Five Worthwhile New Year’s Resolutions

Okay, I understand the compulsion to make New Year’s resolutions. After all, a new year is often seen as a chance for a fresh start. But I’m not a big fan of the typical broad goals people tend to make this time of year.

New Years ResolutionsResolutions like I’m going to lose weight, get organized, learn French, get out of debt, or go to the gym three times a week.

Not that these aren’t all good objectives, but I’m older and wiser and know that two weeks into the new year most of you will go back to your old habits. The time spent contemplating a long list of resolutions is wasted. Worse yet, when all the promises you make to yourself fall by the wayside, it makes you feel bad.

Why put yourself through that? How about making a resolution not to make resolutions anymore?

If that doesn’t work and you still feel compelled to make a list (I don’t have this urge anymore in my 50’s, but I know a lot of you still hang on to this tradition), how about making goals that are worthwhile?

With that in mind, here are five resolutions I think everyone should strive to keep:

  1. Make someone smile every day. Let someone cut in front of you in the grocery line. Compliment someone. Offer to help an elderly person. Tell people you love how much you appreciate them. Do volunteer work that will make a difference in someone’s life. Send a card or bouquet of flowers to someone who is depressed. Make someone’s wish come true.
  2. Resolve to start each day in a positive way. Make time to pray, meditate on spiritual matters, or for some thoughtful introspection. Even if you are rushed, spare a minute to take several slow, deep breaths to stay in the present moment and begin your day with calmness. See my previous blog on this subject for more ideas on how to start your day right.
  3. Do something on your bucket list this year. Conquer a fear. No excuses. Just do it. I’ve crossed a wide range of things off my list over the years like swimming with dolphins, reading the entire Bible, becoming a full-time minister, learning sign language, volunteering with the deaf, zip lining, writing a book, traveling, learning to scuba dive, and starting a blog. Envision your ideal life and take one step this year to making it a reality.
  4. Learn something new every day. Maybe it’s simply learning a new word to increase your vocabulary. Or maybe you’ll take a class, try a new sport or hobby, or learn to play an instrument. It doesn’t matter what it is, just get out of your rut and try something different that excites you.
  5. Get rid of negative people in your life. You know those frenemies you have that suck all the joy out of your life. Say good-bye. Don’t surround yourself with people you secretly despise. I recently read a great blog on this subject. Check it out. While you’re at it, quit being a people-pleaser and learn to say no.

That should be plenty to keep you busy, but if you need more or different goals, here are a few more ideas: clear the clutter from your life, get outside and enjoy nature more, keep a gratitude journal, think more positively, keep life simple, get more sleep, and live in a spiritual, healthy, and productive way.

In other words, do everything in your power to make this year the best one yet!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Hi Julie,
    I do like these if only because they are nicely different than the usual suggestions. I did see another “resolutions” blog (or article) that had a similar feel to it and liked it as well. More about finding ways to do things that will bring joy than trying to change all of our shortcomings.

    I already do #1 as much as I can. It’s amazing how little it takes to bring a smile to someone and that it blesses both of us because I smile too.

    #2 is difficult for me, although I’m endeavoring to improve. I have a negative/depressive bent by default and I’m wanting to change that.

    #3 I don’t really have a bucket list, per se. I usually try not to think a lot about things like these that I’m not sure I’ll ever manage to do because who knows about affording to do them. I did make one of my bucket list items in 2013 – I took a ride in a hot air balloon. 🙂 A happy happenstance that I got to do for free! And in early 2014 I got to go see and photograph the Bald Eagles that winter along the Mississippi river. So, I guess I never know when the ability to do something will pop into existence. 🙂 I envy your swim with the dolphins!

    #4 I try to do that by watching documentaries or by looking up things I hear/read about in books or online.

    #5 At this point, pretty much the only truly negative person in my life who brings me down on a regular basis is me. That said, I don’t want to get rid of me.

    I hope you have a terrific 2015 and thank you for suggesting positive things to have for resolutions. 🙂

    • juliegorges says:

      You put my intent writing this blog so well – resolutions that are “more about finding ways to do things that will bring joy than trying to change all of our shortcomings.” Couldn’t have said it better! And it sounds like you’re already practicing many of the resolutions I mentioned. You’re envious of my swimming with the dolphins (and yes, if you get the chance, it is everything I hoped it would be!) and I’m jealous of your balloon ride – me and my friend have been talking about doing that for awhile, but as you said, sometimes you wait for the right moment and the opportunity presents itself. I hope you have a great 2015, Pearl. Anyone that smiles when they make other people smile deserves it!

  2. Shannon says:

    Great tips! I’ve never been one for resolutions, but I always have a list of goals I’m working towards.
    I love yours and am definitely adding them to my list! I had a goal to do more to appreciate service men and women and veterans and their families. I love the idea of sending flowers! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  3. Suzie Cheel says:

    Julie these are 5 great things to take into 2015 and when we act on these each day we not only empower ourself we create change
    thank you for the inspiration

  4. Ooh! I love this, and am completely inspired by reading this. Thank you! Those are five powerful intentions. I’m going to paint them into my art journal tomorrow, so I’ll have them close at hand.


  5. Brilliant Julie! I totally have left the making resolutions behind me, and continually look for ways to enhance and improve my life in small ways like you mentioned, by giving to others, making a difference and encompassing meaningful missions, like a bucket list entry!
    A lady of my own thinking 🙂

  6. Ellie Walsh says:

    Years ago … I made one resolution that I truly kept — that was — to never make another resolution again! 😉

    You have a great list here to follow that I believe can uplift and inspire. Thanks for sharing….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: