62 Realistic New Year's Resolution Ideas For 2021 | Get Your Gusto Back

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62 Realistic New Year’s Resolution Ideas For 2021

Looking for new year’s resolution ideas for 2021?

It’s a great time to reflect on the past and get excited about the future.

And below, we’re going to give you 62 ideas for your 2021 new year’s resolutions!

We’ve split these into categories for easier browsing: health, wealth, relationships, personal growth, and “other”.

But first, let’s address the elephant in the room.

How To Be Successful With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Everybody knows it.

Statistics about the number of people who stick to their new year’s resolutions are grim.

But here’s a question.

Does that mean you should stop making new year’s resolutions?

Should you stop growing just because other people have stopped?

Should we all just give up on trying to better ourselves because most people fail to do so?

And by the way, what counts as a failure in these studies?

Not completely achieving a new year’s resolution? Does that mean that the person failed, even though they tried and still made progress?

Was their new year’s resolution a waste, then?

Or did they shoot for the stars and hit the moon?

Growth is growth.

So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater 😉

Still, to help you be as successful as possible, here are some tips…

Make Your Resolutions About Action, Not Results — You can’t control whether you lose 100 pounds, grow your business to $50k per month, or write a bestselling book, but you can control whether you exercise, iterate your products, or write every day. Focus your resolutions on what you can control; the actions, not the results.

Remember That There’s Power In Detail — Detail is where new year’s resolutions come to life. You don’t want to start exercising, you want to exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days per week. And then you want to track that discipline. Vague resolutions beget vague results. Detailed resolutions beget detailed results.

Do Quarterly Reviews — The new year is a great time for resolutions, but it’s not enough. In fact, your first new year’s resolution should be to reflect and goal-set every quarter. 90-day resolutions are much more manageable and realistic than 365-day ones.

Write Down Your New Year’s Resolutions — You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. This is likely because when you write something down the commitment feels a bit more real. So write down your goals and keep ’em where you can see ’em.

Share Your New Year’s Resolutions — Sharing your new year’s resolutions with friends is another great way to increase your level of commitment. One study even suggests that you’ll get more benefit if you tell people who are more successful than you. You might not like peer pressure, but it’s damn effective for sticking to new year’s resolutions!

Track Your Progress — One of the reasons that people fail at their new year’s resolutions is because they forget about them. They made the commitment, but they didn’t create a process for tracking their commitment. So right after you make a new year’s resolution, make sure that you create a system for tracking progress. I really like the DONE app for habit tracking.

Be Kind To Yourself — You’re not perfect. So you’re probably not going to stick to your new year’s resolution perfectly. But remember, even if you stick to it 80% of the time, that’s still some serious progress. So be kind to yourself and learn to proud of your progress, even when it’s not perfect.

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62 New Year’s Resolution Ideas For 2021

Here are the new year’s resolution ideas for health, wealth, relationships, personal growth, and “other”!

New Year’s Resolution Ideas: Health

Remember to be realistic and specific with your health-focused new year’s resolutions. If you join a gym, commit to going a certain number of days per week. If you’re eating healthier, commit to what you’re eating and how often. If you’re quitting a bad habit, get some accountability, and track your progress.

1. Eat One Healthy Meal Per Day

Eat better, feel better. But changing all of your eating habits in one fell swoop is a difficult undertaking. Why not just commit to eating one healthy meal per day? As for what’s healthy, fill that plate with meat, veggies, and fruits. We even have a free 30-day meal plan you can use (it includes links to recipes and grocery lists!).

2. Start Tracking Your Nutrition

Knowledge is power. And when it comes to eating better, tracking your nutrition is one of the best (and easiest) ways to gain important knowledge about your current diet and what needs to be changed. Lose It! is my favorite app for tracking calories and nutrition.

3. Join a CrossFit Gym

I joined a CrossFit gym about 6 months ago. What I love about it most is that they always have a new one-hour WOD (workout of the day) and people do the workout together in groups. This is a lot more fun than working out alone and it makes you push a little bit harder.

4. Join a Rock Climbing Gym

Rock climbing is another one of my go-to workouts. It’s super fun, it engages the problem-solving part of your brain, and the community is super friendly. Find a gym. Try it out. And go with a friend if you’re nervous to go alone.

5. Join a Traditional Gym

Hopefully going to the gym will be a little bit easier in 2021 than it has been in 2020. Fortunately, a lot of gyms are opening around the country with varying restrictions. So join one and commit to going at least 3 times per week (or whatever is reasonable for you). If you really want to boost motivation, then commit to doing this with a friend!

6. Start Hiking

If you live in an area with a lot of great hiking trails, take advantage of it! Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy nature at the same time. Plus, it’s free!

7. Purchase New Workout Gear

Spending money can help make your new year’s resolution feel more real. If you want to get in the habit of exercising, then buy yourself some cute and comfortable exercise clothes. And don’t go cheap — treat yourself as though you’re fully committed to the new routine… because you are 😉

8. Quit Smoking or Drinking

Want to quit smoking or drinking? Well, there’s no time like the present! There are a ton of online communities for people who are quitting smoking and drinking. I highly recommend checking them out. Here’s a site with great resources if you want to quit smoking. And here’s a list of some of the best online sobriety communities.

9. Get 10,000 Steps Per Day

Experts recommend that healthy adults should be getting about 10,000 steps per day. I can testify! When we traveled around Europe for 15 months, we walked everywhere. And it was probably the healthiest I’ve ever been (even though I wasn’t exercising or watching what I ate). I just walked a lot. Plus, most smartphones will track your steps — so this is super easy to implement.

10. Start Doing Yoga

love yoga. It’s great for the body and the mind. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend giving it a go. And if you’re looking for an exercise routine that will heal you physically and mentally, I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about yoga.

11. Start Intermittent Fasting

Surprise, surprise: our ancestors weren’t eating all the time. Cavemen and women would have a big meal when they caught game and harvested berries, but there were usually good chunks of time in between meals (’cause they’d only eat after a successful hunt). That’s how human biology evolved, and there’s a lot of great research showing that intermittent fasting is powerful for weight loss, blood pressure, energy levels, and just about everything else! Here are some popular ways to do intermittent fasting (it’s easier than you think).

12. Quit Drinking Coffee

I love coffee and I’m not going to quit anytime soon. But some people who do quit drinking coffee experience more even energy levels throughout the day (rather than a spike and a crash). If you want to do this, try replacing coffee with something else — you can drink decaf or tea instead.

13. Quit Pornography

There’s nothing wrong with pornography, but when overused, it can have a pretty serious impact on people’s mental health. Here are just a few problems that porn can cause, according to Psychology Today. If you’re ready to quit, there are some great tools for doing so. Here’s a list of some of the communities to check out. And here’s a list of some tools and resources to consider.

14. Start Taking The Stairs

Little things make a big difference. The biggest commonality between Blue Zones — communities where people live longer than anywhere else — is that people live healthier lifestyles. They don’t exercise super hard or only eat grass. But they do walk more, eat meats and veggies, and having thriving social circles. So yes, committing to taking the stairs (or other similar micro-habits) can definitely make a difference.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas: Wealth

With your wealth-focused new year’s resolutions, make sure to set clear goals and then create a system for working toward those goals. What’s great about building wealth is that it’s easily quantifiable. Take advantage of that. Here are some new year’s resolution ideas for building wealth.

15. Ask For a Raise

When is the last time you got a raise at work? Most people are shy about asking for money but don’t be. If you think you deserve more than you’re making, schedule a time to talk with your boss about increasing your hourly rate.

16. Start a Blog

Blogs are an awesome way to share your ideas, unleash your creativity, and even make some money. And it’s something you could do on the side, whenever you have time. Here’s my favorite guide to building and monetizing a blog.

17. Start an Ecommerce Store

You probably don’t think you’d ever be able to build a successful e-commerce store. But Shopify has seriously lowered the barrier to entry, as well as the invention of dropshipping (you don’t even have to create or ship the products to your customers!). In this guide, Shopify will walk you through the entire process, from choosing a product and evaluating your idea to building and marketing your store. Even if this just made you an extra $1,000 per month, wouldn’t that be worth it?

18. Build a Coaching Business

A lot of people are building coaching businesses. There are fitness coaches, business coaches, mindset coaches, and even lifestyle coaches. So why not dip your toes in the pool? Choose something that you are experienced in and passionate about. Then create your coaching biz! Consulting.com probably has the best online course for doing this.

19. Create a Monthly Budget

How much money are you spending on food? Video games? Books? Other random shit? Knowing how you spend money is the first step to being a better steward of your finances. Here are some of the best expense tracker apps to check out. And once you’re ready to create a budget, here are some tools to consider.

20. Commit To Saving $500 Per Month

Maybe $500 per month is too much. Maybe it’s too little. But saving is extremely important for building wealth — wealth is all about how much money you keep, not about how much you spend. My wife and I always joke about how people who know us would never guess how much money we make because we live so modestly — all of our extra money goes straight to savings! So figure out how much you can save every month and make it happen.

21. Create an Investment Plan For Retirement

It’s never too late to start saving for retirement, but sooner is always better. If you haven’t started saving yet, start in 2021, even if you can only put a little bit away every month. Compound interest has a way of turning those small deposits into massive gains down the road. Check out our beginner’s investing guide to get started.

22. Create an Investment Plan For Quicker Gains

Saving for retirement is important, but if you’re anything like me then you also care about building wealth sooner and with more liquidity. After all, why wait until retirement to be financially free? Our beginner’s investing guide can help you with this as well!

New Year’s Resolution Ideas: Relationships

Maintaining healthy relationships with your family and friends has likely been difficult in 2020. But 2021 is a great time to strengthen those relationships! Here are some relationship-focused new year’s resolution ideas.

23. Date Your Spouse Once Per Month

It’s easy to neglect date-nights with your spouse when life gets busy. But what’s a romantic relationship without regular excursions? Going on date nights is cliche advice for a reason: because it works. Here’s a great list of date ideas.

24. Spend One Hour With Your Kid Every Day

Kids grow up much faster than parents expect them to. And if we (the parents) are not paying attention, it’s easy to miss out. If you have a busy life and often forget to dedicate time to play with your kid, then schedule it. Even if it’s just 30 minutes or an hour. There’s no shame in doing so and it’ll ensure that you don’t miss life’s most important moments.

25. Call a Family Member Once Per Month

Is there a family member that you’d like to reconnect with? Why not schedule 30 minutes per week to chat with a loved one? Don’t hesitate! The new year is a great opportunity to get back in the habit of talking to people who matter most to you.

26. Meet One New Person Every Week

2020 was a particularly difficult year for making new friends. My wife and I moved to Hawaii right when Covid-19 lockdowns started. And it’s been quite challenging to make friends. If you’re in a similar boat or if you’re just looking to make more friends, commit to meeting someone new every week in 2021. You can do this at the local coffee shop, at a park, or at some other community gathering place.

27. Join a New Community

Every human being needs to feel like they’re connected to a larger community. What community are you a part of? You could start going to a nearby church, join an exercise group, or attend interest-specific meetups (about business, food, travel, etc). Go to Meetup to find local community gatherings.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas: Personal Growth

Here are some new year’s resolution ideas for your personal growth.

28. Create a Mission Statement For Your Life

Why are you alive? I know. That’s a deep question. But it’s probably the most important question that you could ever wrestle with. Writing a mission statement for your life (or even for the next year!) is a great way to give yourself a sense of direction. We all need to feel like we have a purpose. So what is yours? This article will walk you through the steps of figuring out what you want to do with your life.

29. Outline Your Dream Life

As humans, we must imagine something before we make it real. You can’t slam dunk a ball if you’re unable to imagine slam dunking and you also can’t build a business, write a book, make more money, or lose weight if you’re unable to imagine doing so. So take a few hours to outline what you want your life to look like. And really embrace your imagination and your personal desires. You can then reverse engineer your dream life and figure out how to make it happen. I’ll walk you through that process over here.

30. Read One Book Per Month

According to science, people who read have greater self-esteem and more ability to cope with difficult situations (that goes for fiction and non-fiction). Not to mention that they sleep better and more satisfied with their lives. So start reading one book per month or even one book per week — whatever suits your fancy.

31. Listen To One Podcast Episode Per Week

Podcasts are a great way to learn about various topics of interest. And if you find yourself listening to a lot of music in the car or while you clean the house, why not exchange that for something a little more valuable? My favorite podcasts are The Joe Rogan Experience, The Tim Ferriss Show, and The School of Greatness. Here are some other great podcasts, according to The New York Times.

32. Break Down Your Goals Into Baby Steps

Maybe you outline your dream life or create a mission statement for your life and then ask, “Now what?” After you’ve set some goals for yourself, the next thing you should do is turn those goals into small easy-to-execute baby steps that virtually guarantee your long-term success. I break this process down in detail in this article: How To Get What You Want in Life (3 Practical Steps)

33. Get Counseling

There’s nothing wrong with getting therapy or counseling. In fact, even the most mentally healthy among us could use to see a professional counselor every now and again. In 2020, I went to a therapist for the first time and it was a really awesome experience. I’d highly recommend trying it out if there’s anything mindset-wise that you want to work on. BetterHelp is super easy to use and their counselors are really great.

34. Repeat Affirmations Every Morning

Writing down and repeating affirmations to yourself in the morning — particularly about things for which you’re trying to build self-confidence — is a great way to start the day. Research shows that affirmations are most effective right after you wake up and right before you go to sleep. Here are some powerful affirmations you might consider using!

35. Listen To Affirmations When Falling Asleep

Morning is great for your affirmations, but listening to affirmations as you fall asleep might actually be the best way to make those positive messages hit home. Right before you fall asleep, your brain is generating alpha waves, and research suggests that those alpha waves make your brain more malleable. Here’s a YouTube video you can listen to as you fall asleep that is LITERALLY 8 hours of affirmations.

36. Do Breathing Exercises Twice Per Day

It’s easy to forget about how important breathing is. Not just for survival, but for our health and happiness. In Breath, James Nestor reveals some fascinating and ground-breaking research that reveals how our ancestors breathed… and how we should be breathing, too. My favorite app for being a better “breather” is Breathwrk — they have breathing exercises for destressing, getting pumped up, balancing your emotions, falling asleep, and waking up. Might seem like voodoo magic, but it works. Try it!

37. Practice Gratitude

Research shows that people who consistently practice gratitude are more physically and mentally healthy, have higher self-esteem, and sleep better than their cynical counterparts. Being selfish is easy, but being grateful is more satisfying. Rather than waiting for Thanksgiving to roll around, why not start listing 3 things that you’re grateful for when you wake up every morning? The Five Minute Journal is an awesome tool for building this practice (but it’s not necessary).

38. Commit To Positive Thinking

A lot of times, you get what you think you’re going to get. That’s why positive thinking is touted as such a powerful force. If we think that something is going to happen, we’re more likely to usher that event into reality with our behaviors. But how can you make your thoughts more positive? One of the best things I ever did was commit to not thinking a single negative thought for 10 days — it’s amazing how much control you have over your thoughts when you are intentional. So why not start off the year with a 3- or 4-day commitment to positive thinking? If you’re anything like me, it’ll make a big difference in how you perceive positive and negative thoughts. For long-term positive thinking, you could start a meditation, journaling, or self-affirmation practice.

39. Fill One Journal Page Per Day

Journaling is sort of like counseling yourself. It allows you to process your thoughts and emotions and it gives you a safe space for being honest and asking important questions. Who are you? What’s your purpose? What do you want to do with your life? How can you live your core values? How can you be a better steward of your money? Those are great things to journal about. Journaling consistently is even shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve liver function. Evidently, one page of journaling a day keeps the doctor away?

40. Meditate 3 Times Per Week 

Meditation is another practice that’s ripe with health benefits. It reduces anxiety, enhances self-awareness, lengthens attention span, and might even help fight addiction. Start by meditating for even a couple of minutes 3 times per week. You can use a guided meditation app like Headspace to make this process even easier.

41. Start Listening to Audiobooks

I think that audiobooks are one of the best inventions of the 21st century. We all spend a sizeable portion of our lives community — driving to work, to the grocery store, to the gym, etc — and audiobooks allow you to turn those commutes into valuable learning opportunities. When I was really serious about it, I was able to listen to one nonfiction book every week by just utilizing my commutes!

42. Become a Better Note Taker

Taking notes isn’t just useful for college. It’s useful for things like remembering information from important meetings and organizing ideas from bestselling books. And it gives you an easy way to revisit past musings. Not to mention that you’re more likely to remember things you write down… so it’s a good discipline to have. Here are some note taking apps to check out.

43. Learn To Delegate

Are you the owner of a business? Or maybe you’re in a management position at work. Or maybe you’re the primary leader of your family. Well, all leaders need to learn to be good delegators, and 2021 is as good a year as ever to get serious about that. Here are 9 books that every leader should consider reading.

44. Learn To Prioritize

Every day offers you about 16 hours worth of opportunity (assuming that you sleep for 8 hours). But not all of the things you could do with that time are equal. Successful and happy people learn how to prioritize each day so that they always finish what they need to finish and still have time for the things that matter most to them. Every morning, start by prioritizing your day. In order of importance and urgency, write out your to-do list. That way, you’re living the life that you choose to live.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas: Other Ideas

Here are some other random 2021 new year’s resolution ideas!

45. Learn to Paint

I know a lot of people who have always wanted to learn how to paint… but they’ve never actually done it. Well, painting isn’t a super expensive hobby and it’s a great way to relax, so why not make painting your new year’s resolution? Here are some YouTube videos to get you moving in the right direction.

46. Learn to Draw

Drawing is another relaxing hobby that uses your creativity. And it’s even less expensive than painting to get started. Here are some YouTube videos to get you moving in the right direction.

47. Learn Magic Tricks

I used to love learning magic tricks. In middle school, I’d spend hours practicing the same sleight over and over again until I perfected it. Then I’d get to show the trick to my family and friends. To me, this felt like an artform. Maybe you’ll love it as much as I did. YouTube is a great place to start. And Penguin Magic is my go-to site for buying new tricks and courses.

48. Go Back To School

Want to get your degree in something that interests you? Well, it’s never too late to go back to school. This can be a bit expensive, but if it’s a degree that you’re going to use as a launching pad for your career, then it’ll probably be worth it! The other (cheaper) option is to pursue self-learning; buy books and courses or even hire a coach or mentor.

49. Do Quarterly Reviews

The new year is the most popular time to review the past and look to the future. The problem is, a year is a long time. It’s far better to get in the habit of doing quarterly reviews. Every 3 months, revisit and set new goals. In this way, you’ll build the life that you want to live rather than the one that just happens to you.

50. Write a Book

Want to write a book? Well, you’re certainly not alone. A whopping 81% of Americans feel that they have a book in them and they should write it. 2021 is a great year to get started. But if you don’t know where to start, here’s an article that’ll help, and you might even check out Self-Publishing School, a website that’s dedicated to helping people write, edit, and publish their first books.

51. Learn Guitar

Guitar was always something that I wanted to learn growing up, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I finally did it. I bought a $50 guitar and watched a ton of YouTube videos to learn how. It’s difficult but extremely rewarding. And I highly recommend giving it a shot. Here are some beginner YouTube videos to check out.

52. Date Yourself

Life is busy. And the more things you add — a spouse, kids, work, etc — the busier it gets. In the midst of all those things, most of us forget to date ourselves. I’m talking about taking an hour or two every week to really just do something that you want to do. Maybe that’s reading a good book without kids interrupting, maybe it’s painting, drawing, or learning guitar, or maybe it’s just going for a long drive. Whatever the case, try setting 2 hours aside once per week to go on a date with yourself, even if that means finding a babysitter. Your sanity will thank you for it.

53. Learn to Snowboard or Ski

I fell in love with snowboarding just a few years ago. It’s something I always wanted to learn growing up, but just never really had the opportunity. So I found someone who knew how to snowboard (my brother-in-law) and asked them to teach me. Now I feel comfortable going on my own, and it’s awesome! It’s never too late to learn a skill that you wanted to learn as a child — you’ve just got to have the spirit for it. 😉

54. Learn to Drive a Stick Shift

For most of my adult life, I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. And then, when I was traveling around Europe, practically all of the rental cars were manuals. So I had to figure it out on crazy Italian streets. But once I got the hang of it, it was a lot of fun. Maybe 2021 is your year to learn stick shift?

55. Drive in Another Country

When we visited Australia for a month, it was my first opportunity to drive in another country. But they drive on the left side of the road so I was definitely a little hesitant. Still, I did it. And now I try to rent a car every time that we travel to another country. There’s something really satisfying about learning to drive in other countries. I highly recommend trying it.

56. Start Giving To Charity

Humans are complex creatures and we seem to function best when we feel that we’re contributing to the greater good. It’s not surprising, then, that research suggests that giving to charity makes people happier and healthier. And you don’t have to give a lot. Just give what you can afford to a charity that you care about. I give to Children of the Night every month because I think it represents a really important cause (saving children from sexual exploitation).

57. Declutter Your Home

As humans, we are heavily influenced by our environments. The people we surround ourselves with, the communities we live in, and yes, even the cleanliness of our home all have a direct impact on our motivation levels and productivity. So it might be a good year to declutter your home and get into a good ongoing cleaning routine. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying is a bestselling book that comes highly recommended.

58. Plan To Move Somewhere Awesome

It’s not just the cleanliness of your home that influences your motivation levels, though, it’s also the city where you live. If you wake up every day wishing that you lived somewhere else, that’s a pretty good sign that it’s time to move. You want to be proud of the city you’ve chosen to live in and you want to feel grateful when you wake up every morning. Here’s a list of the top places to live in the U.S. that you might consider moving to.

59. Schedule Your Next Vacation

Everybody needs time off. And if you haven’t scheduled your 2021 vacation yet, then check out this list of top places to visit. God knows we could all use a good vacation after 2020.

60. Cook Something New Each Week

Expanding your at-home cooking repertoire is great for your budget (cooking at home is cheaper than eating out) and it’s also just a lot of fun. Why not commit to cooking one new recipe every week?

61. Share Your Resolutions

People who share their goals with others have a higher chance of accomplishing them than those that try to tackle their goals in isolation. So share your 2021 new year’s resolutions with a few friends. Then they’ll feel more real and you’ll be more motivated because other people are expecting you to make good on your commitment.

62. Buy Plants

Having plants in your house can make your home feel more “homey” and taking care of those plants can be a fun hobby. But if you’re like me and you are notorious for killing your plants (on accident), check out this list of easy-to-care-for house plants.

What New Year’s Resolutions Are You Choosing in 2021?

2021 is here. What new year’s resolution ideas are you going to use?

Even though many people’s new year’s resolutions fail, that doesn’t mean we should give up on goal-setting altogether.

You can use the tips and new year’s resolution ideas in this article to make 2021 the year you want it to be — a year of growth, progress, and joy.

Happy new year!

Want more out of life?

Create a more meaningful life in just 30 days.

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Mike Blankenship

Mike is a writer for SUCCESS, AdWeek, and Addicted2Success. He’s been quoted on Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise in marketing and personal development. He’s also the owner of Get Your Gusto Back where he helps people reignite their inner fire.

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