Science of Self ™ Knowledge Centre

100 New Years Resolutions - Ideas For Inspiration

Dec 11, 2019

Honestly, I think it’s fair to question the value of writing anything on this subject, but perhaps, like me, this is the first year you find yourself really thinking about and reflecting on New Year’s Resolutions. Am I an idiot for setting (or not setting) one? Does it really matter? What goals are most common?

So I did a little searching and asking and, well... there are a lot of strong opinions.

For some, resolutions represent brain-dead group think, goal-setting at its worst, and a great way to set up the new year for early failure. For others, they’re always a good idea, an opportunity to build self-awareness, the perfect time to make a change, and the marking of a fresh clean slate.

Love or loathe the popular annual tradition, one thing that is abundantly clear is the consistently high rate of failure.

According to commonly-cited online statistics (always a dependable source), of the approximately 40% of Americans who set a resolution, about 80% fail before the end of February. Only about 10% actually follow through and achieve their stated aim.

From what I can gather, the consensus as to why resolutions fail essentially boils down to 1) picking too many goals and 2) having goals that are too vague.

Popular resolutions include Losing Weight, Better Diet, New or Improved Relationships, Quitting Smoking, Drinking Less, Saving Money, Getting More Sleep, Helping Others, and Enjoying Life More.

The good news is that, for the average internet dweller who thinks they have next to no will power, you actually have stacks of amazing resources at the ready to beat the odds, including this clear and concise walkthrough from Psychology Today and this handy checklist from Britain’s National Health Service.

That said, it’s probably also wise to treat the area of goal-setting psychology broadly with an ounce or two of caution. For example, there’s evidence to suggest telling people about your goal will make you more likely to succeed, but then there’s people who say sharing your goal is a really bad idea. Social science… it’s not always exact.

Below are 100 ideas purely for inspiration — mostly common or popular resolutions but also a few unusual ones — just to get the creative juices flowing or perhaps spark something that you hadn’t considered, while keeping in mind that it’s not generally recommended to state your goal too broadly (i.e. almost every idea I’ve selected below). For example, a better version of “Lose Weight” would be something like "Lose 10 kg in 3 months” but of course the specifics in that instance will depend on your unique physical and psychological profile. Again, the web is filled with lots of useful step-by-step guides such as the two linked previously and it might also be worth incorporating a goal-setting framework such as the widespread and relatively flexible SMART Goal Setting Model.

100 Ideas

  1. Lose weight
  2. Build muscle
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Reduce alcohol
  5. Reduce sugar
  6. Reduce caffeine
  7. Detox or cleanse
  8. Eat healthier
  9. Try a new diet
  10. Try fasting
  11. Get a new job
  12. Ask for a promotion
  13. Freelance
  14. Start an online business
  15. Get out of debt
  16. Save 10% (or more) of your income
  17. Get organised
  18. Spend more time with family
  19. Reduce stress
  20. Enjoy life to the fullest
  21. Stop procrastinating
  22. Travel
  23. Meditate more often
  24. Have better sleep
  25. Take up a hobby
  26. Learn a new skill
  27. Improve cooking / cook more at home
  28. Learn a new language
  29. Go vegan for 1 week
  30. Spend less time on facebook / social media
  31. Less time on smartphone
  32. Quit looking at phone while in conversation
  33. Spend less time watching TV
  34. Hire a coach or therapist
  35. Redecorate the house
  36. Do something for charity
  37. Volunteer for a worthy cause
  38. Start a community project
  39. Join a local community group
  40. Join toastmasters
  41. Join a gym
  42. Create a home gym
  43. Get a personal trainer or take a group fitness class
  44. Run a half or full marathon
  45. Try an extreme sport
  46. Floss every day
  47. Volunteer
  48. Find a pen pal
  49. Improve a relationship
  50. Try internet dating
  51. Better sex
  52. More romantic
  53. Better dancer
  54. Read more
  55. Have a baby
  56. Focus more on appearance
  57. Focus less on appearance
  58. Improve concentration and mental skills
  59. Be more confident / take more chances
  60. Face your fears and insecurities
  61. Learn to be happier with what you have
  62. Be more grateful
  63. Adopt a pet
  64. See your doctor more often
  65. Learn more about art, music, culture, etc
  66. Learn to paint, draw, or sculpt
  67. Learn how to defend yourself
  68. Be more social
  69. Start journaling
  70. Stop trying to please everyone
  71. Less time thinking about the past / future
  72. Being kinder to self / stop putting yourself down
  73. Less negative thinking
  74. Reduce overthinking
  75. Curb perfectionism
  76. Become a morning person
  77. Better work/life balance
  78. Start a blog
  79. Beautify your workspace
  80. Clean your computer / desktop
  81. Clean out / update your wardrobe
  82. Take an online course
  83. Mentor someone
  84. Do nothing more often
  85. Create a budget
  86. Ask for help
  87. Limit news consumption
  88. Limit entertainment consumption
  89. Spend more time connecting
  90. Stop arguing with people online
  91. Create an emergency kit
  92. Make a “gratitude list”
  93. Unsubscribe from junk emails
  94. Skydive
  95. Go for a walk everyday / every other day
  96. Get a bike
  97. Be more polite
  98. Say “please" and "thank you" more often
  99. Donate blood
  100. Read 25 great books

For me personally, I haven’t set any resolutions yet, but my focus will likely be on my health and fitness, and spending less time online.

Hopefully you have enjoyed at least one of the posts I’ve shared on the blog this year. (This will be my last for 2018.)

Happy goal setting and I wish you a wonderful Christmas.

Topics: General Business

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."


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