Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 (and How to Follow Through)

Making a New Year's resolution is quite popular, and very simple. What's not so easy is keeping them. Here's how to follow through on 10 common promises.

Whether it’s eating better, cutting down credit card debt, or finally learning Portuguese, New Year’s resolutions abound.

And, like watching the ball drop in Times Square, lighting fireworks, or other New Year’s traditions, making a New Year’s resolution is a quintessential part of the holiday.

But— 

Though it’s great to make a resolution for the new year, it doesn’t matter unless you follow through. Studies show that only around 8% of people making New Year’s resolutions actually accomplish what they set out to do.   

So, in this post, we’ll go over 10 of the best New Year’s resolutions for 2020, as well as the most important New Year’s resolution of all—to keep the promises you made to yourself about what changes you’ll make this upcoming year.

1. Lose Weight

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions for many people. But, almost as common is the failure to stick with the original plan.

As such a daunting task, break this goal down into easily-achievable milestones. Rather than say “lose 20 lbs. by December 31st,” make a more-specific plan, like this:

  1. Lose 1 lb. in January.
  2. Lose 1 lb. in February.
  3. Lose 2 lbs. in March.
  4. Lose 2 lbs. in April.

And so on. When you break this goal down, you’ll have more of a chance at sticking with the program as you won’t procrastinate (“Well, January is almost over, but there are still 11 more months left in the year”). 

Also, in the example above, you’ll see that the first months had lower targets than the following months. With this strategy, you’ll give yourself time to ease into your weight-loss routine with less chance of abandonment at the beginning. Once you start to notice your success in January and February, you’ll be better prepared to step it up a notch for the seasonal shift. 

2. Save More Money

We’d all like to end the year with more money than when we started, and it’s easy to see why saving money, or spending less money, is a popular New Year’s goal. 

To allow yourself a reasonable chance at following through, first acknowledge what the money will be for. You can save for the down payment on your first home, put money away for a gap year abroad, or start a savings account for a master’s degree program, but you need a reason to inspire the urgency needed to stick with it. 

Once you know the purpose of these funds, decide how much you’d like to have saved by the end of the year. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, however; you want to as much money as you can without making the journey miserable for yourself in the process.

3. Get Healthier

Getting healthier is another common New Year’s resolution, but also a common failure. While almost anyone could find a thing or two to change for a healthier life, this one is bound to fall by the wayside by Week 3.

Why?

“In the upcoming year, I resolve to become healthier.” As such a vague statement, the problem here is that it’s too broad. There are dozens of ways to improve your health, and many healths to improve (e.g., mental health, physical health, sexual health). 

To succeed, be specific. Narrow your statement down to a particular issue you want to solve, like “I will quit smoking” or “This year, I’ll stop eating foods with added sugars.” And, if those are too specific and not what you had in mind for getting healthier in the new year, add a second health-related New Year’s resolution!

4. Fight Climate Change

Climate change is unfortunately not slowing down. 

Australia just had its hottest day in history, we’re down to around half the trees we had on the planet since human civilization began, and we have only about 10 more years to prevent a global climate catastrophe. To take on this crisis, we need to make the entire decade of the 2020s full of meaningful change.

But, just as with the other New Year’s resolutions, don’t be vague. Promise to do something in particular, such as planting 50 trees, attending 5 climate strikes, or sharing ideas to take climate action. Make them ambitious—the Earth needs massive change if we’re going to allow our future a fighting chance. 

5. Start a Business

Have you had a business idea in the back of your mind for some time now? Make this upcoming year the one where you finally realize your dreams!

Starting your own business is no easy task, as you can imagine. Not only will you have to deal with the struggles of launching and building momentum, but you have to stay focused, maintain positivity, and keep yourself motivated.

For a bit of a helping hand, bookmark our list of the best entrepreneurship quotes to keep discouragement at bay and give you some inspiration!

6. Learn Something New

Ever wanted to become fluent in Arabic, develop skills in Python, or learn how to drive? There’s no better time than the coming year!

No matter which type of skill you’re keen on developing, make sure to track your progress. This means first having a clearly defined destination as to what constitutes success in your chosen topic, as well as being able to take measurements throughout the year to assess your understanding and see how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to your goal.

7. Land a New Job

Perhaps you’ve been flirting with the idea of finally leaving your job for a while now. Well, a New Year’s resolution may be just the impetus needed to get you to finally take that leap.

For this resolution, however, it’s important not to settle. Make the goal not just that you’ll get a new job, but that you’ll land a gig that you love. That could mean getting into your career rather than another “just-a-job,” or it could mean leaving a toxic workplace in favor of one where you’ll be appreciated and enjoy a healthy work-life balance.

An added bonus: exiting a poor working environment is a win for the “get healthier” New Year’s resolution as well!

If this is your first job, we’ve got a great guide on options for you. Ditto if you’re looking to get an internship.

8. Read Books

One of the annual favorites for New Year’s resolutions is to read a certain number of books per year, say 52 books in 52 weeks, for example.

To succeed at this task, I find it helpful to give yourself a variety of books throughout the year. Not just nonfiction and fiction, but several different genres in each. And, while fiction books I like to read all the way through in one period of time, I break up my nonfiction books into chapters, sprinkling a chapter in here and there in between other books and during short commutes to make for a nice one-two punch.

9. Travel More

As a frequent traveler myself, as well as a culture and travel blogger, I find the value from each trip I take to far exceed almost anything else I could do during the same amount of time. From learning about other cultures to making lifelong friends around the world, adding travels to your New Year’s resolutions is a worthwhile—and fun!— goal.

Lately, there’s been increasing attention on the heavy carbon footprint air travel has on the environment. If you’re concerned about this, go another route, such as by public transportation, train, or boat. 

10. Share Your Ideas

Last but not least, one great New Year’s goal is to resolve to share your ideas with the world. There are many reasons to share ideas, from helping to find answers to pressing matters to searching for solutions that could increase convenience for others.

When you share your ideas with others, you ensure they don’t die in the shower but rather get the visibility, traction, and support they need to potentially become actionable solutions. 

And, there’s no better place to share your idea, large or small, than on Goodwall. With over 1 million members in 150+ countries, your idea will be given the platform it deserves. Try our new “virtual elevator pitch” format for a compelling way to share your message with the community. 
If you’re wondering, here’s how to pitch ideas on Goodwall and all the reasons why sharing ideas on Goodwall is a great idea.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

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Christian Eilers
Written By Christian Eilers
is a writer and expert on the topics of education, entrepreneurship, career advice, travel, and culture. On the Goodwall Blog, he covers topics including self-improvement, social impact, college preparation, career development, climate action, and more. Christian is originally from New York City and now resides in Warsaw, Poland. At his desk, you're sure to find Pickwick, his Devon Rex cat, either attacking his fingers as he types or the monitor as the mouse pointer moves around.

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