January 1 rolls around every year, typically with streamers, silly glasses, champagne, and other celebratory artifacts. But it also brings with it the pressure to do something.
Do something differently. Do something better. Do something to keep your new year’s resolutions.
But between the ads convincing you to lose weight (we won’t be doing that here), and the TikTok trends trying to get you to create the perfect 50-step skincare routine, the reality is only about 9% of Americans actually keep their new year’s resolutions, according to researchers.
So, what if, instead of the unattainable, pressure-filled resolutions, you opted for some attainable goals that don’t make you question your worth as a human?
To keep things realistic, encouraging, and actually centered around self-care, we’ve got some ideas you can keep in mind for your new year’s resolutions.
The Best Realistic New Year’s Resolutions
Try new foods.
OK, maybe you already have a sophisticated palate, but if you’re a picky eater, or you want to try your hand at some new recipes this year, make it a goal to get adventurous with your meals.
Or, you can make some fun goals for yourself, like only eating produce that is in-season; using a meal or grocery-delivery service for a handful of meals a week; or getting crafty with pantry staples before ordering in.
Read more good news.
We’re never going to tell you to stop reading the news, but we are going to remind you to consume the news with intention. One way to do that is to balance your daily media diet with real, good news.
Be more present with your friends and family.
In what ways can you better show up for the people you love? Maybe you can break out the conversation cards every once in a while, take more breaks from work or chores to focus on the good memories, or even just pick a favorite show to watch every week with your crew.
Find a cause you care about — and really care about it.
There are a lot of problems in the world, and it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by how much you care about each of them.
But if you can find a cause — or a few causes — that you are most passionate about, we’re confident you’ll have a bit more energy to spare for volunteering, organizing, and change-making.
Find an issue that you feel connected to, find your community, and take action this year.
Schedule volunteer hours into your calendar.
Similarly to our social lives, we’re all probably guilty of promising to volunteer or show up for someone — and then not holding up our end of the bargain.
Before your year fills up with new appointments and commitments, find a day each month (or week — you can find a cadence that works for you!) to volunteer in your community.
Dedicate a set amount of your monthly income to donations or mutual aid funds.
When you go to sort out your monthly budget for the year, see what you can spare for others.
Whether you donate to a handful of nonprofits you care about, or you redistribute your funds toward mutual aid funds or individuals in your community, we challenge you to be a tiny bit more generous this year.
Move your body (in a fun way).
We’re talking about dance parties, people. We’re talking about listening to your body when it moans and groans about spending another hour on the couch watching TikToks.
If you’re a runner or cyclist already, great — you’ve got this taken care of. But if exercising feels like a chore, find some movement that doesn’t.
Take your dog for more walks. Do a Taylor Swift-themed “treadmill strut.” Grab a couple of dumbbells for your evening TV time. Play pickleball with a group of friends. It doesn’t have to suck; we promise!
Perform a random act of kindness every day.
Try to keep a journal (and be OK with failing).
Those of us who need to make journaling a new year’s resolution likely haven’t found a way to stick to the habit (I am one of you).
So, maybe the key is journaling with no strings attached. Do it when it feels right. Maybe try a guided journal or planner that gives you specific, engaging prompts. Alternatively, you could try craft-journaling or scrapbooking with funky supplies.
Give it a shot — and try to enjoy it instead of white-knuckling your way through.
Say a new positive affirmation every day.
This one only requires you, your mouth — and maybe a mirror.
Pick up a new hobby.
Beekeeping? Foraging? Snowshoeing? Knitting? No matter what you’re interested in, make this the year you took on a new hobby.
Read (or listen to) more books.
We’ve all seen our friends post their reading goals on social media; now it’s time to get in on the fun! Make your reading goal small and attainable and pick books that you’ll be excited to read.
Declutter your space.
The best motivator for taking care of the clutter in your space? The truth that cleaning or decluttering doesn’t make you a superior human, but that you deserve to have a space that serves you.
Make a self-care kit.
Create and share care packages with unhoused community members.
Getting the hang of these care packages? Make some to distribute to unhoused folks in your community!
This makes for a great project with kiddos or friend groups and is always easy to have on hand in your vehicle or backpack as you move around town.
Cut down on food waste.
Did you know that a third of the world’s food supply is wasted every year? It’s a lot bigger of a problem than the wilted bag of lettuce in your fridge.
To prevent food waste, you can do things like planning your meals, storing your food correctly, learning about mold and expiration dates, composting, and more.
Create a more efficient recycling system.
Even if you’re a recycling aficionado, there’s always room for improvement. This year, challenge yourself to be better at reading recycling labels, reusing materials, or repairing things that don’t need to go to the dump just yet.
Need a little help? We’ve got you! Check out our guide to The 5 R’s.
Use transportation other than your car at least one day a week.
There are tons of ways to move through the world without a car. One day a week, commit to an alternative mode of transportation, like carpooling, taking public transportation, walking, biking — or even skateboarding!
Incorporate plant-based foods into your weekly menu.
Whether you give Meatless Monday a go, or you swap some of your regular proteins with “impossible” or plant-based options, you’re committing to help save the planet.
Overwhelmed? We get it. Start with this handy, dandy vegan grocery list.
Drink more water.
Womp-womp. You knew it was coming.
Unless you’re chugging a gallon before noon, we all need more water. It’s just self-care, baby!
Follow social media influencers that have a positive impact on your life — not a negative one.
Social media can be a beautiful place — but it’s very easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole of not-so-beautiful things. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and feel inundated by ads.
A good solution? Making conscious choices about who you follow. Whether it’s animal shelters with cute and comedic animal content, LGBTQ+ creators who keep us educated, or even teachers on TikTok, you’re sure to find a digital community you love.
And unfollow, mute, or block people on social media who are no longer “sparking joy.”
Bonus: Unfollow any of those content creators or influencers that make you feel bad about yourself, your body, or what you’re doing with your life.
We’re big advocates of leaving your comfort zone and learning from diverse voices, but if you’re feeling more shame than encouragement, it’s probably time to go.
Improve your media literacy.
As much as we don’t care to admit it, we all need to be better at practicing our media literacy skills.
Whether you work to find more unbiased reporting in the news, read books from a wide range of authors, or think more critically about the content you consume, this is a great area of improvement we can all focus on in the new year.
Cut back on the doom-scrolling.
From climate anxiety to global crises, logging on to social media can induce a panic attack in mere minutes these days. It’s important to use these digital tools to stay informed and take action, but doing so at the expense of your well-being doesn’t actually help anyone.
Strike a balance between staying informed and doing your part without doom-scrolling. We promise: It’s possible.
See what energy efficient swaps you can make in your home or garden.
Switching to LED light bulbs, air-drying clothes, and electric lawn-mowers — oh my!
If you can afford to make some energy efficient changes in your home, yard, or garden, now’s your time.
Ditch the traditional lawn this year.
Speaking of lawns and gardens, it might be time to let the water-guzzling yard go. Consider making over your yard with an eco-friendly alternative, like wildflower meadows or rain gardens.
Plant some native pollinators.
Even if you don’t have a lawn or garden, you can still plant native pollinators to help support your local wildlife.
Send more thank-you cards.
Take note of awareness holidays — and celebrate them!
Of course, you’re already familiar with Black History Month or International Women’s Day, but think about other awareness holidays and heritage months that pop up throughout the year, and learn more about how you can celebrate them.
Go ahead and put them in your calendar now; we’ll wait here.
No matter if you need longer, deeper sleep; or you just want to incorporate more naps into your life, we’re all in favor of you resting more — and with more intention.
Plan your annual health screenings in advance.
This one is a doozy, but it’s one you’ll be glad you took care of. Do the “eat the frog” method, sit down with your phone and planner, and make all your scary appointments at the top of the year.
You can always reschedule them if something comes up, but you’ll be glad you took care of it.
Find a therapist.
If you’ve been thinking about seeking help for your mental health, now is a great time to find a therapist. We know it can be intimidating, but what better message to tell yourself at the beginning of the new year than one that says “you deserve to feel good?”
Audit your home and find places to make sustainable swaps.
Are you in desperate need of a new mattress but you want to make a thoughtful, eco-friendly purchase? We’ve been there.
While you certainly don’t need to run around your home replacing every item with something “more sustainable” off the bat, if you have some furniture or home goods that need an upgrade, look for where you can make a purchasing decision that feels more true to your values.
Here are a few recommendations for the best eco-friendly products for every room in the house.
Lean into dopamine dressing.
Dopamine dressing is the idea of curating your wardrobe to look and feel as good as it possibly can. That could look like lots of bright colors, or lots of soft, comfortable textures.
Now is a great time to consider what stays and goes when it comes to your closet.
Donate or upcycle old clothes and shoes.
Once you’ve had your final judgment of all the items in your closet, you can donate all the clothes, shoes, and accessories that are no longer serving you.
Listen to green noise.
We’re not telling you to do away with Olivia Rodrigo’s discography, but consider carving some time out of your day (say, before bed) to listen to some soothing sounds.
Green noise is a particular subset of white noise, and sounds similar to the sound of running water, or wind, which can be quite soothing, and does occur naturally outdoors.
Spend more time in nature.
Better yet, embrace the real thing and spend more time in nature! You don’t have to hit the slopes or take on any extreme adventures; all you have to do is enjoy the wonder of the world around you.
Plus, America’s national parks offer a number of fee-free days every year! Check them out — and add them to your calendar now.
Give more compliments.
Is there anything more affirming than an enthusiastic compliment? The world needs more of them. You can be part of that.
Light more candles.
Light more candles. Spend the gift card. Eat the fancy bread. This is simply a reminder to enjoy the little luxuries even more than you did last year.
Another womp-womp. We all know our skin needs more SPF protection. Lather up, y’all!
Do something creative — even if it isn’t pretty.
Art is a deeply therapeutic medium — just like music, dance, or cooking! How can you tap in your creativity without the pressure of perfection?
Do more of that.
Subscribe to newsletters that make your inbox more fun.
Trudging through your inbox every day has turned into one of the most painful experiences of the 21st century; we all know it.
So, level up! Subscribe to some newsletters that make life a little better, and open up some joy next time you have to answer to clients, coworkers, and the like.
Dedicate one day a week or month to picking up trash in your neighborhood.
Tuesdays for Trash is a youth-led global organization that started when a couple of friends started picking up trash around their community every Tuesday.
Take a page out of their book!
Call your parents more regularly.
Reaching adulthood usually means you’re busier and busier — and less likely to call up your parents and check in.
If you have a good relationship and feel comfortable, what’s stopping you from connecting with them more? If you need to, start by coming in with some fun conversation starters, or simply get into a weekly routine to call and check in.
Do a better job of appreciating teachers.
Whether you are still in school, or you have a child in school, we are almost certain your teachers aren’t appreciated enough.
Join a committee, offer your services, share some pick-me-up treats, or just go the extra mile to say thank you more regularly than you did last year.
Adopt a pet.
This is a major commitment, but if you’re ready to take the leap, maybe this is the year you adopt a dog or cat from your local shelter.
Stop working on time every day.
Another major commitment. If at all possible, when the clock strikes 5 p.m. (or whatever time of day you’re supposed to stop working), you should resolve to actually stop working at that time.
This is especially salient for our remote work crowd, who have probably gotten used to having very few work-life boundaries from the comfort of their home offices.
Quit or cut back on things that don’t make you feel good (like alcohol or smoking).
If you’ve been thinking about changing your habits as they relate to drinking and smoking, this is a great time to try it out! Why? Lots of other people are in the same boat as you, with trends like Dry January or resources like tobacco quit lines.
Shop from more local markets for your groceries.
Supporting local farmer’s markets is a great way to shop for your groceries in a way that is better for the planet, your local economy — and probably your wallet!
If you haven’t yet, consider this your sign to start composting. A great resource to get started is the book “Compost This Book” by Cassandra Marketos — which can actually be added to your compost heap when you’re done reading!
Shop more sustainably.
Shopping with sustainability and ethics in mind is a huge action item in our current reality. Your purchasing decisions have power — which you have the privilege to yield with great responsibility.
Shop from more women-owned businesses.
Still empowered from the “Barbie” movie in the summer of 2023? Continue to drive our women-led economy with shopping choices that prioritize women-owned businesses.
Shop from more Black-owned businesses.
Another community that needs your financial support? Black business owners! By stimulating economic activity in marginalized communities, your dollar makes your action go further.
Supporting small businesses is a great way to invest in your local community. Outside of all the fun artisan boutiques, look for local businesses like pharmacies, bookstores, coffee shops, and convenience stores to spend your dollars this year.
Thrift or rent all of your “new” clothes this year.
A fun (and definitely difficult) challenge for this year could be to thrift or rent any and all “new” clothes for the entire year.
Go plastic-free in at least one area in your life.
OK, it’s December 31, and you just finished a tube of toothpaste. Instead of buying another, what if you opted for some plastic-free toothpaste tabs instead?
Or… what if, after your plastic dish soap bottle oozes its last drop, you opt for a glass dispenser that can be refilled at your local refill station instead?
Pick at least one daily-use item or area in your life that can be made just a wee bit more sustainable. You can do this!
Visit new places.
As much as we’d love you to travel to far-away countries this year, we also know that traveling is expensive. What if you made a goal to just visit new places in general?
Try a new restaurant in your city. Stop into a museum exhibit you’ve never seen before. Take a different route on a walk or bike ride. How many new places can you find in your own city (or neighboring cities) this year?
Work on your budgeting and financial goals.
If you’re anything like me, the mere idea of a spreadsheet makes you want to cry. But you owe it to yourself to start the year on a strong foot.
Our best advice? Follow some financial planners that speak to your own experience and can help you stay motivated — like Berna Anat (who makes finance fun for BIPOC folks) or Ellyce Fulmore (who makes finance a little easier for neurodivergent peeps).
Get into a habit of de-influencing yourself from buying new things.
Deinfluencing might be an emerging trend online, but you still have to do a little bit of the work yourself — sorry!
Set yourself up for success by creating a list of questions or a small script to run through in your head every time you see a new “must-have” product online. Some examples include:
- Why do I want this? Am I trying to solve a problem I didn’t know I had until right now?
- Do I have anything else similar to this already?
- Can I wait to see if I still want this in a few weeks?
Switch to an Amazon alternative — or two, or three.
Amazon has a significant negative impact on the environment and has a history of treating its workers poorly — among other concerns. While we know it’s a really accessible and convenient platform, making intentional swaps when we can is a great step in the right direction!
Add one thing into your routine that makes your life a little easier.
Put your bills on auto-pay. Set aside some money to pay for a home-cleaning service every quarter. Get a basket for your nightstand clutter instead of trying to keep it neat and tidy all the time.
Whatever makes your life a wee bit easier without breaking the bank — do that.
Do more learning for fun.
While it’s always fun to read more books, “learning for fun” can also include things like going on vineyard tours to learn more about local agriculture, taking a painting class, learning a new language, and more.
Watch more documentaries.
Listen, if you’re turning on “Love Island,” we’re right there on the couch with you — and we already made the popcorn.
But if you’re getting tired of the same reality TV drama or want to get more engaged with certain topics, documentaries are a great way to go, too.
Watch more TED Talks.
We’re suckers for a good TED Talk. Learning from brilliant world leaders, authors, and researchers? There might not be a better way to spend your time.
Use your passions to do more good.
Whether you’re a “Harry Potter” fan leveraging your community to help LGBTQ+ youth, a quilter who wants to help tell other people’s stories, or a 3D printing enthusiast who wants to make toys more inclusive for kids, we need your unique perspective to make the world a better place.
What passions or skills can you use to improve lives this year?
Take more photos.
If you’re looking for someone to tell you to take less photos of your dog sleeping in that cute way, you won’t find it here. Take more photos of the things you love and want to remember — and if you’re feeling extra snazzy, you can even print them out and make a scrapbook, too.
Push yourself to be more active in local politics.
There’s always something going on at the federal level of politics, but state and municipal governments are usually where all the action is.
Show up to city council meetings, testify at your state legislature, and get to know your local representatives to make your community a better place.
Call your representatives so much that they know you on a first-name basis.
Getting involved in local politics means making your voice heard.
Whether you call, write, email, testify, or attend events like town halls, you should be proud to speak up so often that your representatives know who you are.
Do something to be a better ally for LGBTQ+ folks in your community.
Do your part to be a better neighbor and build community where you are.
Being a good neighbor is one of the most important ways to build a meaningful community right where you live.
Whether you go out on a limb and introduce yourself to your neighbors, share your resources, or start a club, you’re sure to connect with more humans and feel like a part of something bigger.