The New Year stands before us like a fresh chapter in a book.
Once you’re done with your year-end reflection for the year that’s ending, it’s time to look forward to the year that’s about to start. What will you write for the next chapter of your life? It’s entirely up to you. Take the first step to make sure that it’s a great chapter by setting New Year’s resolutions.
You’ll find 29 ideas for your New Year’s resolutions, below.
- Start a Meditation Practice.
There are scientific studiesthat show the many benefits of meditating. To name just a few, meditating helps to improve your mood, it reduces stress, it lessens anxiety, and it even increases your brain’s grey matter — which is involved in muscle control, sensory perception, decision making, and self-control. In addition, once you get the hang of it, meditating is easy to do.
- Learn Something New Each Day.
Set the resolution to learn something new every day in order to have a better understanding of the world and how it works. Fortunately, the internet makes it incredibly easy to learn new things. Here are three sites you can try:
- Subscribe to Wikipedia’s Featured Article mailing list– you’ll receive an email each morning containing Wikipedia’s featured article for that day.
- Watch a CrashCourse video on YouTube.CrashCourse is an educational YouTube channel started by the Green brothers, Hank Green and John Green. Each video is about 15 minutes long and they cover subjects such as literature, biology, history, economics, and so on. The cherry on top is that the videos are fun to watch.
- Watch a TED Talk every morning while you eat breakfast.
- Pick Up a Hobby.
Did you know that having a hobby is good for you? Hobbies can lower your stress levels, boost your brain power, improve your ability to focus, and more. Therefore, in 2018, start a new hobby.
- Play More.
Play is an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults. In addition, it can make you more creative and productive. Bring more play into your life by making it a New Year’s resolution.
- Eat Fewer Calories.
There are many reasons why most of us should set a resolution of eating fewer calories. The most obvious reason is to lose weight. After all, carrying excess weight puts us at a greater risk of a whole range of serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
With all of the contradictory information out there on what to eat, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do when you want to lose weight. I try to keep things simple. When I want to lose weight, I just eat less. I recommend you do the same. If you gained weight in 2017, resolve to eat smaller portions in 2018.
In addition, as I wrote in my post 17 Ways to Slow Down Aging and Live Longer, people eating a restricted diet live longer and endure fewer age-related diseases. Try eating until you’re satisfied, instead of full. Also, eat more slowly to allow your body to send you cues about fullness.
Other reasons for eating less are ethical–that is, social justice, animal rights issues, and environmental concerns–but we won’t go into those here.
- Write a Business Plan.
Make 2018 the year you stop thinking about starting a business and you start taking action –it’s OK if it’s a small business on the side. The first step to take is to write a business plan. Once you get your ideas down on paper, you’ll be that much more motivated to turn those ideas into reality.
- Move More.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do: join a sports team; get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 steps a day; get up every 20 minutes and stretch; or join a dance class. Just move! Living a sedentary life dumbs you down, it makes it more likely that you’ll be overweight, and it puts you at a higher risk of depression.
Think of the following quote from the movie “Madagascar“: “Move it nice and sweet and sassy, alright!”
- Read More Books.
I’ll definitely be reading lots of books in 2018, and I encourage you to do the same. If you need some convincing on this one, here are 13 Ways Reading Will Improve Your Life. This year, I’m reading the 12 most important books of Russian literature.
In fact, I created a 365-Day project for reading Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”–which is a book of prodigious length (roughly 1300 pages long).
- Be More Grateful.
If you haven’t climbed aboard the gratitude bandwagon yet, this is the year to do it. There are studies that show that gratitude can make you 25% happier. Think about that for a second: you can be 25% happier simply by taking the time to count your blessings and think of all the good things in you life!
Being grateful will also help you to overcome adversity, improve the quality of your sleep, and allow you to get along better with others. For next year, resolve to be more grateful. Here are some gratitude exercises to get you started.
- Stop Procrastinating.
If you didn’t achieve your goals this year, procrastination was the likely culprit. Make 2018 the year you stop procrastinating and start getting things done. This will help you to ensure that you won’t be sitting there at the end of next year wondering why you never got around to working on your goals.
- Set Aside On-Hour-A-Day to Achieve Your Dreams.
Stop telling yourself that you simply don’t have the time to work on your dreams. Whatever your dreams are–whether it’s to make more money so you can redecorate your home, learn to play an instrument, have a positive impact on the world, and so on–you can accomplish those dreams in just one-hour-a-day.
If you devote one-hour-a-day to achieving your most important dream in 2018, by the end of the year you’ll have devoted 365 hours to that dream. Not bad!
- Spend More Time In Nature.
Humans were not made to be cooped up inside all day. Spending time in nature makes you happier, it boosts your immune system, and it even makes you more creative. Resolve that next year you’ll be spending more time outside (and just opening the windows more often doesn’t count).
- Start Doing Planks Every Day.
Doing plank exercises every day is a great way to strengthen your core. This article on Lifehack will show you how to do a plank, and it also includes an easy five-minute plank routine you can try. (Doing planks every day is on my list of resolutions for 2018, by the way.)
- Enjoy the Little Things.
Living life to the fullest doesn’t just mean setting big goals like going bungee jumping or learning to scuba dive. It also includes learning to enjoy the little things. That is, learning to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, such as the following:
- Going outside at night to look at the stars.
- Going to a pet shop to “ooh” and “aah” at the puppies and kittens.
- Walking barefoot in the grass.
- Become More Confident.
Confidence can be defined as your belief in your own abilities and in your capacity to get what you want. In turn, the importance of confidence cannot be overstated. Confident people are happier, more relaxed, more likely to take chances, and more likely to succeed.
Fortunately, there are ways to become more confident. These include giving yourself credit for what you do, cultivating your inner advocate, and taking consistent action toward the achievement of your goals. Make 2018 the year your confidence soars (but don’t get too cocky, because nobody likes that).
- Be More Conscientious.
In addition to being confident, you need to be conscientious. In fact, research shows that conscientiousness is the personality trait that is most often linked to success. You can start by being more punctual, becoming more organized, and being more thoughtful of others. Become more conscientious in the year that is to come.
- Increase Your Charisma.
Charisma isn’t just important in the political arena, but in all aspects of life. After all, let’s face it: charismatic people are more likely to get what they want. This includes everything from dates, to job promotions. Because charisma is a skill, and not a character trait, it can be learned. Make 2018 the year your charisma skyrockets.
- Increase Your IQ.
As I wrote in my post, How to Make Yourself Smarter In One-Hour-A-Day, new studies show that, contrary to popular belief, you can make yourself smarter. So, for 2018, why not set the resolution to raise your IQ? Enhancing your brain’s capacity to plan, reason, and solve problems is always a good thing.
- Increase Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
Daniel Goleman coined the term emotional intelligence in his 1996 bestselling book ,”Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”. In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is a set of skills, including control of one’s impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence in interpersonal relationships.
Set the resolution to increase your EQ, along with your IQ, and in 2018 you’ll be unstoppable.
- Learn a New Skill.
What have you always wanted to learn to do? Do you want to learn to play an instrument, code, knit, whittle? The possibilities are endless. Take advantage of all of the information that exists out there on how to learn new skills quickly and reach the end of 2018 with a couple of new skills under your belt.
- Bring More Peace Into Your Life.
I think I can safely say that we all want more peace in our lives. And by this I mean more inner peace, contentment, and serenity. Resolve to bring more peace into your life in the year that’s about to begin by accepting what is, practicing non-judgement, and teaching your mind to become still.
- Be Kinder to Yourself.
You may not be able to control how kind other people are to you, but you can always control how kind you are to yourself. This upcoming year, set the resolution to believe in yourself, respect yourself, and treat yourself well. As I wrote in my post, 17 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself, be a good companion to yourself.
In fact, take it even further. Make 2018 the year you fall in love with yourself.
- Create a Positive Attitude.
Having a positive attitude opens your mind to new possibilities, it makes you more resilient, and it can even help you to live longer. Greet the New Year with a smile and resolve to stay positive, no matter what happens.
- Strengthen Your Personal Relationship.
Don’t make all of your resolutions career or fitness oriented. Include that special someone in your life in your resolutions. In addition, let them know what you’ll be doing: “Hey, honey, guess what? We’re strengthening our relationship this year!”
- Tame Your Monkey Mind
Life isn’t easy when there’s a monkey in your head. Specially if that monkey won’t stop screeching and jumping uncontrollably from one branch to another (and eating all those bananas).
Make this the year you finally lasso that monkey and get it to sit still.
Journaling is a powerful life tool. It can help you to organize your thoughts, plan how to achieve your goals, and get in touch with your true feelings and wants. If you choose to add “Keep a Journal” to your New Year’s resolutions, here are two journaling techniques you can try.
- Get Your Documents In Order.
There are certain documents that every adult should have. This includes things such as a will, a durable power of attorney, and a letter of instruction. If your documents aren’t in order, make it a New Year’s Resolution to get them ready in the coming year.
Plan a vacation. The world is a beautiful place, and there are many things to see. Next year, visit a country you’ve always wanted to see. If you’re not sure how you would achieve a goal to travel in 2018, here’s what to do.
Set the resolution to do good for others in the upcoming year. After all, you won’t just be benefiting those you help; you’ll also be benefiting yourself. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose, make your life more meaningful, increase your self-esteem, and make you happier. In 2018, get a helper’s high by volunteering.
- Start a Blog.
A great way to start the New Year is by launching a blog. Register a domain name (it can be your name and last name, e.g. mattsmith.com) and pay for a year of hosting. This will allow you to do things like the following:
- Create a portfolio of your work which you can show to prospective employers or clients.
- Blog as a hobby (you can blog about anything that interests you, such as cooking, traveling, or video games).
- As a way to document a journey — a weight loss journey, a home renovation project, a journey to financial independence, and so on.
- You can monetize your blog and create additional sources of income.
A New Year is like a blank notebook. You get to write anything you want in it. Fill the first page of your notebook with your New Year’s resolutions. Use the 29 ideas above for inspiration. Live your best life by setting resolutions to make 2017 your best year ever.