2021 is almost at a close. It’s the time of year when everyone reflects on the past and looks to the future. And part of looking to the coming year of 2022 is making New Year’s resolutions.
Coming up with New Year’s resolutions is always a tricky process. You want to challenge yourself, but you also want to remain realistic.
To help you strike this balance, we’ve put together a list of twelve good New Year’s resolutions to consider for 2022.
Whether you want to improve your health, advance your career, or just be a slightly better person, there’s a resolution for you on this list.
Cooking is one of the most useful skills you can learn. It saves you money, provides you with access to healthy food, and is a gateway to enriching social activities such as dinner parties. Not to mention, it can be lots of fun.
However, simply resolving to “cook more” isn’t concrete enough to be useful. Instead, I recommend committing to cooking one new (to you) meal every month.
The meals don’t have to be elaborate, nor the cuisine unfamiliar. What matters is that you’re expanding your cooking skills and your repertoire of meals.
If you learned just one new dish/meal every month, then by the end of the year you’d have more than enough to cook a different meal each day of the week. This ensures that you won’t get bored of eating the same two or three meals over and over again.
Journaling is a powerful, accessible way to learn more about yourself. It helps you purge and process all the wild thoughts bouncing around in your head. Plus, it provides a record of your life that you (or even future generations) can reflect on later.
Most people fail to stick with journaling because they overcommit. Writing 500 words or three pages or whatever each day sounds great. But in practice, it often ends up being too much to keep up with.
Instead, make journaling as low-effort as possible. Write just one sentence per day. If you feel like writing more, that’s great! But even if you only write one sentence a day for a year, you’ll have a lot to look back on.
With so many of us working from home these days, it’s all too easy to spend an entire day without seeing the sun or feeling the breeze.
That’s why another good New Year’s resolution is to spend time outside each day. Of course, there may be days when the weather truly prohibits you from going outdoors. But generally, you should be able to spare 15-20 minutes for a walk around the block.
While it doesn’t matter when you go outside, I recommend taking a walk first thing each morning. This way, no matter what happens during the rest of the day, you’ve already gotten some exercise and time outdoors.
Sometime last year, I realized I was spending the majority of my waking hours wearing headphones.
Whether I was working, exercising, or relaxing, I always had audio pumping into my ears. After reading this essay, I realized this constant stream of audio was isolating me from the real world and eliminating space for deep thought.
So I decided that, unless I’m working in a noisy environment or listening closely to music, I won’t wear headphones. I encourage you to give the same a try.
If nothing else, you’ll feel more connected to the physical world, no longer isolated from its sounds. But you may also find that your mind is calmer, your thoughts less chaotic. Without audio to fill the silence, your mind will be free to wander and wonder.
Mornings tend to be a chaotic and stressful time, especially if you have to commute to an office. But imagine how much calmer your morning would be if you got up 30 minutes earlier.
Within those extra 30 minutes, you’d have time to do things like:
- Make delicious coffee
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Prepare a healthy lunch
- Write a journal entry
- Collect your thoughts for the workday ahead
What’s more, getting up 30 minutes earlier is a very achievable goal. All you have to do is go to bed 30 minutes earlier. This may mean one fewer episode of your favorite show each evening, but that’s a trivial price to pay for a calmer morning.
Without regular care and attention, a friendship can begin to fade. To prevent this from happening, you must nurture your friendships.
This is especially important for friends you don’t see very often. For instance, one of my best friends lives several states away, and we only see each other in person once or twice per year. To keep this relationship from fading in the interim, I try to call him at least once per month and text him at least once per week.
Your situation will be different, of course. But whatever the circumstances, you can resolve to call, text, or otherwise check in with a cherished friend more often.
“Read more books” is a classic New Year’s resolution. Some people even get more specific, resolving to read one book per month or 25 pages per day.
In my experience, these types of resolutions rarely last. Typically, this is because people try to force themselves to read books they don’t like.
Therefore, instead of resolving to read more books, resolve to only read books you enjoy. If you enjoy what you’re reading, you’ll naturally read more.
Don’t worry about what books you “should” read. Don’t worry about reading “deep” or “intellectual” books. Read what interests you! Life is too short to force yourself to read books you hate.
Budgeting can change your life.
With a budget, you can:
- Find extra money to pay down debt
- Plan for large, future purchases (such as a downpayment on a home)
- Discover ways to save money on everyday expenses
- Remove the fear and stress from personal finances
If you’re not sure you can make or stick to a budget, I recommend checking out You Need a Budget (YNAB).
YNAB is the only app that’s made me excited about budgeting, and it could do the same for you. To learn more about YNAB, check out our full review.
Cleaning is one of life’s necessary evils. You know you’ll enjoy your space more when it isn’t dirty, but it takes forever to clean. So you put it off, and each day it gets a bit worse.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. If you resolve to clean a little bit every day, then your living space will never get to the point where it takes hours to clean.
Much of this comes down to smaller habits.
For instance, I have a rule that whenever I’m done eating, I must clear all the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. This prevents dishes from piling up around the house or in the sink, and it only takes a couple of minutes each day.
Or, take sweeping the floor. If you go without doing it for a week, the floor will get gross. But if you do it a bit every day, it will only take a few minutes.
It sounds simple, but making cleaning a quick, daily task will reduce your stress and mean that you rarely have to spend hours cleaning.
Fitness and exercise goals are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions out there. While I encourage you to improve your fitness and spend more time exercising, many of these resolutions are destined to fail.
Typically, fitness resolutions fail because they’re too ambitious. Jogging every day sounds great, for example, but is that even realistic with your schedule? Or what if the weather’s bad and you can’t get outside?
Instead, I encourage you to make a simpler resolution: do something active every day. Because this is such a broad resolution, you have no excuse to skip it. No matter where you are, you can do something active. Even if it’s just taking the stairs or busting out some push-ups.
Note: I’m not saying that doing something active every day is a substitute for a regular fitness routine. But if you aren’t in the habit of exercising regularly, resolving to do something active each day is a much more realistic place to start than going to the gym three times per week.
Everyone thinks they need to learn to code. While coding is an extremely marketable skill, you’d often be better off learning to use an app that’s relevant to what you currently do.
My job, for instance, involves very little code. But I’d be lost if I didn’t know how to use:
- Ahrefs (for keyword research)
- WordPress (for formatting, publishing, and updating articles)
- Notion (for project management)
- Photoshop (for preparing images for articles)
Your job and field likely have their own “industry standard” apps. Resolve this year to learn one of these apps from scratch.
Or, if you’re already competent in all the apps you need, resolve to improve your skills in an app you already use.
Not only will this make you better at your current job, but it will also open you up to additional opportunities in your field.
“Travel more” is another common New Year’s resolution. If you have the time and money, then go for it! But if your budget and time are more limited, remember that you can be a tourist in your city as well.
What does this look like? In general, it means seeing your city with fresh eyes. Put aside all your preconceptions and experience the city as if for the first time. Here are some activities that can help:
- Go to a local museum (bonus points if they have information about your city’s history)
- Visit a local landmark
- Explore a part of town you’ve never visited
- Eat at a new restaurant
- Hang out at a local park
- Get around by bike or foot (which let you slow down and observe the city)
- Stay in an Airbnb or hotel in a different neighborhood
Besides helping you appreciate your city and shaking things up, you might even make a few new friends in the process of your exploration!
If you’re struggling to choose a New Year’s resolution, I hope this article has given you some helpful ideas.
However, picking the resolution is just the first step. To learn how to follow through with your New Year’s resolutions, read this next.
Image Credits: fireworks over water