There seems to be two extremes when it comes to New Year’s resolution ideas: Those who think they’re pointless, and those who hang all their hopes and dreams on them. (And usually give up on them within days.)
I think somewhere in the middle is where the magic can happen.
Yes, personal development is something you can (and should) focus on any time of the year, not just New Year’s Day. But for many, the new year is a natural springboard for launching some new healthy habits.
So if Jan 1 is motivating you to make some positive changes, go ahead and take advantage!
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Making New Year Resolutions the Right Way
If you’re truly interested in your personal growth this year, there’s a right way to go about it. A lot of people make a ton of vague resolutions and give up after a couple weeks.
There’s a reason why the Daily Beast calls the first week of January the “Gympocolypse”. Everyone floods the gym to make good on their resolutions.
But it always thins out to pre-holiday levels by week three.
That’s because there needs to be a little strategy to turn your resolutions into achievable goals. So before we get into the best New Year’s resolution ideas, here are a few basic guidelines for making resolutions you’ll actually stick to:
Get clear on why you want to make a resolution
In a Google doc or with a pen and notepad, write down your New Year’s resolution ideas and why they’re important to you. If you can’t clearly define why you want to make a lifestyle change, it’s going to be really difficult not to fall off the wagon the first time it becomes inconvenient.
Some people find it help to keep their “why” written on a sticky note somewhere they will see it every day.
Understand that resolutions are about creating new habits
Unfortunately, simply declaring that you are going to change doesn’t facilitate improvement. Ongoing change can only be achieved through building new habits. There has to be commitment to a daily process.
To shift your mindset, view your resolutions as daily or weekly process instead of a vague goal.
Make them specific
Giving a value, number, or timeline to your resolutions provides a “finish line” or a way to measure how well you’re sticking to your resolution.
“I want to lose weight” is not specific enough. There is nothing to determine what succeeding at this resolution looks like.
“I want to lose 2 lbs a month until I’ve lost 20 lbs” is a better resolution. Now you have a monthly target that gives you a way to measure your progress.
Don’t have too many
The more resolutions you have, the easier it is to get overwhelmed and give up. Go ahead and brainstorm a list of New Year’s resolution ideas, but then choose one or two “big” resolutions that you want to focus your energy on.
You could also choose a few smaller ones that will take less effort to achieve.
Make them easy to follow through on
Once you’ve decided on your specific resolutions, you need to have a plan to stick to them. Write down what you need to do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis.
If what you’ll need to do to maintain your resolution seems overwhelming, you need to make them easier to follow through on.
For example, if your resolution is to start exercising when you’ve been completely sedentary for the past year, don’t plan on doing an hour at the gym, six days a week. Start with ten or fifteen minute sessions two or three times a week. (More on this specific resolution shortly!)
Get detailed about when you will act on your resolutions and make them a commitment by putting it on your calendar.
New Year’s Resolution Ideas
Maybe you want to make 2019 a better year but you’re not sure where to start. Here are seven New Year’s Resolution ideas that can help you make the coming New Year your best yet.
Of course, you can tweak these to whatever works best for you. The idea though is that they are highly doable and easy to follow through on.
Get up at least 15 Minutes earlier every day
This sounds silly, but you will be amazed at how life-changing an extra fifteen minutes in the morning can be. The key is the use this extra time for yourself. Spend it meditating, reading, exercising, or making yourself your favourite breakfast.
There is also the potential to build off this by adding an extra 10 or 15 minutes every month to establish an early morning routine over time.
Add one or two new, healthy foods to your daily diet
I like this idea better than limiting unhealthy foods, because it’s easier to add than to take away. Plus if you focus on getting certain healthy foods into your diet, you may naturally eat less of the “fun”, less healthy stuff.
Either way, at least your adding nutrients to your diet that your body needs.
Pay it forward once a month
Of all the New Year’s resolution ideas, I believe giving back to society is the best one you could ever make. Most of us want to give back to society and know it’s important, but life gets busy and we simply don’t think about it as much as we should.
But “giving back” is also a deeply personal thing that looks different for everyone. Over the weeks leading up to New Year’s Day, reflect on who you would like to help and how you can serve them.
They could be family and friends, but also consider strangers and people in need.
You could decide on a charity to give to once a month. Or, you could participate in random acts of kindness to strangers, such as paying the tab for the person behind you at the drive thru.
But giving back doesn’t have to involve money either. You help a friend move, or volunteering to improve the community.
Take a course
It’s important to never stop learning. Resolve to take a course that can either help you grow professionally, or something different that interests you. It doesn’t need to be an in-class course either.
There are tons of online courses for virtually any subject.
The great thing about online courses is that they’re often more affordable than in-class or community college courses, and they’re more likely to be self-paced so you can learn at the rate that’s comfortable for you.
I usually take one or two online courses a year to help grow my freelance writing biz. Two years ago I took Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing , the following year I took her Virtual Assistant course, and this year I took Carly Campbell’s Pinteresting Strategies course.
All three courses have done wonders for my online business!
Read one personal development book per month
I just started reading personal development books this past year, and I think everyone should! There seems to be a bit of a stigma around “self-help” books, but wanting to improve yourself is one of the best things you can do for your personal growth and self-care.
They can help you find motivation, see the world (or yourself) more positively, and learn new skills.
If reading is really not your thing, try an audiobook service like Audible so that you can get through books while you’re on the go!
Personal development books have really helped me grow as a person over the past year, and it’s the kind of positivity in your life that helps keep you excited about the future.
If you’re not sure which books to read, here is a list of my favourite releases from last year.
Start a side-hustle
In this day and age, I truly believe that everyone should invest in creating multiple streams of income. The work economy isn’t like it was years ago, and with more and more business being conducted on the internet, it’s easier than ever to get start a side-hustle.
And who couldn’t use an extra few hundred bucks every month?
Of all these New Year’s resolution ideas, this may sound like the biggest undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be.
I talk a lot about freelance writing on this blog, but there are countless other ways to make money online. If you’re crafty, you can start an etsy shop. If you’re an administrative wiz, you can become a virtual assistant.
Or maybe you have a great idea for a drop-shipping business. The opportunities are literally endless.
The great thing about side-hustles is they can grow into something bigger, or stay small if you want to keep it that way. Do some research on side-hustle opportunities and then give on a whirl!
Do 15 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week
I believe a healthy, active lifestyle is a major contributing factor to success in other areas of your life. I know it was in my case. Make exercise a priority in your life and good things will happen!
So why 15 minutes? Because if you’re not exercising at all, jumping into a rigorous exercise routine right away can be intimidating and you might get injured or discouraged if you try to start with too much.
Plus, everyone has time for 15 minutes, I don’t care how hectic your day is. If you can spend 15 minutes waiting in line at the grocery store, you can spend 15 minutes doing squats! (Although maybe not while you’re at the grocery store. I mean, you could. You might just get some funny looks!)
If your already going into the new year with an established exercise routine, then try adding 15 minutes more onto your workout sessions.
Although HIIT exercises will give you the biggest return on your time, any exercise you do in 15 minutes will have a positive impact on your life. Even if this manifests as a 15 minute walk around the block on your lunch hour, you will reap the rewards over time!
Personal growth comes down to you
Even if you found some New Year’s resolution ideas that you want to implement, remember that January 1st is just another day. You can use the New Year as motivation to make positive changes in your life, but at the end of the day, personal growth comes from your own self-discipline.
Fortunately, self-discipline can be developed just like any other skill. As long as you do your best and refuse to give up, you have the potential to make this year your best yet!
What are your New Year’s resolution ideas? Share in the comments!