The deadline for setting your New Year's resolution is fast approaching. And you may have a number of lofty goals in mind you want to accomplish this year. If you have the time and resources to accomplish them, then great! Go for the gold and achieve that big goal. But if you're already feeling overwhelmed at the thought of it, you might not want to set your expectations so high.
It's not because you can't achieve the goal; you just may not want to. And setting a goal that's either too large or too off-base from what you really want to be doing every day are two of the biggest mistakes people make when setting their New Year's resolutions. You're practically setting yourself up to fail.
Instead, you may want to consider making a resolution that's more realistic. But just because it's more realistic doesn't mean it won't be as meaningful! The resolutions on this list can all make a lasting impact on your life, despite how much simpler they seem. Set yourself up for success this year and try one of these 19 realistic resolutions in 2019.
Learn a new word every day
Expanding your vocabulary will happen naturally as you read books more often, but why not take a more proactive step to add a few words to your repertoire? Learn just one word each day to make it more realistic. Dictionary.com actually has a daily newsletter that serves this exact purpose. They'll send a Word of the Day directly to your inbox. Even if you don't remember every single one, you'll pick up a few!
Save $10 a week
Saving money is easier said than done. But setting aside smaller sums can hold you accountable for saving even when you don't have a lot of cash to spare. $10 a week might seem like chump change, but it adds up. By year's end, you'll have saved at least $520. That's enough to buy a round-trip flight to Europe!
Read a book you've been meaning to get to
Avoid making resolutions that are too general, like "read more." And don't make your goal too ambitious! Some people can fly through a book in a month, but will you? You might not realistically get through a book every month, but pick one that you really want to finish. Maybe it's a book you keep hearing everyone talk about or that you keep meaning to read. Or remember that book you bought ages ago you haven't even opened? Here's your chance. Just do it.
Eat your daily servings of fruits and vegetables
Setting a goal like "eat healthy" can actually do more harm than good. What does eating healthy really mean? This kind of goal can feel impossible to really achieve, resulting in feelings of shame when you eat a doughnut and "fail." Additionally, trying to remove things from your diet can cause a rebound effect where you end up eating even more of the food you were trying to cut out. Instead, think of an additive goal that will really benefit your health. It's recommended that you eat at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day. Commit to adding these nutrient-dense foods into your diet - it might be easier than you think!
Take a class in something new
You don't have go back to school to take classes in something you're interested in. There are classes available (in person or online) for things like dancing, learning a new language, or any other skill you might want to pursue. This resolution doesn't have to be expensive, either - these life-changing online courses are totally free!
Revamp your resume
Looking to make a career change, but don't know where to start? Before applying to anything, you're going to want an up-to-date resume. Think of all the things you've accomplished in the past couple of years and add them in. You may also want to do a little research on what employers look for on resumes nowadays; in certain careers, it's changed quite a bit over the years.
Drink more water
Dehydration, even on a minor level, can have subtle side effects that actually really affect your health. Make it a priority to drink more water every day. You might keep a water bottle at your desk at work or make sure you're drinking full glasses of water alongside your meals. Watch out for these signs of dehydration so you can tell whether you're getting enough.
Quit one bad habit
People can get caught up in trying to break their bad habits all at once. They might make a goal like "get fit" or "stop drinking so much alcohol" and get overwhelmed. Set yourself up for success by tackling one bad habit at a time. Think of a habit that you know is detracting from your daily life, whether it's saying sorry too often or spending too much money on takeout. Focus on that instead of getting overwhelmed by the flaws you see in the big picture.
Set up a weekly budget
Sit down at the start of the year and get realistic about your expenses. Map out your rent, your bills, and your other necessities. Then look at what you have to spare. How much would you like to spend on food? How much do you have left over for fun? Mapping it out even just once can help you find expenses you can cut back. Once you've figured out where you're overspending, you can work to cut back on groceries or stop spending so much on clothes.
Pack lunch more often
Packing lunch instead of buying every day can help you to save money and eat more of what you really want, rather than just what's convenient. It might not be realistic to try and pack a lunch every day. But figure out how often you can manage to plan ahead and set a definitive goal. Then, do what you can to stick to it. You might try some no-cook dinners and use the leftovers for lunch, or get creative with your sandwiches so you don't get bored.
Keep track of your sleep
Sleep is a seriously underrated aspect of your health. Allowing yourself to be sleep-deprived can affect your body in all kinds of ways, including messing with your appetite and detracting from your mood. It might not be a problem that you can solve all at once. But simply paying attention to your sleep schedule is a good place to start. Record (on paper, in a planner, or on a sleep-tracking app) how much sleep you are actually getting each night. Look for patterns. What's preventing you from getting the eight hours you need?
Move for 30 minutes every day
The science doesn't lie: Exercise is really good for you. But when you're out of the habit of exercising at all, it can feel overwhelming to start. Gyms can be intimidating! And if you do too much too fast, you might burn out quickly and fail to make the habit stick. But the health benefits of exercise are not exclusive to people with a gym membership or marathon runners. Find a type of movement you enjoy, whether it's yoga, playing a sport, or going for long walks. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise five days a week - start with that! And keep in mind that exercising at a high intensity every single day is also really bad for you; sticking to an exercise program that has you working out too often is probably not a good idea.
Volunteer for a cause you believe in
Better yourself this year by giving more of your time towards helping others. Choose one cause you believe in and do a quick internet search to find nearby volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community and meet new people, as well!
Clean your space at least once a week
Yeah, yeah, cleaning is a chore. But the more you let things pile up, the bigger a task it will be to organize later. Commit to tidying up at least once a week. Put things away, vacuum or sweep, and clean your kitchen counter - that space gets way grosser than you think.
Schedule an hour every week to do nothing
It might not be the most exciting-sounding resolution of your life, but it might be the most impactful. Think of all the things you can do with this time! You might learn a new hobby, read some books, or practice some self-care. There are actually a number of benefits you're getting from alone time, to both your mental and physical health.
Give a compliment every day
The energy you put out into the world comes right back to you. Make a point to say one nice thing to someone every day. You'll spread joy to others and yourself! Bonus points if you give compliments that aren't based on appearance. Only giving appearance-based compliments can actually end up making people (including you) feel worse about their bodies over time. Why? Because you're sending the message that looks are all that matter. Give compliments based on the things you truly value, whether it's someone's thoughtfulness, sense of humor, or generosity.
Do something that scares you
Maybe it's something fitness-related, like running a 5K. Maybe you've been scared to call a member of your family after you got in a fight. Whatever the thing is that you're scared of, use this as an excuse to tackle it. Need a little inspiration? Here are some photos of dogs that are more adventurous than you!
Spend more time outside
Whether you're exercising or not, getting a little fresh air is good for you. Sunshine has numerous health benefits in part because it provides vitamin D. By getting outdoors more often, you can boost your health and your overall happiness. Here are a few simple ways to spend more time outside.
Set a weekly goal
Can't decide on just one goal to prioritize this year? Consider trying your luck at a bunch of much smaller goals instead. Every week, pick one thing you want to accomplish. This simple practice in goal-setting can help you to feel accomplished all year long - and get better at making goals in the first place. Too many people fall into the trap of making bad resolutions, usually because of one of these mistakes!
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