In my opinion, it's never too early to start thinking about New Year's resolution ideas for yourself. In fact, I set mine in November to start working out a few times a week again coming off of a knee injury. Specifically, I’m getting back into the swing of things at Physique 57—literally my favorite workout class ever/the only exercise I really like at the moment beyond twirling my fork around pasta. But let’s be honest: Everyone is different, and you don’t need to have the same 2019 goals as me.
New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be just activities, and they can range from the professional to the personal and everything in between. From helping others (giving back) to being kinder to yourself (practicing gratitude daily), there are so many possibilities to choose from. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 50 New Year’s resolution ideas to get you looking forward to 2019. Choose one—or more—and then get started.
1. Be more mindful of what you’re eating: We’re not saying that you need to cut certain foods out of your diet—that’s not necessarily a good end goal. It can be cutting down on sweets, loading your meals up with more veggies, or having a salad two days a week for lunch. Craft your own definition of “healthy.”
2. Do something just for you: For me, that was all about taking singing classes and getting over the fear of performing in front of others last year (I’m still not 100% there). When you feel like you have tons of commitments that aren’t always for you, carve out some time to try a new hobby or pick up an old one. It can be anything from cooking to drawing or even reading a good book.
3. Make new friends: It can be hard to make new friends when you get older, but there’s no reason you should ever stop. Join a group on Meetup, or become a member of a volunteer organization—others in these situations are often trying to meet new people, too, so it takes some of the pressure off.
4. Start budgeting—or continue to do so: Budgeting is not always the most fun thing to do, but at the end of the month when you don’t know where your cash has gone, you’re going to wish you’d kept up with it sooner. The trick is not to make your budget too stringent (I’ve done that and wasn’t able to stick to the plan). Instead, budget for social gatherings and incidentals (e.g., a locksmith visit, an unexpected meal out, new clothing).
5. Revamp your professional identity: Even if you’re not looking for a new job at the moment, it’s wise to prepare yourself for when a good posting catches your eye. Get a new headshot for LinkedIn, update your résumé, and start networking in your free time. When you’re not in a rush to do these things, you’re able to go over them with a fine-tooth comb.
6. Declutter your place: We’ve long talked about the benefits of a tidy space and our appreciation for Marie Kondo. Even if you’re just tackling a messy drawer or one closet a week, start getting your place in order. Seriously—a clean home is a happy home.
7. Learn how to cope with stress: Stress is one of those things that can lurk unnoticed for a while, and then it rears its ugly head and you’re in trouble. Instead of waiting for anxiety to show up to tackle it, learn which methods of reducing and managing your stress work best for you. Some people prefer meditation, others yoga, and some like having a support system to lean on.
8. Decide to be happy now: I’ve spent a good portion of my life saying “I’ll be happy when…” More recently, I’ve learned to focus on trying to be happier in the moment, even if that means acknowledging there are still other goals I want to attain.
9. Call your family more: Chances are you don’t live right down the street from your family. Make it a point to call those close to you, especially those that are older. It will completely make your grandparents’ or great-aunt’s day when you call them to catch up.
10. Stop having FOMO: When I first moved to New York, I thought that if I was home on a Saturday night, I was most definitely missing out on something. Now I’ve finally learned to realize that some nights I need to stay in and regroup for the week and that my glass of wine in bed (yes, I do that) is totally worth it.
11. Start prioritizing the people that matter most: Having a ton of acquaintances is great until you realize they won’t be there through thick and thin. Stop saying yes to doing everything, and reserve spending your free time with people you really care about (and who care about you, too).
12. Make more time for your relationship: Carve out a few extra date nights each month with your partner, even if you just end up staying in and hanging out together (it’s all about the quality time). If you want some fun date ideas that help you get closer, try out The Modern Love Box, a monthly subscription service for couples created by a relationship expert and her husband.
13. Begin giving back: Whether you decide to volunteer once a week or once a year, it still matters. Increase your charitable endeavors and realize that you’re not just making a positive impact—you’re being positively impacted, too.
14. Satisfy your wanderlust: If all we do is wait until we hit the lotto to go on a dream trip, we’ll never go anywhere. Pick a destination you’ve been dying to visit and make plans to go. Whether it’s a solo excursion, a girls’ trip, or a romantic getaway, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and with memories you’ll never forget.
15. Stay on top of your health: There are so many doctors’ appointments we should make that it can be overwhelming. Some to prioritize each year: your yearly physical, pap smear, dermatologist visit, and teeth cleanings. ZocDoc can not only help you book appointments but also sends you reminders to make one in the first place.
16. Get a side hustle: Whether it’s for extra cash or to spark some passion you don’t get at your day job, a side hustle can be a fun way to challenge yourself. At the very least, you’ll learn about balance and time management.
17. Take in more of the arts: Seek out fun exhibits near you, go see a play or the ballet, or listen to an orchestra perform. These types of events will help inspire a little creativity in you, too. Plus, there are tons of free events if you take the time to do a little digging.
18. Kick your social media habit: Too much social media can be a bad thing—especially when you start comparing your real life to someone’s seemingly picture-perfect online life. Take a step back from social media, whether it’s taking a day (or more) off or limiting how many times you check your apps.
19. Do the one thing you keep meaning to do: This can be anything that you’ve been putting off because you don’t want to or because you simply keep forgetting. Mine happens to be responding to a few emails I didn’t tend to fast enough (sigh).
20. Practice gratitude daily: Whether you say a few things you’re grateful for aloud each day, meditate on them in silence, or put them in a journal, this is a great new daily habit. It allows you to keep everything in perspective, which we can all use a little more of.
21. Do little acts of kindness: Buy the person behind you their coffee, or hold a door open (it doesn’t have to be something big). If everyone did more of these things, the world would be a better place.
22. Experiment with a new workout: Getting stuck in a rut can be the reason we stop making exercise a regular part of our lives. Seek out a new workout at the gym, or try a new class you’ve heard good things about on ClassPass. Worst-case scenario? You didn’t love it—but you still got your heart rate up.
23. Accept change: This is not an easy task, especially when you feel like everyone in your life is changing around you and you feel stagnant (by the way, that’s not true). Remember that change is what allows us to grow and become more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
24. Acknowledge important dates: Do you have a friend who just never misses a birthday or anniversary or even the start date of your new job? Start taking note of important days to people around you and acknowledge them with a sweet text, phone call, or even a handwritten note (everyone loves getting snail mail).
25. Drink more water: We’ve finally determined how much water you should technically be drinking each day, so you have a rough estimate. If you’re not a huge fan of plain H20, try some infused waters so you feel like you’re at the spa.
26. Become more productive: Having a few productive hours go a long way. The next time you have a task at hand, power off your phone and learn how to force yourself to hunker down and get something done. What makes you most productive is different for each person, but once you find your thing or things, you can get into a real groove.
27. Be kind to yourself: You are going to make mistakes and have bad days—it’s inevitable. But instead of feeling bad about it or making yourself feel worse, you need to treat yourself kindly. If I’m having a particularly bad day, I allow myself to go to bed earlier than normal, since a little sleep goes a long way and I can wake up refreshed to start the next day.
28. Dream bigger: Never stop dreaming and working toward big goals. In order to make them real, write them down in a journal or put them on sticky notes in a visible spot in your home. Or even better, share them with someone close to you so you can be held accountable in a good way. Now start making those dreams come true.
29. Start meditating: I know it seems a little ridiculous that this simple act could really give you inner calm, but it’s worked for me. If you’re always crunched for time, an app like Buddhify can totally help (it even lulls me to sleep when I’m up in the middle of the night).
31. Follow a skincare routine: You don’t just get glowing skin—it comes from years of taking proper care of it. Work with a dermatologist or skin expert to create your own personalized routine… and follow it. And hey, long days happen: Just keep makeup wipes on the counter so you don’t go to bed with a full face of makeup on.
32. Conquer a fear: Mine used to be singing in public. That’s what prompted me to take voice lessons last year (see above). And even though I’ll never be the next Mariah Carey, I can (sort of) hold a tune and won’t turn down invitations to karaoke night.
33. Have more compassion: Isn’t it true that we never really know what’s going on in someone’s life? Before you get mad at a friend for canceling plans or mutter under your breath when a stranger does something to annoy you, remember that it’s probably not really about you at all.
35. Make use of your commute time: Instead of letting this time go to waste, download podcasts and listen to them when you’re driving or catch up on some reading if you’re on public transportation. I’ve actually gone as far as to write a whole article with laptop in hand on the New York City subway, so no excuses.
36. Learn to make decisions: You know when someone asks you things like: “Where do you want to go to dinner?” or “What do you want to do today?” and you just say “I don’t know, what do you feel like?” Learn how to express yourself, and become more decisive—it will get you further in all of your relationships (including the one you have with yourself).
37. Be more playful: Channel your inner child and inject a little more fun into life. It can be something as simple as dancing around while you’re getting ready to go out or sending a friend a funny greeting card. Overall, playful people are more creative, which is a great quality to have.
38. Get moving: Don’t worry—this doesn’t have to be a workout class (which we mentioned above). Walk a few blocks rather than getting in the car or try to hit your daily goal of steps on your Fitbit. Moving is inherently good for your body and will make you feel better inside and out.
39. Sleep better (and more): It’s not just how long you sleep but also the quality of your rest. Vow to develop better sleep hygiene so the z’s you catch get you ready for the day ahead.
40. Give up a vice: We all have one thing we want to stop doing. Take the time to finally quit that bad habit for good.
41. Learn how to be alone: It's easy to be content when you have company, not so simple when you have to keep yourself company. Whether you're coupled up or alone, learn how to make yourself happy (and do things on your own, too).
42. Take care of something that's not yourself: Whether it's a pet or even a plant, it's a good idea to get into the habit of being dependable. Start small at first.
43. Get better at keeping in touch: It's inevitable that friends and loved ones move. Get used to setting up a regular phone or FaceTime date and plan visits so you’re not just pen pals.
44. Be okay just being: Become comfortable just being in the present moment as you are. It's a tough feeling to be okay with—but once you get used to it, you're golden.
45. Consider the haves, not just the have-nots: So often it’s about keeping up with the Jones’s. Switch your way of thinking so you’re able to acknowledge and appreciate all the things you do have, rather than just focusing on those that you don’t.
46. Learn patience: As they say, patience is a virtue and it’s definitely a skill you want to have up your sleeve. This isn’t going to happen overnight, so take the time to work on it.
47. Stop saying you’re sorry all the time: A lot of us have this habit of apologizing when something isn’t our fault. Learn to save the “I’m sorry” statements for when they’re necessary (and for when you mean it).
48. Be more optimistic: It’s not just what happens to you but how you handle it. Teach yourself to always see the light at the end of the tunnel.
49. Put yourself out there: Take a chance by applying for a high-level job or tell someone how you care without expecting anything in return. Live without fear.
50. Learn to love yourself. As you are, not for who you will be one day.
Looking for more New Year’s resolution ideas to add to your list? Here are 10 healthy habits to adopt this year.
This story was originally published on December 26, 2017, and has since been updated.