If you buy a product or service through the links found on The Giving Assistant blog, we may earn an a commission.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Help Crush Your 2021 Goals

Deal Alert! Unlike your resolutions (nice work, by the way!) some of the limited-time deals mentioned in this post have fizzled out. The good news? There’s still time to snag some of today’s best deals—and cash back boosts. Hurry! Don’t miss these! Check ’em out here.

Say “hello” to another year of change!

Researchers estimate that nearly 60 percent of us dream up a New Year’s resolution list each year—only to find that before January has come to an end—most people have already said “goodbye” to their annual pledges.

By year’s end, only about 8 percent of resolution-makers claim they have reached their goals.

So, cheers to fresh starts!

This is the year you’ll crush all the goals you set for yourself.

List of 25 New Year’s Resolution Goals to Inspire You

1. Exercise More

Right behind losing weight, exercising more is one of the most popular New Year’s resolution ideas that people embrace each year. No wonder places like Planet Fitness see a lot of new faces in January, looking to endure fat-burning cardio and to hit the treadmill.

The benefits of getting enough exercise in your life are endless, such as the following:

  • Reducing heart disease risks
  • Managing diabetes
  • Boosting the mood
  • Promoting healthy bones, joints, and muscles

And you don’t need to join a “club” to get started; you can download an Insanity workout, bike-ride around the neighborhood, hike with the kids, or swim laps at the YMCA.

If you are looking for home work-out equipment, be sure to take advantage of Titan Fitness’ New Year’s 20% off sale.

Tip for sticking with it: Get a fitness buddy. It takes more than a gym membership and a new Peloton to stay motivated in the New Year. Enlist the help of a friend who is full of positive encouragement. He or she will keep you accountable, and you’ll be more likely to press on.

2. Get Fit and Healthy in Moderation

Getting fit and healthy adds years to your life, but you have to acknowledge that it takes time, patience, and a dose of reality to make the kind of lifestyle changes that last.

It’s essential to settle on an exercise and diet plan that will produce results at a pace you can handle. You don’t want to become a part of the approximately 80 percent of resolution makers that U.S. News says fail by the second week of February.

So, be real with yourself! It’s important to physically and mentally prepare for this journey. Take your time getting where you want to be, so you don’t fall victim to fatigue and frustration.

Tips for sticking with it: Make small changes first. Ease into your New Year’s resolutions. Don’t banish chocolate cake forever or force yourself to exercise seven days a week. Instead, take baby steps towards crushing your get-fit goals. Start the day with light stretches. Swap soda for lemon water. Go for a 15-minute walk after dinner.

3. Find Time to Meditate

Quiet the noise of everyday life with meditation, an ancient practice that involves a variety of techniques aimed at achieving mental clarity and emotional peacefulness.

Research has proven that popular forms of meditation, such as yoga, tai chi, and breathing exercises, can reduce blood pressure, fight Alzheimer’s disease, and help manage pain.

Tip for sticking with it: Create a personal mantra. Affirmations, like “I am fierce, and I can do this,” can inspire and motivate you to stay true to your resolutions. Repeat these words of encouragement to yourself whenever you feel like giving up or need to refocus your mind.

4. Eat Healthier Snacks

Beat the 3 p.m. stomach rumble without doing damage to your waistline.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, American adults get around 24 percent of their daily calories from snacks. That means it’s in your best interest to choose items that provide an adequate balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to hold you over until dinner.

Tip for sticking with it: Prepack 100-calorie snacks. Instead of reaching for a candy bar or chips, have a Ziploc bag on hand that’s filled with healthy snack swaps—think mixed nuts, frozen grapes, string cheese, beef jerky, and celery sticks and hummus.

Order heart-healthy snacks from Thrive Market and get $20 cash back on a new membership.

5. Drink More Water

Consume at least eight glasses of water a day (give or take a few, depending on your weight and activity level) to help your body reach its full potential.

After all, up to 60 percent of the adult human body is comprised of water, and it needs to be routinely replenished to prevent dehydration. Water also cleanses toxins from the body, fuels your immune system, quiets hunger pangs, and delivers a temporary boost to your metabolism.

Tip for sticking with it: Drink fruit-infused aqua. Sometimes plain water is hard to swallow and it’s easier to chug down the ounces when you’ve added a little flavor. Citrus fruits, like orange, lemon, and lime, are a tasty enhancement.

Never buy a case of water again when you install a trusted water treatment system such as a Pelican Water System. Plus earn 10% cash back on your total purchase.

6. Become a Blood Donor

Giving the gift of life-saving blood doesn’t cost a thing; it’s a simple, effective way to support people in need of a blood transfusion. You’ll get a chance to support individuals and families affected by natural disasters, severe trauma, and surgical complications.

A single donation of blood can help save up to three lives. The American Red Cross and community blood banks host blood drives throughout the year. They aren’t hard to locate.

Tip for sticking with it: Join a mailing list. Since it’s okay to donate blood every eight weeks or so, sign up to receive alerts and learn when you can assist during times of greatest need.

7. Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination and getting side-tracked from the things you need or want to do in life can quickly derail a New Year’s resolution list before it ever gets moving in the right direction.

Distractions often get in the way of the focus, persistence, and patience needed to stick with resolutions. Stay on task by removing visual stresses that threaten to interrupt your progress.

Tip for sticking with it: De-clutter your personal spaces. Unnecessary clutter has a way of drawing your attention away from the things you need to get done. Clear your desk, countertops, and shelves of pointless possessions with no real value. The more you remove, the easier it gets to use your time wisely and focus on completing your to-do lists.

8. Learn a New Language

Improve your cognitive skills and expand your horizons by learning to speak a different dialect.

Becoming fluent in Spanish is an excellent place to start; it’s the second-most spoken language in the United States, after English. And by 2050, the Association of Spanish Language Academies predicts the U.S. will become the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.

Candidates with bi-lingual skills stand out and have a competitive edge in today’s job market.

Another plus: It’s never too late to learn a language and you don’t have to go back to school.

Tip for sticking with it: Download an app. Turn your mobile device into an on-the-go classroom by subscribing to a language learning app, such as Babbel or Rosetta Stone. Build vocabulary and become fluent through easy-to-follow lessons you complete at your own pace.

9. Talk More, Text Less

Spend less time with your face in the phone, and more time having face-to-face conversations with family and friends. This year, take steps to reduce your dependency on digital devices.

A study commissioned by Nokia revealed that the average smartphone user checks his or her device an average of 150 times within 16 hours. That’s a lot of time spent reading texts, sending emoji hearts, confirming the weather, and counting social media views and likes.

Reconnect with loved ones and make more of an effort to engage in real-time communication. Ask everyone to share one good thing about their day around the dinner table. Stop by a friend’s place just to say, “I miss you, how have you been?”

Tip for sticking with it: Disable smartphone notifications. To limit the number of times that you glance at, interact with, and become distracted with your mobile devices, turn off non-essential notifications such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, news alerts, and games.

10. Reduce and Reuse

Have a positive impact on the environment by making lifestyle changes that reduce your reliance on plastic and limit the amount of waste you contribute to local landfills.  

Additives used to make plastics stronger, durable, and more flexible can extend the life of these problematic products—to the point that some will take at least 400 years to break down.

Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste from coastal nations pollute global waters.

If you embrace planet-friendly alternatives and reuse plastic products, you’ll play a role in redirecting waste that could wind up infiltrating our oceans.

Tip for sticking with it: Invest in reusable goods. A few eco-smart choices include carrying groceries home in reusable totes, transporting coffee in a thermos instead of single-use cups, sipping drinks through stainless steel straws, and saying “no” to plasticware for take-out orders.

Invest in a new Hydro Flask and save 10%.

11. Get More Active

Calling all couch potatoes and office workers who sit at a desk all day!

Add more activity to your daily routine to combat bad posture, poor circulation, and blood clots—all negative effects often associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Start slowly by increasing the number of steps you take each day, like climbing stairs instead of riding the elevator. A more ambitious New Year’s resolution is to train for a marathon, which gets you in better shape, tones your legs, and improves your quality of sleep.

Tip for sticking with it: Buy comfortable running shoes. Whether you’re walking the dog or going for a morning jog, you won’t get far wearing ill-fitting footwear.

The best time to shop for a new pair of Nikes is after 4 p.m., which takes into account any swelling your feet may experience in the evening. Don’t forget to give your toes enough wiggle room.

12. Get Enough Quality Sleep

Sleep deficiency is no joke. It’s more than having bags under the eyes; lack of sleep is linked to increased risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, and obesity.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, your body uses energy while asleep, which means you’re burning calories even when you’re catching zzz’s—a healthy person weighing 125 pounds burns approximately 38 calories per hour of sleep.

Tip to sticking with it: Create a quiet nighttime environment. Blue light emitted from screened devices inhibits melatonin production which can reduce sleep quality. Turn off and shut down TVs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and all other types of gadgets that glow, blink, or beep to cut down on audio and visual distractions that can disrupt your slumber.

Try an essential oil aroma diffuser to help you sleep better.

13. Save More and Spend Less

One of the top five New Year’s resolution ideas is also one of the most commonly failed: saving money. It’s a goal that’ll help you in the long run—from paying off a bill to building a nest egg for emergencies. But, it’s not always the easiest one to stick to.

According to The Motley Fool, one out of three Americans doesn’t have any retirement savings. One of the most beneficial ways to start is to set a realistic budget and make small changes that pinch pennies and eliminate frivolous expenses (like saying “no” to lunchtime lattes at Starbucks).

Tips for sticking with it: Cut costs with coupons. Clip, print, and scan coupons to save at the grocery store. When shopping online, use Giving Assistant to earn cash back and save with promo codes while shopping at your favorite retailers. Try an investment app such as Acorns to help build savings by rounding up each of your purchases.

14. Make More Time for Family and Friends

You know what’s more priceless than saving money? Making an investment in your relationships! The rewards are endless when you spend more time with family and friends.

Research suggests that family time can:

  • develop a stable support system and strengthen family bonds
  • improve a child’s academic performance
  • enhance communication and problem-solving skills
  • increase chances for success

Spending time with friends provides adults with healthy outlets to relax, unwind, let off steam, and indulge in activities that children cannot participate in, like attending a wine-tasting event.

Tip for sticking with it: Mark it on the calendar. Sync up your schedules with family and friends and designate a day of the week or organize a monthly get-together that is consistent. Create alerts that remind you when it’s time to have fun with quality family-and-friends time.

15. Cut Back on Alcohol

Scale back alcohol consumption to reap a host of mental, physical, and social benefits that can improve your mood, skin, immune system, relationships, and sleep. Plus, you save money!

A person who enjoys two drinks a day at around $7 a pop spends at least $100 a week on alcohol. This adds up to roughly $400 per month, if he or she consumes every day.

That money could be better spent on having memorable experiences, like a hot air balloon ride, museum-hopping, visiting the Grand Canyon, backpacking with friends, or buying a new car.

Tip for sticking with it: Only toast on special occasions. One way to change your relationship with alcohol is to break out the bubbly or tip a few beers when only celebrating distinct moments, holidays, and milestones, like weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.

16. Donate to a Charity

Pick an organization or cause that matters to you and give what you can. Take care in knowing that your contribution has a positive impact that far exceeds any monetary gesture.

Every little bit helps.

In developing countries, all it takes is a few U.S. dollars to make a difference. For example, the Life You Can Save Impact Calculator indicates a contribution of just $2 donated to Against Malaria Foundation helps protect one person from malaria for three to four years, on average.

Tip for sticking with it: Download the Giving Assistant button. Our browser extension shares the latest discounts and promo codes that’ll help you earn cash back (when you buy from select retailers). You can then choose to donate a portion (or all) of it to your favorite nonprofit.

17. Find a New Hobby

Explore a new interest to expand your abilities, relax, and enjoy creative outlets that make you happy. Tap into the things you’ve always wanted to learn more about or try, like tackling a home improvement project, making T-shirts, or taking a painting class. Check out Groupon for some local activities and earn up to 7% cash back!

One inspiring benefit of hobbies is that some, like crafting and photography, can turn into profitable side jobs and careers. Michael J. Kittredge’s first wax creation, a candle gift made from melted crayons, jumpstarted a garage business, which led him to launch Yankee Candle.

Tip for sticking with it: Join a club. Becoming a part of a group means you get a chance to make new friends as you pursue a new hobby. Nowadays, you don’t have to leave your house to participate (if you don’t want to). Facebook Groups make it especially easy for introverts and homebodies to connect with others.

18. Read More Books

You might not dust off 50 books a year like Bill Gates, but take the word of some of the world’s most successful CEOs when they say that reading has been the key to their success.

Reading is valuable for all ages and comes with endless benefits that can help you:

  • develop your thoughts and formulate well-rounded opinions
  • strengthen your vocabulary, grammar, critical thinking, and writing skills
  • improve your memory function and focus
  • expand your knowledge of the world and exercise the mind

January is ideal for setting a goal to read a specific number of books by year’s end.

Tip for sticking with it: Start a book club. Ask friends and family to read the same classic novel or bestseller as you. Then, host a get-together and lead a discussion. Tackle a new book every month (or two). This way, you’ll stay motivated to finish a handful of titles throughout the year and have a chance to share your opinions about decent reads with others.

Get 2% cash back when you buy from Barnes & Noble.

19. Be On Time (or Early)

It starts with missing out on a Black Friday deal or having to reschedule a doctor’s appointment, and the next thing you know, you’re squandering golden opportunities, like arriving late and making a horrific first impression at the interview for your dream job.

A recent survey revealed that tardy Californians cost their state more than $1 billion each year; being consistently late is one of the main reasons why employees get fired.

The most significant benefit to being on time (or early) to events is not missing out on the things you really want to do and have in life (like keeping your job or getting a promotion).

Tip for sticking with it: Plan for pitfalls. You might be on track to completing a project or reaching a destination in time, but everything else may not align accordingly—think traffic jams, bad weather, computer glitches, and running out of gas.

Add a “buffer” to your schedule. Try adding 25 percent of your time estimate to do any task or get anywhere. For example, if If it takes 45 minutes to reach work, give yourself an hour.

Try a new Apple Watch to help you stay on time and Giving Assistant members can automatically donate 3% of their total purchase!

20. Reduce Stress

Improve your relationships, quality of life, and overall health by leading a less stressful life.

Researchers at the University of California have also discovered that chronic stress will make you look older much faster than you’d like. Stress prevents new cells from growing as quickly as they should, which can lead to unwelcome signs of aging, like wrinkles and even poor eyesight.

Tip for sticking with it: Find a favorite workout. Combat stress with regular activity, and you’ll actively fight against one of life’s most destructive threats to your happiness. Dance like no one’s watching, take long walks with the dog, or go for bike rides to lower stress and anxiety. All of these activities release endorphins that can improve your sleep and self-image.

21. Clean Out the Closets

You’d be surprised what comes out of hiding when you clear out and reorganize a closet.

Shoes with broken heels. Stained T-shirts. Jeans that never fit right.

It’s time to de-clutter and free up some space—both mentally and fashionably. Keep the items you absolutely love, wear all the time, and that makes you feel good. Get rid of clothing and accessories that no longer represent your style or you simply can’t squeeze into anymore.

Get organized with Bed Bath And Beyond storage bags.

Tip for sticking with it: Rather than throwing clothing away, why not donate it? Donate clothing that is too small. Shed the sentimental memories of clothes that are now unflattering and focus on dressing the current “you” in the coming year.

For every bag of ill-fitting threads that you drop off at the Goodwill or Rescue Mission Thrift Store, buy one new item to celebrate the New Year.

22. Keep Your Health in Check

We all know mammograms, colonoscopies, and yearly physicals are no fun, but taking these exams for granted could put your health in danger. Don’t wait until you’re sick to see a doctor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites that nearly 900,000 Americans die each year prematurely from the five leading causes of death, which are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke.

Surprisingly, 20 to 40 percent of the deaths from each cause is preventable.

Get in the habit of keeping up with annual health exams. It’s one of the best ways to prevent, detect, and fight future diseases. A family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer can creep up at any time.

Tip for sticking with it: Make all appointments in January. Break out the calendar after New Year’s Day and schedule all of your yearly check-ups and routine screenings in advance, including a visit to the dentist. Then set reminders to stay on top of these critical dates.

23. Protect Your Skin

Shield yourself from harmful UV rays year-round to prevent premature aging of the skin and protect against one of the most preventable forms of cancer:, skin cancer.

Keep in mind that the sun’s rays are at their brightest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (and can still cause skin damage on a cloudy day). Opt for sunscreen products that are “water-resistant” and “sweat-proof” for the best results in the summertime.

Skinceuticals offers a daily sunscreen that provides effective protection from photoaging and a high level of broad spectrum sun protection with chemical-free UV filters.

Tip for sticking with it: Cover all your bases. Optimal skin protection involves more than a slather of sunscreen on a sunny day. It means having other items handy, like a tinted lip balm with SPF 15 or higher, lightweight hats, and a pair of cool shades.

24. Plan a Vacation

Having something fun to look forward to is excellent motivation for keeping up with your top New Year’s resolutions to get fit, lose weight, spend more time with family, and save money.

Vacations not only provide an outlet for people to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate but research also shows that planning a trip boosts happiness for weeks leading up to a getaway.

Tip for sticking with it: Find innovative ways to save. Book affordable accommodations through Airbnb. Use a Groupon to enjoy discounted activities, restaurants, and experiences. Get around for less with a car rental from Expedia.

25. Give Back to the Community

It feels good to give back, and that’s not all! Research shows that becoming a frequent neighborhood volunteer can boost self-esteem, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure.

You can start small, like joining others on the third Monday in January (to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day) and participate in a National Day of Service. Keep an eye out for organized community events, like park clean-ups or volunteering at a food drive.

Tip for sticking with it: Strength in numbers. Every month, designate a personal day of service that encourages family and friends to play a part. Visit a nursing home. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Raise funds for a fun run. Collect canned goods during the holidays.

Get started and stick to the plan

You certainly have enough New Year’s resolution ideas and tips to take into consideration. To increase your chances of sticking to your 2021 resolutions, pick a few goals and take things slow.

You got this!

And if you ever need help being more charitable this year, use Giving Assistant! Our browser extension, the Giving Assistant Button, helps you earn cash back while shopping online, which you can later split with your choice of nonprofit.

Over 1.5 million worthy causes are waiting in the wings—even small, local ones making a difference in your hometown.

All year-round, shop over 3,000 stores and take advantage of one of the easiest ways to help charitable organizations do more in 2021.

Learn more about Giving Assistant here.