58 New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Dieting Or Exercising

58 New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Dieting Or Exercising

It’s that time to commit to a new year’s resolution. Rather than resort to the go-to pledges of years past, such as dieting and working out, here are 58 fresh ideas.
Margot Cleveland
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It’s that time to commit to a new year’s resolution. Rather than resort to the go-to pledges of years past, such as dieting and working out, here are 58 fresh ideas.

  1. Call a far-away family member every week, reminding him or her of a favorite memory from years past.
  2. Commit to an hour a week to organize pictures, either in albums or in the cloud.
  3. Start a journal of family memories. Write down one memory—newly made or from years ago—every night before turning in.
  4. Research your family tree.
  5. Take pen to paper (and stamp to envelope) and write a personal note once a week to a friend or family member.
  6. Pay off debt. Put yourself on a budget and tighten the belt. Use savings to pay off (and then cancel!) one credit card or student loan, establishing a monthly and year-end goal.
  7. Shop around for better prices for insurance (car and homeowner’s or rental), cell phone service, and landline or internet service. Goal for the year: renegotiate terms or change providers on all major services.
  8. Start an emergency fund. Set a goal for the year of saving three months of living expenses.
  9. Contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan. Employer matching makes this free money.
  10. Buy life insurance. If you are married with children, stop procrastinating!
  11. Write a will.
  12. Designate a health care power of attorney.
  13. Declutter the house. Pick one area—big or small, depending on your hoard-i-ness—to sort, toss, donate, and organize.
  14. Freshen your décor. Each month, focus on one room and search for a new focal piece, from elegant, to antique, to kitschy.
  15. Update your wardrobe. Enlist an honest and stylish friend to serve as your Stacy and help you decide what not to wear. Make it a quarterly affair to focus on each season and follow by treating your helper to a girl’s night out.
  16. Re-up an old hobby. Did you sew or knit, or build things in your youth? This year decide to re-immerse yourself in the pastime.
  17. Teach a child a hobby. In 2019, decide to share your pastime with the next generation.
  18. Learn a new skill. Take a class to learn how to sew, paint, bake, or garden.
  19. Take a college class for fun. Learn for the sake of learning.
  20. Travel the world from your couch. Buy an atlas and spend an hour a week exploring!
  21. Plant a butterfly garden.
  22. Slow down. If commitments leave you and your family crazed, decide 2019 is the year you will cut down on outside activities that add stress and rush to your life.
  23. Get more sleep. Commit to at least seven hours a night.
  24. Plan a monthly family game time: Do a puzzle, learn new card game (hearts, bridge, or cribbage), or pull out an old board game.
  25. Surprise some neighbors. Make a family resolution to surprise neighbors once a month with a treat or completing a chore for them, such as shoveling their walk or mowing their lawn.
  26. Compliment a cashier (or waiter or other personal service employee). “Wow, you are the friendliest cashier I’ve ever had!” Commit to a daily attempt at finding something positive to share with a stranger.
  27. Make amends. This year, reach out to someone you hurt. Say you’re sorry.
  28. Make a friend. It’s harder to do as an adult, but worth it.
  29. Explore your hometown like a tourist. Once a month, take a family outing to a local museum or landmark.
  30. Ditch the movie theatres and opt instead to watch a classic movie from the comfort of your home. Many older films are available on Netflix and Amazon Prime, so squirrel away the savings as well.
  31. Improve your prayer life. Commit to more and deeper time with God.
  32. Clean up your hard drive. Put aside 15 minutes a day to organizing your computer drive (or cloud storage).
  33. Play matchmaker.
  34. Thank the police. Drop off a treat for different shifts a few times a year with handwritten thank-you notes.
  35. Clean your purses. Spend one evening emptying, then cleaning, your various purses and bags and then commit to a weekly purge.
  36. Use your gift cards. Stack the stash in your desk and once a week, plan to finish off a card. And if there are only a few dollars left and you don’t need anything, put a note on it and leave it at the check-out.
  37. Do a random act of kindness once a week.
  38. Become more empathetic. Next time someone needs an ear or a shoulder, offer yours and let her feel heard by mirroring her emotions.
  39. Express sympathy (again). The loss of a spouse or a child brings with it an outpouring of support, but the pain lives on long after everyone else has moved on with their lives. Reach out to someone who surely still suffers. Send a card, invite him to dinner. Give her a chance to talk and let her know you haven’t forgotten—because she hasn’t.
  40. Help an elderly neighbor. Bring back his trash cans, offer to mow her lawn, invite him on a walk to chat.
  41. Stop and look—truly look—at a loved one as if you may never see them again. To paraphrase Tim McGraw, “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like they were dying.”
  42. Drop one thing that drives your spouse (or kids) crazy.
  43. Ditch a bad habit.
  44. Cancel catalogues. For three months, before tossing the junk mail, rip off the back page of the catalogue and set aside. Then spend an afternoon contacting the stores and requesting they remove you from their lists.
  45. Celebrate saint days. Spend five minutes every morning reading up on the saint of the day.
  46. Teach your children life skills. Start the new year with a new goal for the younger set, whether it be teaching them how to create a menu and cook or how to write a check and balance a check book.
  47. Try new recipes. Get out of the food rut by committing to trying one new recipe every week.
  48. Plan new family outings. Once a month, try something new as a family: go to the drive-in, play miniature golf, go ice skating.
  49. Prioritize family meal time.
  50. Make cinnamon rolls, popovers, scones—use all those fancy pans you have and from which you haven’t yet removed the labels.
  51. Spend 15 minutes a week looking at pictures of your children when they were younger. Whatever current phase they are in, a visual reminder that the days may be long, but the years are short will help you keep your cool.
  52. Turn off the noise and turn on the classical music.
  53. Teach your children a new chore. Mowing or edging the lawn might now be in their skill set. Good for them—and great for you!
  54. Relaunch your career. Freshen the resume and seek out a better fit, or reach out to a mentor at your current job for guidance. Pitch a new project or volunteer for an extra assignment. Make a promotion this year’s goal.
  55. Mentor a promising employee.
  56. Schedule a physical and the recommended annual examinations.
  57. Talk with your parents about their wishes for when they need assistance or face health issues.
  58. Plan your funeral. Do this when you are healthy so it doesn’t seem so morbid and know that your children will appreciate it when the time comes.

If none of these ideas resonate, there is always dieting and exercising!

Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. Cleveland served nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk to a federal appellate judge and is a former full-time faculty member and current adjunct instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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