70 Truly Good New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2020

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Ultimate List of New Year’s Resolution Ideas

January 1st is right around the corner!

glasses toasting for new year's

It’s exciting and maybe a little bit scary, but it’s true – 2020 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 for 2020

As you’re looking through these ideas keep in mind:

  1. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  2. 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.

70 New Year’s Resolutions Ideas

girl in new year's party dress facing away


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!

We could all use a little more water in our daily lives. You can keep track of your water intake with an app, journal (free printable) or a marked water bottle.

2. Move more, sit less

Between desk jobs and long commutes, 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!).

So:

Make it a goal to start daily walks, bike rides or running. Just something to get you up and moving a little more often!

3. Make plans to explore & travel

Take camping trips, visit the next town over, or go to National Parks. There are 5 opportunities in 2020 to visit National Parks for free!

Whatever you do, just shake up your usual routine.

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.

After all:

You can never go wrong with charity work.

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.

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.

And: 

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.

Or:

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 get better sleep.

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 2020 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.

Plus:

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.

So:

Be sure to write down your goals and keep them somewhere where you’ll remember to do them. Like in a planner!

Related: The Best Planners for Students (11 Affordable Buys)

17. Set a monthly budget

The first step to taking control of your finances is evaluating where you are.

And:

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:  yoga, baking, DIY projects, meditation or art classes. The list goes on and on!

What’s something you’ve been wanting to try?

19. Take breaks more often

The Pomodoro technique is a productivity hack that really works.

Here’s how it works:

how the pomodoro technique works infographic
Source: inkley.us

20. Floss every day

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. 

Studies (1, 2) also suggest that breath control has other health benefits.

22. Ditch one bad habit

It could be nail-biting, smoking, eating out of boredom, 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!

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 – 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!

So:

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!

Of course:

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.

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.

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.

29. Clean out your inbox

Start the year right with a fresh email inbox!

Instead of just deleting emails you don’t read, unsubscribe to them. Now they won’t be clogging your inbox all the time.

30. Get rid of underutilized subscriptions

While you’re decluttering:

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.

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.

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:

Crafting cold brew coffee is surprisingly simple! I personally use this cold brew coffee maker, which makes it even easier.

But:

Don’t forget to treat yourself to a special coffee occasionally, too.

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 never wear?

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.

39. Try going Meatless on Mondays

Reduce your meat consumption a little and help the planet out.

40. Reduce your debt

Getting out of debt is a good New Year’s resolution, but that might not be possible. 

However, one thing you can certainly do is reduce your total debt.

41. Go to a local, live music concert

I think that:

New Year goals should be a mix of self-improvement and fun goals.

So have as much fun as you can this year! Drop-in on local shows and see what’s happening.

42. Swap soda or other sugary drinks for tea

Research has shown that sugar causes inflammation in the body.

So:

Cutting down your intake of sugar (and other mysterious ingredients) is sure to have a positive effect on your life.

43. Try a fitness class

Are you more motivated by group sports than solo ones?

Give water aerobics, 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.

That’s why:

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. Find a workout buddy

Workouts are better with friends!

Plus:

They can give you the little extra motivation needed to really push yourself at the gym.

50. Practice the “Do-It-Now” rule

Is procrastination something you struggle with?

Try this:

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 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 or going for a walk/hike.

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
  • band-aids
  • 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.

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. 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 in 2020.

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!

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.

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?

68. Put together an emergency kit

Try this easy-to-make 5-gallon bucket kit.

69. Balance your checkbook (debit account) daily

Don’t let your spending get out of hand and spoil your budget!

But:

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!


FAQ

The top 5 New Year’s resolutions in 2019 (according to a survey):

  • Exercise to get in shape (19.7%)
  • Diet to lose weight (18.3%)
  • Save money (14.8%)
  • Eat healthier in general (11.9%)
  • Something for personal care (5.5%)

Check out the infographic to see a breakdown by state.

popular new year's resolutions by state infographic
Source: Vitagene.com

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 is cited as the 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 shows that 54% of Americans did not make any New Year’s resolutions for 2018. And out of those who did, a whopping 61% 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.

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


girl smiling in a half spin

Final thoughts on ideas for New Year’s resolutions

So those are my ideas for good New Year’s resolutions to try in 2020. 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?

 

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New Year’s Resolutions List Infographic

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Truly Good New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 [Ideas List]

4 comments
  1. This is a great list. It’s the little things like clearing the inbox and cleaning out the closet that make a huge difference. Not to mention consistency on the bigger goals!

  2. It’s April 1, but it’s never too late to follow this list. My favorite is to try something new. I will do it ones a month to build more motivations.

  3. Really very good, and some good habits, good ideas I got after reading this. Very helpful and thank you for all the great ideas.

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