distress on the back burner
- Know your options – your situation determines your best course of action: counselor (even over the phone), psychiatrist, or physician
- Know your worth – treat yourself kindly, with love and respect
- Stress management – develop skillsets to handle stress and strong emotions
- Avoid self-medication – alcohol and drug use tend to exacerbate mental distress
50. Quit It
Whatever it is, cut out that thing that is negatively affecting your life.
Why quitting is important:
Sometimes, our New Year’s resolution needs to be an elimination of something from our life, rather than adding a new behavior.
That thing you need to renounce might be holding you back.
The most prevalent things people quit are nicotine, over-eating, alcohol and drug use, unhealthy spending habits, and toxic relationships.
Experts will tell you that if there is something you fixate on, it has control over you.
To live a free life, let go of the behavior, the person, or the situation that is currently gripping you.
How to quit it:
- Put it in words – write down what you are quitting and why (use our printable)
- Seek support – whether it’s medical, social, professional, or familial, surround yourself with people interested in helping you stay on track
- Exercise perseverance – it can take months or years to quit something completely
New Year’s Resolutions Printable
Let’s have this be the year we conduct our lives with a clear vision.
Whether you plan to implement all 50 New Year’s resolutions, or just one, utilize this printable.
Tape it on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, in your office, or another central spot that you will see daily.
Each aspect of your life – social, giving, exercise, sleep, financial, diet, and lifestyle – can have a clear vision this year.