New Year’s Resolutions Ideas: 70 Achievable Goals to Set for Yourself
Popular & Unique New Year’s Resolutions
January 1st is right around the corner!
It’s exciting and maybe a little bit scary, but it’s true – 2021 will be here soon.
Are you thinking about taking on a New Year’s resolution or two?
Cliché or not, deciding to be better is great!
To help you get started, I have a list of good New Year’s resolutions ideas.
As you’re looking through these ideas keep in mind:
- Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Progress isn’t linear.
I suggest starting small and focusing on one goal at a time. Because the best resolutions are the ones you can actually keep.
Table of Contents
70 Truly Good New Year’s Resolutions Ideas
1. Drink enough water
This may be one of the most common New Year’s resolution ideas…
But, that doesn’t make it a bad one!
2. Move more, sit less
Between desk jobs, long commutes, and stay-at-home orders, I think we’re all guilty of sitting too much. And it turns out that sitting is the new smoking (it’s terrible for your health!).
Make it a goal to start taking daily walks, going for bike rides, or even running. Just something to get you up and moving a little more often!
3. Make plans to take a mini adventure
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there’s quite a bit of uncertainty about the future. So setting a goal for big travel plans is still a bit far-fetched at this point.
But with the vaccine starting to be rolled out and predictions of a relative state of normal by late spring to early summer, a mini exploration could be pretty doable.
You might take a camping trip, visit the next town over, or explore some National Parks. There are 6 opportunities for you to visit National Parks for free in 2021!
Whatever you do, just shake up your usual routine and of course, stay safe.
4. Prioritize eco-friendly choices
Making a positive impact in the world might feel futile as an average person.
Little decisions add up as a whole, though. Voting with your wallet is an important step you can take towards being more eco-friendly.
5. Volunteer more often
There a lot of mores on this New Year’s resolutions list, huh?
Well, that’s because the goal of self-improvement is to enrich our lives, so we have to add MORE to it!
And volunteering time to help improve your community is a great way to give back.
You can never go wrong with charity work. And yes, there are still ways you can lend a helping hand during COVID-19.
6. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
The simple act of giving thanks has scientifically proven benefits.
Gratitude is a small perspective shift, but it can significantly change your life. Kickstart this personal goal with a gratitude journal like this.
7. Send handwritten letters
Older folks, like grandparents & aunts/uncles, LOVE getting snail mail.
Brighten a relative’s day and get in touch with your offline self by sending a few handwritten letters this upcoming year.
Did you know that there are services (like Handwrytten) that handwrite letters/cards for you?
Pretty neat to know if you’re ever running short on time or you just don’t love your own handwriting.
8. Spend 5 minutes a day cleaning
Cleaning just a few minutes each day will keep small messes from snowballing into a bigger problem.
Maybe some areas are already looking like a disaster zone. The 5-minute technique will make dealing with it feel more manageable.
9. Call mom/siblings/grandparents more
Be the one who makes the first move!
A phone call is always more personal than a text or email. And people close to you, such as your mom, really appreciate hearing from you.
It’s only because they love you sooooo much. ❤
10. Pick a time to wake up & stick to it!
It’ll be difficult at first with your warm, comfy bed calling to you. But in the long run, waking up at the same time will help you improve your sleep quality.
Which in turn, is great for your health!
11. Develop a skincare routine
Tire of never being able to predict when your skin is going to be irritated and when it’s going to be clear? Or maybe you just want to up your game?
Make this year the year you get serious about your skincare!
This guide is a great place to start. It’s super helpful for when you have no idea where to begin.
12. Live simply, consume less
You don’t have to go whole hog with a minimalist lifestyle, but try being a little more conscious of your spending decisions.
You’ll end up saving money and decreasing junk clutter in your life. Win-win!
13. Be consistent with meal times
New research has revealed that breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. In fact, it’s better to skip it altogether when it comes to weight loss.
If you want to give your metabolism a boost:
Develop regular eating patterns.
Several studies (1, 2, 3) have found evidence that irregular meal frequency is linked to negative consequences. Eating irregularly (i.e. snacking at random times) can send confusing signals to your body.
Consistency helps your digestive system know what to expect. Which in turn, helps it functions better.
14. Perfect one recipe
I’m sure you can make scrambled eggs. But can you make perfect scrambled eggs?
Pick a recipe you love and truly master it. Get familiar with it so that you can remember every step by heart.
15. Turn on music instead of the TV
I like having white noise in the background when I’m doing stuff. Music is a nice alternative to flipping on a show. To me, it’s more motivating and way less distracting.
There are always better things to be doing than watching TV!
16. Remember your goals and the big picture
It’d be a shame if all the New Year’s resolution planning you did went to waste.
Be sure to write down your goals and keep them somewhere where you’ll remember to do them. Like in a planner!
→ Related: The 5 Best Planners for Students
17. Set a monthly budget
The first step to taking control of your finances is evaluating where you are.
Reexamining your budget (at least monthly) is the key to long term budgeting success. Give it a shot with a free budget template.
18. Try something new
This idea is pretty open-ended:
You could try: puppy yoga, baking, DIY projects, meditation, tai chi, or art classes. The list goes on and on.
What’s something you’ve been wanting to try? It’s time to finally do it!
19. Take more frequent breaks
The Pomodoro technique is a productivity hack that really works.
This is how you use it:
20. Floss every day
For real. Your dentist (and teeth) will love you for it!
21. Practice intentional breathing
Intentional breathing is the quickest way to recalibrate the nervous system. It’s a simple but powerful tool for reducing stress.
22. Ditch one bad habit
It could be nail-biting, smoking, eating out of boredom, not flossing regularly, etc.
Just pick one bad habit that’s dragging you down and work on eliminating it from your life.
You can’t expect perfection overnight, but with consistency, you’re sure to achieve your goal.
23. Create a bedtime routine
This circles back to having a set time for waking up every day and it all ties into sleep hygiene.
As easy as it is to get sucked into playing with your phone all night, it’s been shown to have negative effects on your health.
24. Get in touch with your creative side
Paint, draw, read, dance, sculpt – do things that inspire you! Get back in touch with your creative side in the upcoming year.
25. Make time for self-care
Out of all of the New Year’s resolution ideas, this one should be a priority!
Do something nice for yourself once a week. It could be making time to read your favorite book, enjoying a long bath, or treating yourself to a manicure.
Pick something that recharges your batteries BIG time.
26. Embrace spontaneity
Challenge the idea of what kind of person you are. Be open to impromptu decisions!
You don’t have to say “yes”, to every spur of the moment opportunity. But do try to go with the flow when you can and see how you feel.
27. Go Skydiving
…because, why not do it at least once?
Life is short and it’s not as expensive as you may think! Prices start around $120 and it’s something you can still do during the pandemic.
28. Use to-do lists
Start making use of to-do lists on the daily and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.
Supercharge your productivity with this cute weekly planner printable!
29. Clean out your inbox
Start the year right with a fresh, clutter-free email inbox.
Instead of just deleting emails you NEVER read, unsubscribe to them. Now they won’t be clogging your inbox all the time.
30. Get rid of underutilized subscriptions
While you’re in decluttering mode:
You might as well take a look at your subscriptions. Evaluate which ones you get the most use out of and which ones can go on the chopping block.
You could even start rotating them, maybe you want to binge Netflix shows this month and HBO the next.
31. Take a 24-hour break from social media every month
You know it’s good for you, you just have to make yourself do it.
Need a little motivation? Check out a film called The Social Dilemma.
32. Complete a no-spend month
A no-spend month is a real test for your self-control. It’s a great way to “reset” your relationship with money, too.
33. Slow down while eating and savor each bite
Live in the moment, live in the now!
As a bonus:
Slow eaters are 42% less likely to be overweight or obese. Food for thought (bad pun intended).
34. Take time to appreciate your accomplishments
A lot of modern-day life is go, go, go. Once one thing is finished, it’s on to the next.
Break the status quo and take a little time to appreciate yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back next time you finish a task because you did good!
35. Make coffee at home more often to save money
It turns out that:
Don’t forget to treat yourself to a special coffee occasionally, too.
Okay so maybe this goal isn’t too hard to accomplish with the current events. But maybe there’s another indulgence you want to cut back on?
36. Start a dream journal
I think that dreams are SO interesting. The details fade almost immediately, though.
Use a dream journal to capture the weird and wacky recesses of your mind. It’ll be so fun to read the entries later!
37. Clean out your closet
Seriously! How much clothing do you have hanging up in there that you can’t remember the last time you wore?
Take some time this year to go through your belongs and declutter your life.
What you end up not keeping you can donate or even sell for some cash.
38. Work on creating a more balanced life
Striving for more balance in your life is an excellent goal.
Think about how much time you dedicate to work, play, relaxation, and other aspects of your life. Where does the scale look unbalanced?
39. Try going Meatless on Mondays
Reduce your meat consumption a little and help the planet out.
If you haven’t tried them yet, the plant-based alternatives are actually really tasty. I myself, am particular fond of the Awesome Burger brand.
40. Reduce your debt
Getting out of debt is a good New Year’s resolution, but that might not be entirely possible.
However, one thing you can certainly do is work on reducing your total debt.
41. Make a new friend
After a long year of quarantining, we’re all craving more social interaction.
See if you can branch out, meet someone new, and form a long-lasting connection. You can try Bumble for friends or search for local interest groups in your area through MeetUp – many have gone online for regular gatherings.
42. Swap soda or other sugary drinks for tea
Research has shown that sugar causes inflammation in the body.
Cutting down your intake of sugar (and other mysterious ingredients) is sure to have a positive effect on your life.
43. Try an online fitness class
Are you more motivated by group sports than solo ones?
Give at-home spinning, Pilates, hip-hop, or belly dancing a try to get your sweat on!
44. Learn a new language
If you have aspirations to travel the world someday, learning a new language will be super useful.
There are even free apps (like Duolingo) that can teach you.
45. Do a little act of kindness weekly
A little kindness goes a long way. ❤
Some small acts of kindness ideas:
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
- Pay for an expired parking meter
- Pick up a piece of trash on the ground
46. Keep a notepad next to your bed for ideas that come to you at night
I always feel like my best ideas come to me at night.
So this year I plan to keep a pen and some paper on my nightstand. I’m not letting those good ideas get away anymore.
47. Start your morning with a stretching routine
You’re not getting any younger, and you’re gonna want to preserve the mobility you have now for as long as possible.
Adding a stretching routine to your day is in your best interest. I like to do mine in the morning, but really any time of day will work.
48. Go through your music library
Audit your music library and rediscover songs you forgot about. And clear out the songs you can’t stand anymore because you listened to them way too many times.
49. Be more involved with local government
When you think politics, the national election is probably the first thing that comes to mind.
However, casting your vote for president is far from the only way you can be involved as a citizen. In fact, being informed and active regarding local and state government is one of the most powerful ways you can influence real change.
50. Practice the “Do-It-Now” rule
Is procrastination something you struggle with?
If something will take you 10 minutes or less to accomplish – take care of it right away. The next time you encounter a small task, think “do it now”.
51. Keep a jar of things you are grateful for during the year
I love this New Year’s resolution idea!
It’ll be nice to pull out your gratitude jar during Thanksgiving and reflect on the year.
52. Check out your local farmers/flea market
Get out into your local community with a mask and see what it’s got to offer.
Adding locally grown fruits and veggies to your plate is sure to give you the warm fuzzies inside. For more than one reason!
53. Record 1 second of your life every day
Record 1 second everyday for an epic movie of your life.
54. Double the time you spend outside
Did you know that 42% of Americans are vitamin D deficit?
You can up your own vitamin D just by spending 20-30 minutes a day in direct sunlight. It’s as simple as walking your dog, going for a walk/hike, or lying on a blanket in the grass to soak up some rays.
55. Wear sunscreen daily, even when it’s cloudy!
Since you’ll be spending more time outside it’s important to protect your skin.
Because it turns out that:
Clouds don’t filter out UV rays, and you’re actually more at risk for skin damage on cloudy days.
56. Put a kit of essentials in your car
With the California wildfires in mind…
It’s never a bad idea to have a bag of essentials in your car, in case you need to leave NOW.
Think things like:
- Jumper cables
- non-perishable snacks
- a spare phone charger
- a blanket
- sunscreen, etc.
57. Deep clean your keyboard
Keyboards can be really nasty under the keys.
Be sure to give yours a deep cleaning to get out all of the crumbs (and other things) stuck inside there.
And if it’s been a while, I’m sure you’ll be amazed (and disgusted) by what you find.
58. Organize your photos
Organizing your photos is another great idea on this list of New Year’s resolutions.
It’ll only make locating your favorite memories easier.
Delete duplicate pictures, and put them into folders! Make them quick to search for and easier to share with your loved ones.
59. Delete unused apps on your phone
Spring clean and organize everything in your life!
Getting rid of unused apps will probably help your phone run a little smoother, too.
60. Put your phone away an hour before bed
Creating better sleeping habits is a process.
Electronics can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm. You can opt for reading a book instead of scrolling through social media before bed.
61. Watch a few documentaries
Documentaries are a great way to learn new information while being entertained.
Expand your horizons by watching a few documentaries and see what you learn.
62. Start a recipe box or journal
Save all your favorites so you never have to wonder what you should make for dinner.
It’ll also be nice to pass along to your kids in the future, too!
63. Complete one money-saving challenge
Personal growth is all about challenging yourself. So why not take on the challenge of saving money?
Sacrifice a little and watch your savings grow! Find tons of money-saving challenges here.
64. Send thank-you cards
The Dollar Store is a great place to buy cards of any kind. I think it’s more fun to choose ones that don’t match the occasion.
65. Work on lowering your daily sugar intake
Sugar is in EVERYTHING these days.
And the scary part is sugar causes inflammation in your body. Track how much sugar you consume in a typical day – you might be surprised by the total.
Slowly swap processed food for whole foods and watch your daily sugar intake drop.
66. Read at least one book each month
Now is the perfect time to start working on your to-read list that’s been collecting dust for too long.
There are too many good books out there to not be a reader.
67. Get an annual checkup
When was the last time you went to the doctor? Prevention really is the best medicine.
68. Put together an emergency kit
Try this easy-to-make 5-gallon bucket kit.
Who knows, you might just discover a new interest in survivalism.
69. Balance your checkbook (debit account) daily
Being cooped up at home many of us have turned to online shopping for entertainment. But don’t let your spending get out of hand and spoil your budget!
It’s easy to stay on track when there’s an app right on your phone.
I’ve been using Wismo because it’s simple and I like that. The daily reminders are pretty helpful for my forgetful self, too.
70. Start habit tracking
You could keep track of your eating habits by writing it down or using an app like MyFitnessPal. But habit tracking is more than just calorie counting.
It’s a great idea to use a habit tracker for any good habit you want to develop. Tracking helps you stick with it in the long run!
What are the most popular resolutions?
According to YouGov, these were the top new year’s resolutions in 2020:
- Exercise more (50%)
- Save money (49%)
- Eat more healthily (43%)
- Lose weight (37%)
- Reduce stress (34%)
Check out the infographic below for more popular goals.
Are new year’s resolutions effective?
Resolutions for the new year are more effective than commonly believed.
But 80% of resolutions fail by February, right? John Norcross’ research was the original source of this information. And he calls the statistic, “nonsense.”
The psychology professor has found that by June, 40% of people haven’t given up on their goals.
Data from a Statista survey stuck to all, most, or some of their New Year’s resolutions.
Why do new year’s resolutions fail?
Resolutions often fail is because they aren’t specific enough.
For instance, “eating healthier” is a vague goal. It doesn’t address how you’re going to eat healthier.
“Eat a salad 5 days a week and drink no more than 2 sodas per month” is a specific goal. New Year’s resolutions stand a much better chance when you make them SMART goals.
Video: how to set SMART goals
Final thoughts on ideas for new year’s resolutions
So those are my ideas for good New Year’s resolutions to try in 2021. A new year represents 364 new opportunities to make a change for the better.
Take it one day at a time and don’t be too hard on yourself. Every step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Do you have any more good ideas I should add to this list?
- The Best Free Printables for Your Bullet Journal
- 81+ Fun Summer Bucket List Ideas for College Students
- 47 Perfectly Sunny Ideas for a Box Full of Sunshine