I could fill a notebook with the list of habits and lifestyle changes I’ve said I wanted to make in a New Year but managed to abandon before the end of January.
There’s so many of them and no matter how many times it happens, there’s also always that little nagging feeling of being disappointed in myself when I realize I’ve given it up… again.
Can you relate at all?
I decided to officially do something about it and have spent the last year diving deep into the idea of self-discovery, intentional living, and improving the quality of my overall life.
What I’ve discovered has been life-changing and so I wanted to give you some unique new years resolution ideas to help you improve your life too.
I mean, that’s the whole point of making a new year resolution, right?
It’s a resolution; a decision to do something that will improve some aspect of your life in the new year.
Before I get into it, I feel it’s important to note why I’m considering this list “unique.”
A Millennial Girl’s Guide to Unique New Years Resolution Ideas
It’s a rather simple concept but I wanted to get away from your stereotypical New Year Resolution ideas of losing weight, quitting some bad habit, and calling your grandma more.
I also wanted to avoid mentioning things that cause a real change in your daily schedule.
We all run on autopilot to some degree. Studies have found that we actually spend almost half our day functioning on autopilot. (Source)
The idea that on December 31st you’ll run on auto-pilot and then on January 1st, you’ll immediately start a new habit and stick to it, is a little more unrealistic than most people stop to think about.
I’ve found that over the last year, the things that make the biggest impact in my life, aren’t the habits I’ve quit or started. It’s not the long to-do lists I’ve created for myself or whatever idea is trending at the moment.
Instead, it’s the intentional little tweaks I’ve made that have a lasting effect.
Creative New Year’s Resolutions
1) Swap Your Social Media
Have you ever noticed what an impact your social media feeds have on your life?
I didn’t really start to notice until about a year ago but when I follow people who only have negative things to say, I tend to feel down more.
Time.com released an article specifically discussing the effects that social media has on our happiness. In the article, they discuss how studies found that people who spent more time on social media had higher rates of anxiety and people who took a break from social media saw an increase in their happiness levels compared to the people who continued their regular use of social media.
It’s not something many of us probably think about. Personally, I only used to follow friends, family, and a few other influencers.
What I stopped to think about it, I realized that the findings from the study above held true for me too.
When I follow influencers (note that they are called influencers for a reason) who really only post beautiful pictures of their lives and Sephora hauls, I start to become less satisfied with what I already have.
When I follow people who only rant about whatever political view they have, I feel frustrated. And when I follow people who are friends (or you know, I met them once), I start to compare their adventurous looking lives to mine.
Seriously though, the amount of my college “friends” who have traveled to Europe at this point is astounding. Also, still on my travel bucket list.
BUT, when I follow people who only post motivating, uplifting, and empowering things, I tend to go through my day with more confidence, more happiness, and more intention.
It may sound like a strange change to make, but this New Year, I encourage you to sit down for an hour, unfollow some of those negative accounts or accounts that make you feel less than and swap them out for feeds that are real, encouraging, and life-giving.
You will literally be changing the voices that influence and feed into your life.
(I just finally got on Instagram as part of my new year theme to connect more! You can follow me here!)
2) Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
I know I touched on this a little already but I really feel that it deserves a whole point of its own because it’s such a powerful one!
One of the decisions I made this past year was to stop comparing myself to anyone but myself. A little confusing?
Let me explain…
I see so many amazing women in the media and in my life. So So often in the past, my first instinct was to recognize a trait of theirs that I loved and decided to try and adapt it to myself.
I would compare my ability to do or (more specifically) be something with their ability and was almost always disappointed. The truth was that no matter how hard I tried, my attempted version at whatever they were doing was always only ever a crappy interpretation.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
This last year, I realized that I can never be the best version of someone else. I can only ever be the best version of myself.
So, I decided to stay true to myself instead and I have to say, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
This year, ditch the status quo for the best version of you!
3) Stress Less
There was a time when I would stress out about everything. Little or big, my stress-o-meter was always at full capacity.
I felt like I couldn’t let anything slide because if I couldn’t get it all done and have everything perfect, then obviously that would mean that I didn’t have it all together.
Let me just say, I managed to get a lot done and my appearances were great, but my emotional and mental health were not.
I was getting it all done and stressing about it like it was my full-time job, but I wasn’t enjoying life the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.
So, I probably spent about a year with this question being my motto until stressing less became second nature…
In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?
It’s quite a freeing question, actually. It’s cliche to say it, but I’m going to anyways… You only have ONE life to live.
Did you catch it? Maybe try again…
YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE TO LIVE.
In the grand scheme of things, is it going to matter if that load of laundry doesn’t get folded today?
In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that your child’s outfit wasn’t perfect for picture day?
In the grand scheme of life, when you’re looking back, will the fact that you couldn’t keep up with your neighbors perfectly set Thanksgiving table matter?
I’m going to guess that answer is “no”. No, it will not.
So this New Year, set yourself free. Stress Less.
4) Accept Yourself. Love Yourself.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard the hype around “self-care” and while I do strongly believe that’s important, it isn’t exactly what I’m referring to here.
Just for a moment think about the way you treat the person you love the most in this world. The loving things you say to them and do for them.
Now think about the things you say to yourself; the way you treat yourself.
Would you say the same things to your loved one that you say yourself? Would you treat them the way you treat yourself?
Personally, I used to be terrible about this. The number of times that I silently tore myself down in my thoughts is countless… I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not liked enough. I am not enough.
At every twist and turn, I would tell myself that I don’t measure up.
Ironically, if someone were to ever tell a person I loved or a stranger for that matter, the things I told myself, the fierce protector within me would quickly rise up.
So often, we are rather abusive to ourselves. I don’t really say that lightly either.
“If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.” – Mel Robbins
This year, I challenge you to accept yourself for who you are the way you accept your loved ones for they are.
Let this be the year you change the way you speak to yourself.
This year, love yourself for who you are because you are enough.
5) Be More Affirming
While we’re on the topic of negative self-talk, I want to just slide right into the next point.
Not only should we stop speaking negatively to ourselves, but we should also speak more positively to ourselves… and others.
You might be thinking, “isn’t that the same thing?”…
It’s a lot easier to replace thoughts than it is to just stop them. When we stop them, there’s a void. So we need to replace them with positivity.
But I don’t just mean this for yourself. I encourage you to be more affirming to yourself AND to others.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the little things and just trying to feel like I’m surviving life, that I forget to take a moment to recognize the good things.
This year, be more intentional about recognizing and verbally affirming the good around you.
6) Realize Only You Have the Power
Have you ever thought about something you wanted so you went to the store and got it?
Well, the same sort of principle applies to just about everything you want in life.
If you want something in the future, only you can make it happen to get that thing.
If you want to lose weight, go figure out what you need to do to make that happen. If you want to make more money, go figure out what you need to do to make that happen. If you want a better relationship with your significant other, go figure out what you need to do to make that happen. If you want a cleaner house, go figure out what you need to do to make that happen.
Only you have the power to make that first stride towards whatever you want.
Unless you have a fairy godmother, (in which case, can you tell me how to get one too?) no one is going to get what you want in life without you putting some sort of effort into it.
I used to be eternally stuck on the idea that some people were just lucky enough to get what they wanted and I wasn’t one of them. I used to convince myself (and others) that I didn’t have what I wanted because of someone else, something else, some other factor.
I let my victim mentality get in the way and make excuses to cover up the truth of the matter: I had given up because it didn’t work on my first try.
The day I realized I’m the one who decides what I want and strives after in life and I’m not ever going to quit until I get there, was the day everything changed for me.
“The only person who can kill your dream is you.”
Only you have the power to decide what you want in life and only you have the power to decide to sit back and do nothing about it.
Related Post: How to Set New Year Resolutions You Can Actually Keep
7) Evaluate Your Friendships
This suggestion is the probably the hardest one on my this list of unique New Years Resolution ideas.
Most of us were taught to choose our friends wisely when we were growing up, but as adults, I think we’re sometimes so desperate for friendship that we forget that.
Adulting is really hard as it is and for some strange reason, making friends isn’t as easy as it used to be. So evaluating your friendships can be really difficult to do.
But it’s the people that we spend our time with that bring us down or lift us up. Our lives are the sum of theirs. (Source)
“You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” – Jim Rohn
If you’re looking to make a resolution that helps improve your quality of life, this might be a really good idea for you.
If you take a look at the friends you have, do their lifestyles mirror the one you want? Do their actions and words help you grow?
I’m not saying to cut anyone out completely, but maybe consider distancing yourself from the friendships that aren’t producing positive things.
8) Get to Know Yourself Better
I’m a strong believer in getting to know yourself. I know that may sound strange considering the fact that you are… well, you.
But there’s just something about taking the time to dig deep and discover what makes you… you.
I think we, as humans, have an innate ability to not pay much attention to ourselves and fly through time focused on all the ongoings around us.
We never stop long enough to ask ourselves what we want out of life, why we do what we do, or who we want to be.
I actually believe that it’s possible to not spend enough time with yourself.
It’s always struck me as odd that when we love someone or are trying to get to know someone new, that we’ll take time to ask them questions about themselves, their feelings, and their likes and dislikes to get to know them better.
Why don’t we do this with ourselves?
In the same way that we can grow apart from someone when we don’t take time to talk to them and actively strive to stay connected and know them, we can grow apart from ourselves.
The result of which, I believe, is waking up one day and realizing that you’ve gone with the status quo instead of your dreams, you don’t know what you really want out of life, or who you are anymore… enter midlife crisis.
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.” – Lao Tzu
So this year, my challenge to you is to set aside some time to get to know yourself a little better. Looking for a place to start? Check out these posts on Self Discovery.
9) Be Less Lonely
If you couldn’t tell from my earlier post, there are very few people I follow on social media (which is less about being social and more about self-preservation).
One person I do follow is Jenna Kutcher. She’s always posting such honest and uplifting things.
She recently had a post about being lonely and not having friends go viral.
We’re talking picked up by news outlets, 50,000+ likes, and nearly 7,000 comments viral.
All summing up the same thing: it’s hard to make friends, and many of us feel lonely.
Her post really got me thinking…
I’ve always stuck to having just a couple of close friends but moving around for Josh’s work so much has kept me from being near any of them.
I used to sit around wishing someone would reach out to me. Desperate to have friends. Be accepted. Less lonely.
Seeing Jenna’s post, made me realize something if so many women are wanting to be less lonely; to find friends, then I’m going to guess there’s a whole lot of people sitting out there waiting for someone else to make the first move.
Our fear of not being liked often keeps us from doing this but if you aren’t sitting on your couch thinking they are weird or that they don’t measure up, chances are, they aren’t thinking that about you.
If an Instagram influencer with almost a quarter of a million followers doesn’t have people reaching out to her, chances are you don’t either.
So my challenge to you with this unique New Year’s resolution idea is to be the one to reach out.
Maybe it’s to one person a day, maybe it’s one person a month but just maybe, it’s to your next amazing friend.
10) Be More Present
The older I get, the faster time moves. I can’t lie, the speed at which days, weeks, and months go by actually scares me a tiny bit.
I made a resolution earlier this year to be more present in my everyday. To live in the moment and not just towards the future.
We have such a future-focused culture that we get distracted by technology and trying to keep up on what’s “in”. We’re afraid of missing out on the viral cat video that everyone else has seen because we fear being the only person who hasn’t seen it.
But we’re trading our knowledge of what’s going on in the world, for actually experiencing ours.
Don’t let life fly by for the sake of the future. This year, be more present and enjoy the moment. Put the phone away, notice the life around you, and live that moment to its fullest.
Because I promise you, when you’re older and looking back on your life, it’s not going to be the cat video that will add to your memories.
11) Buy Less. Experience More.
This is a bit of an extension of the last point but maybe from a slightly different angle.
Last year, for Josh’s job, he was being sent to do four months of traveling with the end result being a move from where we were living. Since I work from my computer and we were going to be moving anyways, we decided to make it an adventure.
We packed up our whole house, put it in storage, and set out in our Prius with the main essentials.
Long story short, we ended up living out of our car and hotels for a total of ten months. TEN MONTHS!
Since we didn’t have any room, it seriously forced us to only buy essential things. At first, it drove me nuts. I couldn’t buy those extra cute mugs I saw on clearance at Target. I couldn’t order all the things Amazon suggested to me. I couldn’t really buy much of anything.
BUT, we were seeing so many amazing things. I finally got to mark attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade off my bucket list and we walked the Freedom Trail in Boston. We made our first ever visit to Disney World, I ate the best grits I’ve ever had in Charleston, SC, and I saw the most beautiful fall scenery in Rhode Island.
Here’s the kicker, I was happier living out of a suitcase and crappy hotels than I ever was in my four-bedroom house near the beach in sunny Florida.
What I learned is it’s not the stuff that makes you happy in life, it’s the experiences.
This year, hang onto the money you were going to spend on stuff and spend it on experiences instead.
I highly doubt you’ll regret it.
12) Say “No” So You Can Say “Yes”
Learning to say “no” is an up and coming topic lately. One that I have to admit, I’m kind of loving!
I used to be so terrible about saying “yes” to everything. I felt that I was somehow serving others when I said “yes” and that in saying “no” I was being selfish.
With the amount that this topic has come up lately, I know that I’m not the only one. Which to be honest makes me feel a lot better because I was feeling OVERWHELMED.
Seriously though, I was saying yes to everything but felt like I was getting nothing done. Anyone else feel this way?
At some point, I realized that saying no wasn’t about being selfish. It was about prioritizing.
When we say no to things that don’t make as big of an impact as we’d like to think, it makes room for us to say yes to the important things in life.
Josh and I started saying no more often to “social” work engagements that were just for showing face and had no impact on our careers so that we could say yes more often to spending time with each other and family.
And I have to be honest, it’s been amazing!
The easiest way to put this into practice is to set some boundaries for yourself this year. When a situation arises, you’ll know exactly what your boundaries are and can stick to them!
Check out this awesome post from Natalie Bacon for more tips on learning to say “no”!
13) Be More Honest With Yourself
There are enough lies thrown your way on a daily basis. Don’t add to them.
This year, be more honest with yourself because the right kind of change only comes about when you tell the truth.
Instead of shutting down the truth because it hurts or it’s not what you want to hear or admit, be honest with yourself so you can start to make progress towards positive change.
If you aren’t happy in life, be honest with yourself about why. Then make a change.
If you haven’t been able to lose weight, be honest with yourself about why. Then make a change.
If you don’t chase after your dreams, be honest with yourself about why. Then make a change.
If you’re scared to make the change, be honest with yourself about why. Then make a change.
I’ll just leave you with this one thought on the topic: Are you okay with the idea of your life being exactly the same one year from today? Or do you want to make a change?
14) Identify & Overcome the Fear Holding You Back
I kind of saved my favorite for last. The number of times I’ve allowed fear to hold me back in life could fill all the notebooks in my house (and there’s a lot of them cause I’m a notebook fanatic).
I now say that I’m a recovering fear addict and I really do mean that. I was scared of everything not inside my comfort zone. I used the fear I felt like an excuse, a blanket of sorts to keep myself from stepping out.
In fact, I think a part of me started to welcome feeling a little afraid because every time, I would give in.
I let it dictate my life and hold me back.
Fear is the biggest barrier of them all.
My saving grace was the dreams I had inside me… and being married to Josh who was my total opposite.
Being with him kind of forced me to step outside of my fears and the dreams within me helped fuel the fire.
I’m proud to say that while it’s still a work in progress as I grow and new things arise in life, I have come a very long way in this area.
In the beginning, this came through trial and error, but I eventually created a method for overcoming my fear.
Now, it’s my go-to practice when a moment of opportunity arises and I’m feeling scared to take it.
One of my greatest desires is that other people could learn to overcome their fears too. To chase after their own dreams in life.
There are so many stories like mine. Everyone has a dream inside them but not everyone lets their dream out.
I hope you have enjoyed reading through this list of unique New Years resolution ideas.
Don’t feel like you have to put every one of these ideas into action. Just pick the few that best fit your current lifestyle. You can always add later.
Whatever you choose, I hope you find the perfect life changing one for you because you deserve it!
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