10 Manageable (and Free) New Years Resolutions

Updated: Jan 8, 2019

With the new year upon us, everyone is looking for a fresh start. And what better way to set a goal than with a new year’s resolution?

According to Forbes, only 8% of people of people achieve their New Year’s Resolution. Last year, I was one of those people. This year, I want everyone else to join that elite group so I’m sharing a few tips that got me where I am.

One fatal flaw many people make when choosing a resolution is biting off more than they can chew. As much as many of us would love “new year, new me” to be true, we are still the same people! Rather than trying to overhaul your life from day one, try to pick a more manageable resolution to improve your life on a smaller scale. Don’t change, just evolve.

As wonderful as it would be for 2019 to be the year where you go to the gym every day, only eat vegetables, and never even think about dessert, those goals are unlikely for most of us. Trying to make a huge leap from where you are to where you want to be can leave you feeling lost, depressed, and even worse off than when you started. (There’s a reason Blue Monday is always in January). It’s easier to pick a small goal to use as a stepping stone to get closer to your big picture.

To get you started, I’ve put together a list of 10 easy-to-implement (and free) resolutions you can stick to all year!

This was my 2018 resolution. I wanted my life to be more organized and less stressful (don’t we all?). Rather than setting a broad goal like “be more organized”, I set a specific goal that I could measure my progress on. Am I more organized as a result of this resolution? Probably. Am I more on time? Definitely.

a few tips to implement:

  • Be more realistic about your commitments. Will you really be at work at 6:30AM for that client meeting on Monday?

  • Value other people’s time. Before leaving home, I used to get caught up on small things like perfecting my cat eye or changing my shoes one last time. Now when I do this, I picture the other person whose time I’m potentially wasting by making these selfish changes.

  • Be early to be on time. Leave yourself more time than you need in between activities. Better to arrive early and be able to mess around on your phone than to be stuck in traffic and stressed out.

This is my 2019 resolution. I get so caught up in trying to make a good first impression when introducing myself that I absolutely blank on the other person’s name. This can leave me in a tight spot later on in both professional and personal situations, so I’d love to improve.

a few tips to implement:

  • Actively listen to their name. This small effort could have saved me so much grief in 2018.

  • Come up with a mnemonic device. Try to remember their name with a memory device. “Greg is wearing Green”

  • Work their name into conversation. Instead of saying “oh that’s a good point”, say “oh that’s a good point, Martha”. This helps you to remember the name and I love when people do things like this. It makes me feel more embedded in the conversation.

This was my 2016 resolution. It didn’t go very well so it was also my 2017 resolution… It happens to the best of us. Washing your face (and taking your makeup off for the ladies) can be a daunting task when you are already in bed and comfy, but it’s so necessary to let your skin breathe and rejuvenate.

a few tips to implement:

  • Wash your face when you brush your teeth at night. I used to brush my teeth shortly after dinner, but would often want to leave my makeup on later. Now, even if I’m comfy in bed, I know TWO things have to get me up.

  • Get a skincare routine you’re excited about. 2018 introduced me to Oil Cleansing (definitely going to be a future blog post). I love the way my skin feels now and I am excited to keep it feeling nice.

  • Keep makeup wipes at your bedside as a last resort. Even if you can’t convince yourself to get up and wash your face, you HAVE to take off the sunscreen, foundation, or whatever else you have going on.

Be CAREFUL with this resolution. I left it this broad so it can be easily customized, but do not adopt it as-is. Choose a hobby and run with it. If you want a healthy hobby, pick Zumba. If you don’t like it, switch later on. But don’t spend the first 6 weeks of this year choosing a hobby and not getting started.

a few tips to implement:

  • Choose something and MAKE IT the right decision. Should you learn to knit or learn to sew? Which one is the right decision for you? CHOOSE ONE and MAKE IT the right decision. Time spent agonizing over details is time you could be using to gain skill.

  • Choose something that you actually like, not something you “should” like.

A lot of people approach a new year and want to try a new diet. Whether to lose weight or to eat more veggies, Meatless Monday can be a great option. It works exactly how it sounds, just don’t eat meat once a week! (And no, it doesn’t have to be a Monday)

a few tips to implement:

  • Meatless doesn’t mean boring. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and many people thought I existed on bland lettuce and air. There are plenty of options out there! Don’t stay boring because you think you have to.

  • Venture outside your comfort zone. Many “weird” foods actually turn out to be great and Meatless Monday can be an awesome way to expand your horizons. Find a vegetarian restaurant or try a new recipe at home.

  • International food can be your savior. Indian food, Mexican food, and Chinese food can really spice up a night if you want some pizzaz in your Meatless Monday Routine.

If you are just generally stuck in a rut and looking for a way to brighten your next year, this is the resolution for you. I started doing this last May (so not “quite” a resolution) and it really changed my perspective. Say thank you to people in your lives for the little things. And not just a curt “thanks”, but a genuine “thank you”. You would be shocked at how much it changes your perspective (and makes others feel good too!)

a few tips to implement:

  • Handwritten letters can be effective. If someone has made a big impact on you through actions big or small, why not take the time to thank them?

  • Don’t neglect thanking people just because they’ve been doing something for a long time or because they’re expected to do it.

This is another easy way to kickstart your healthier lifestyle. Aside from the wonderful long-term side effects of drinking a lot of water (hello, glowing skin?) it can also reduce cravings and lessen hangover severity in the short term.

a few tips to implement:

  • Get a fun way of drinking water. The first time I got a Camelbak water bottle, I drank so much water because I loved chewing on the top. Nowadays, I encourage my water habits with fun reusable straws. (Shoutout to my brother for buying me one shaped like my name for Christmas!)

  • Swap other drinks for water. If you usually have a soda with lunch, try switching it for a bottle of water. Grab a flavored one like Propel if plain water sounds too boring.

This resolution has many of the same caveats as the “new hobby” resolution (#4). I personally love to read before bed. Watching TV in bed has plenty of its own issues and reading is always a great and calming way to end my day on a good note.

a few tips to implement:

  • Choose something specific to read more of. More books? More newspapers? More magazines? ....More blogs?

  • Choose something you WANT to read, not something you SHOULD read. If that means re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 80th time, go for it. A book is a book.

  • Start keeping a list of recommendations when people give them. I have a running note on my phone of books I hear about on TV, on podcasts, and in conversation. When I feel like reading, there’s always something on that list.

Rather than saying you will go to the gym every day or however many times a week, build some healthy activities into your everyday life. Plus, no gym membership! You don’t have to do these every time, but each time makes a difference.

a few tips to implement:

  • If the parking lot looks full, don’t spend your time circling for a spot (or stalking some poor family that looks like they might be walking to their car). Just park farther away and spend a little more time outside while you walk in. Save yourself the stress!

  • Sometimes down is easier than up. If you can’t convince yourself to climb 4 flights to your apartment, maybe just take 4 flights down when you’re leaving. That way, gravity is on your side.

There are so many things in my life that I never discover because I don’t ask the right questions. For me, I don’t ask enough about the people around me beyond the typical “how are you?” And “what are you up to?”

a few tips to implement:

  • Don’t expect to know what questions to ask right away. Resolutions are all about growth. Start with a couple of rough questions and use those to guide conversation to more honed questions.

  • Use the information you get from questions. You found out a friend of yours also loves celebrity gossip? Make a note to buy her a magazine subscription for Christmas next year or send her a link to a podcast you love. (I'm personally a fan of The Morning Toast)

(BONUS) How hard could it be???

But really, thank you for being here and supporting me as I start out the Fly South blog!

If you’ve tried one of these or have more suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to escape for a minute to fly south.


follow along on instagram