The 25 Smartest New Year's Resolutions You Can Make Slideshow

Some can be accomplished in a day, while others may take all year
Utilize Lists

thinkstock

Avoid Procrastinating

Avoid Procrastinating

thinkstock

Procrastinating holds you back from achieving your goals. Fortunately, there are a lot of helpful tips and hacks to aid you in conquering your habits of procrastination, the simplest being the “two-minute rule”: If something can be done in two minutes or less, then you should just do it now. You should also start long-term goals or hobbies with just two minutes of action at a time; taking the first step, no matter how small, is always the hardest.

Click here for 25 strategies to help you keep your resolutions.

Change Your Diet

Change Your Diet

pixabay

It’s easy to overcomplicate a healthy diet. Nutritionists, doctors, celebrities, friends, and family all offer their opinions. To simplify the process, follow the mantra of renowned food journalist Michael Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” His concise wisdom means avoid processed food, indulge in treats in moderation, and get most of your calories and nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Click here for 50 recipes for your New Year’s weight-loss resolution.

Commit to the Gym for 3 Months

Commit to the Gym for 3 Months

thinkstock

For some, committing to go to the gym is a more inviting solution to weight loss than going on a diet. Sign up for a gym membership and go to the gym religiously (i.e, at least four to five times a week) for three months. Your physical transformation will motivate you to keep going and also improve your diet. Here’s a hint, though: Start your workout regimen halfway through January; gyms tend to be unpleasantly jam-packed for the first week or so after Jan. 1. Hold back just a bit and avoid the mob.

Click here to check out the biggest health and fitness breakthroughs of 2016.

Contact Your Loved Ones Often

Contact Your Loved Ones Often

shutterstock

This resolution takes little effort and makes an immediate impact. Simply picking up the phone and telling a parent, family member, or friend that you’re thinking of them is a small gesture that brightens a person’s spirits. You never know what one phone call, email, or text message (or even letter, if you’re old school) may accomplish. 

Continue With Education

Continue With Education

thinkstock

As we age, our relationship to education changes. Going back to school provides constant stimulation that helps in many facets of life such as writing, public speaking, and critical thinking. Plus, higher education makes you even more valuable to current or potential employers. 

Improve your culinary education by checking out the 25 best cooking classes in America.

Control Your Emotions

Control Your Emotions

pixabay

Expressing yourself can be, at times, a great relief, but it’s also important to know when to keep your emotions in check. Avoid burning bridges or saying things you can’t retract. Whenever something bothers you, sleep on it and reevaluate circumstances in the morning with a clear head.

Click here for mug cake recipes for every emotion.

Don’t Be Late

Don’t Be Late

shutterstock

Tardiness is a sign of indifference — not a trait you want to be advertising. Nobody likes to have to wait for someone else, so start getting to places on time… or early.

Click here to see how being late is only one of the ways you didn’t realize you were being rude.

Drink Less Alcohol

Drink Less Alcohol

pixabay

Oy… this one is relatable. Though a glass or two of wine at dinner, or a celebratory libation with friends, is appropriate and pleasurable, drinking to excess hinders your ability to accomplish other goals. Debilitating morning hangovers and dollars flowing out of your wallet like beer from the tap are just a couple of the negative consequences of excessive drinking.

Click here to learn about all the dangers of binge drinking.

Eliminate Stressors

Eliminate Stressors

thinkstock

Stress takes a toll on your mental and physical health. It can literally take years off your life. That’s why you want to position yourself so that you’re exposed to as few stressors as possible. Simple ways to relieve stress are too eat a healthier diet, reduce caffeine intake, avoid or cut way down on alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs, and get plenty of sleep. 

Click here for five drinks that reduce stress.

Express Yourself Through Art

Express Yourself Through Art

pixabay

This year especially, people have had a lot of pent-up emotions. Instead of unleashing these feelings on your Facebook page or a Reddit forum, try expressing them through an artistic medium. Getting your thoughts down on paper, either in the form of a story or poetry, is helpful and relaxing. If writing isn’t your thing, pick up some drawing supplies or a musical instrument. 

Get Fit

Get Fit

pixabay

Getting in shape incorporates aspects of a few resolutions: Making dietary changes that focus on more plant-based foods and home cooking; exercising consistent; and cutting out smoking all contribute to better health, and targeting just one of these attributes puts you on a path toward better fitness. The reward comes from being able to run a mile, or play a casual game of ultimate Frisbee or pick-up basketball, without exhaustion. 

When starting a new exercise program, don’t make these dietary mistakes.

Learn/Improve Cooking Skills

Learn/Improve Cooking Skills

thinkstock

Mastering a new kitchen technique expands your culinary confidence. With some basic epicurean insight, cooking can be a pleasurable escape. Try experimenting with different cooking methods such as braising, poaching, or steaming, and as always, make a point to expose yourself to unfamiliar flavors and ingredients. Besides being a major dating plus, knowing your way around the kitchen will save you money and inevitably improve your diet because you’ll be in control of the salt, sugar, and fat contents in your meals.

Click here for some pro cooking techniques that anyone can pull off.

Let Go of Grudges

Let Go of Grudges

thinkstock

Holding on to past quarrels takes an emotional toll that can weaken your resolve. Grudges are corrosive; they eat at you from the inside, leaving just a shell of a person. Learn to forgive, forget, and move on, or else you will subject yourself to another year of suffering. 

Lose Weight

Lose Weight

thinkstock

Often found at the top of New Year’s resolution lists, losing weight is a popular goal. It requires a high degree of willpower and discipline, but the byproducts of weight loss, which include improved confidence, a slimmer physique, and a lower risk of weight-related health problems, are well worth the struggle. The two components of weight loss are exercise and diet, and fortunately there are a lot of resources to set you on the right path.  

Click here for the top weight loss tips of 2016.

Network

Network

thinkstock

Growing your social circles does two things: It introduces you to new friends and exposes you to potential business associates. Meeting people is not necessarily easy or comfortable, but that’s what resolutions are all about — pushing you out of your comfort zone. 

Pick Up a New Hobby

Pick Up a New Hobby

pixabay

Have you always envied someone who could draw or play an instrument? Well, today is the first day of the rest of your life, and it’s never too late to start a new hobby.

Want cooking to be that new hobby? Click here for 15 basic cooking methods you need to know.

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

shutterstock

Breaking away from this psychological addiction is a trying task for even the most strong-willed people, but quitting cigarettes should be on the top of every smoker’s resolution list. The American Lung Association offers advice and suggestions regarding how to quit smoking.

Click here to see 10 food and drinks that can help you quit smoking.

Read at Least a Book a Month

Read at Least a Book a Month

thinkstock

Sitting down with an enticing novel or a stimulating biography is entertaining, but reading also expands your vocabulary and fortifies your writing skills. A well-written story temporarily transports you away from the harsh realities of the world.

Click here for 10 must-read books for home cooks.

Volunteer

Volunteer

shutterstock

We can get lost in the seemingly endless obligations of our everyday lives, but giving back through volunteering has the power to alter our perception of our current situation. Not only does volunteering contribute vital services to people in need, but helping others relieves stress within yourself. Helping out at a soup kitchen, food pantry, or animal shelter is just as beneficial to others as it is rewarding to you.

Volunteering is just one of the many ways to fight hunger; click here to see 50 more.

Save Money

Save Money

shutterstock

Easier said than done, right? Though not everyone has the opportunity to save, stashing a small fraction (even 1 percent) of each paycheck into a bank account offers a comforting degree of protection, and may even lead to an early retirement.

Step Back From Social Media

Step Back From Social Media

thinkstock

When are drowning in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Things like FOMO (fear of missing out) and “Facebook envy” affect our own self-perception and self-confidence. Try to cut back on social media time and commit more of your energy toward introspection.  Even just deleting some apps from your smartphone can be a step in the right direction.

Click here for a list of 10 revitalizing and introspective yoga retreats.

Travel

Travel

Istock

Going abroad exposes you to unfamiliar cultures, but besides being introduced to new foods, customs, architecture, and lifestyles, traveling also helps you appreciate home. Coming back from a vacation may change your perception on life. Many people say they find that although the world is very diverse, the wants, needs, and struggles of all people, regardless of location, are more or less the same.

Click here for six tips to help you stay fit while traveling.

Try to Get 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

Try to Get 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

shutterstock

Do you wake up in the morning feeling groggy and unmotivated? This might be the result of not getting enough shut-eye. Getting a full eight hours of sleep a night is linked to a myriad of benefits including improved memory, longer attention span, and heightened creativity. It’s also important for your overall health.

Click here for nine foods that help you sleep.

Utilize Lists

Utilize Lists

thinkstock

Lists literally and figuratively bring order to our complicated lives. Making a list will declutter your mind; it will prioritize tasks, organize time, and remain as physical evidence of our productivity and accomplishments. You won’t know how satisfying it is to cross something off your list until you actually do it. 

Write in a Journal

Write in a Journal

pixabay

In this crazy world we live in, self-reflection is the key to maintaining our sanity. Writing once a day, or even once a week, helps organize thoughts. It’s also rewarding to look back on past entries to track your personal growth.