As we step into the new year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your journey the past year and set some empowering goals for the future! Here are 24 awesome New Year’s resolutions that you might consider setting to improve your physical and mental health. These aren’t the same old vague resolutions, but rather fun and actionable ideas you can actually stick with.
24 New Year’s Resolutions for 2024
Ready to set some goals? Let’s do this!
1. Master a specific fitness skill
Challenge yourself by finally mastering that fitness skill that has seemed a bit too challenging! Here are a few ideas:
- Be able to do X push-ups
- Do a pull-up
- Do a handstand
- Run a mile in under X minutes
- Run a 5K in under X minutes (for beginners, a sub-30 5K is a fun goal to work towards!)
- Do jump rope tricks
- Climb the toughest rock wall at the local climbing gym
- Do a pistol squat
Once you choose the skill you want to accomplish, break it down into bite-sized steps to get you to your goal of achieving it. For example, if your goal is to be able to do five push-ups, this month might start with doing two sets of ten push-ups on an elevated surface (like a countertop or sturdy table). Then you’d build on that each month, working your way to full blown push ups on the floor.
2. Incorporate 10 minutes of midday movement.
Many of us spend a large majority of the day at work, and it can be tough to get motivated to go to the gym after a long day. If you consistently find yourself faltering on movement after work, why not start by incorporating it into the middle of your day?
Ten minutes of walking or simple strength exercises (like squats, push-ups, etc.) can reinvigorate your energy levels, helping with that mid-day slump and enhancing mental clarity when you return to your desk. It can also boost your mood and improves physical health. Just about anyone can spare ten minutes in the day – that’s only 2% of an 8-hour workday!
3. Eat in the evening without TV.
If you find yourself eating your evening meal or nighttime snacks while vegging out to television each night, consider setting a resolution to turn off the tube. When you’re focused on the television, you may not be focused on mindful eating.
Instead, sit down and savor your meal! Pay attention to the delicious tastes, and (if applicable) enjoy a conversation with those around you. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This helps foster a healthy relationship with all types of foods.
4. Create a 15-minute morning routine.
Mornings can feel so hectic, rushing to get everyone dressed and out the door (whether that is yourself, your kids, or both!). This year, set a resolution to get up just 15 minutes earlier each day, and use that time for a routine that helps your health (whether physical, mental, or spiritual).
You could break that 15 minutes into three 5-minute blocks, or spend the entire 15 minutes on one activity. Here are some ideas for things you could include in your morning routine:
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Reading a book
- Drinking coffee or tea in silence
- Writing affirmations
- Listening to a podcast
- Taking a walk outside
If you don’t think this is feasible to do every day, maybe you just do it on weekdays, or on weekends, or 3 days per week. Choose an option that works for you!
5. Eat seafood twice a week.
Around 80-90% of Americans don’t meet the Dietary Guidelines’ goal of eating seafood at least twice a week, according to the CDC and a study in Nutrients. But seafood is packed with protein, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and is a good source of Vitamin D! Eating more seafood has been linked to brain, heart, and eye health benefits.
For your resolution this year, make it a goal to incorporate seafood twice a week. Here are some tasty ideas you might enjoy:
- Tuna potato salad (one of my all-time favorite recipes!)
- Jerk shrimp salad
- Monkfish rolls
- Air fryer whole sea bass
- Steak and shrimp stir fry
- Scallops and balsamic tomatoes over cheesy grits
(If you don’t like seafood, you might instead consider an omega-3 supplement.)
6. Try a new sport
Discover the thrill of a new sport. This can be a fun way to challenge your body, and if it’s a team sport or group class – you may also meet new friends. Consider trying…
- Aerial yoga
- Hip hop dance
You can find adult recreational leagues or classes in your area for each of these. If you can’t find anything in person, try using free online resources to learn!
7. Eat a food choice that’s good for your gut each day.
The gut microbiome is a diverse community of microorganisms that live in our digestive system. These “good bacteria” as they’re often called influence everything from digestion to metabolism to immune health (and more). By eating foods that help support gut health, you can improve your overall health.
Try including one food that supports your gut each day. This could include…
- Yogurt (with live cultures) – These beneficial bacteria contribute to a healthy gut by promoting a balanced microbiome.
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables – Fiber helps to feed the bacteria that’s already in your gut. More than 90% of adults fall short in meeting fiber recommendations, so this is a great place to start improving your diet!
- Kefir – This is a fermented dairy product similar to yogurt which is rich in probiotics. Try it on its own or blended into smoothies.
- Fermented vegetables – Traditionally fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi are great sources of probiotics (live bacteria) and offer tang and acidity to a meal.
- Whole grains – Similar to fruits and veggies, whole grains contain fiber to help feed gut bacteria. Consider grains like oats or whole wheat pasta.
- Kombucha – This fizzy drink is a nice substitute for soda, offering carbonation and sweetness along with some probiotics! Note that the amount of live cultures in kombucha is not well established, so it may not pack as big of a punch as yogurt – but it’s still a nice option to include in your diet (especially as a substitute for other higher sugar beverages).
8. Take a walk or run on a trail once a week.
There are so many benefits to exercise and to being out in nature – so why not combine the two?! Set a goal this year to go out at least once a week for a run or walk along a trail. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while you simultaneously get that heart pumping!
Get excited about this resolution by researching local trails (and maybe some destinations you’d like to visit!) and make a list of where you’d like to go. Then go ahead and schedule your trail walk/run into your calendar for the next few weeks to start getting into that habit.
9. Tackle a 30-day fitness challenge.
If setting a resolution for an entire year seems too overwhelming, why not start with a 30-day challenge? There’s no rules here; your new year can look however you’d like! Challenges like this are nice because they have a defined end point which makes them feel less intimidating. And you can decide at the end if it’s a habit you’d like to continue incorporating.
Here are a few fun resources:
10. Drink 2 liters of water each day.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that women get at least 2.2 liters per day of fluid from beverages, and that men aim for at least 3 liters per day from beverages. This can include other beverages outside of water (like juice or coffee), but 2 liters per day of water is a good goal to aim for in general.
If you struggle drinking plain water, try getting a fun reusable water bottle and setting regular alarms on your phone to encourage you to drink it. You can also consider mixing in seltzer, flavor-infused waters, or unsweetened teas.
11. Plan a vacation.
According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, 46% of Americans do not use all their vacation time offered by their job. Many folks feel like they may fall behind or feel bad about taking vacation time.
But we need those breaks from work! If you have vacation time, this is the year to put it to use. Plan out a vacation this year.
It doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money; it might just be a week to yourself at home or visiting family that’s a few hours away. Or maybe you’ve got money earmarked and you take a big trip to the Caribbean or Europe. Whatever floats your boat (and fits your budget).
The key is to use at least some of your time off to rejuvenate your mental health. During that time, disconnect from email and truly enjoy your break.
12. Take a digital detox.
Social media can be wonderful for staying connected, but it also can be quite harmful to your mental health. It’s often a highlight reel of people’s best moments, which can make you feel bad about your own life. And it also is filled with arguments and content created solely to invoke controversy.
Try taking a week off from social media. Delete the apps from your phone for the week. Call or text friends instead of liking their recent post. Fill the time you would have spent on social (often several hours per day) with other fulfilling activities, like making coffee dates, playing with your kids more, or reading books.
Setting a goal to do this for one week instead of an indefinite goal of “use social media less” can be helpful, as time-determined goals are less overwhelming. But you may find that you naturally decide to use it less afterwards as a result of your detox. Or you might find you really love it, and that’s fine too! The key is being mindful about use.
13. Do one silly or fun fitness activity each month.
Fitness isn’t supposed to be a chore (though admittedly it can sometimes feel that way). Spice things up a bit by doing one activity that’s silly, super fun, or gets you in touch with your inner child.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Goat or puppy yoga
- Jumping at a trampoline park
- Taking a class at a ninja gym
- Hula hooping
- Roller skating
14. Read a book each month.
If you estimate the average book to be around 300 pages, that means you can finish one book each month by reading just 10 pages each night. That’s a challenge just about everyone can fit into their life!
Read whatever you like – fiction, self-help, biographies, sci-fi…there’s no rules to what you should read. Any type of reading is good for your brain.
If you’re already an avid reader, you can up this goal to a number that’s a feasible challenge. Goodreads is a great app to use to track what you’ve read.
15. Volunteer or give back once a month.
This is another great resolution that doesn’t require a huge time commitment! Look into local groups that need volunteers, whether for ongoing commitments or one-off opportunities.
You might help stock shelves at a local food pantry or serve community meals. You might volunteer at a road race to hand out water. You might join the board of a local organization and help with marketing materials. Or you might simply donate a little money each month to a cause that is close to your heart.
You can decide how to best approach this resolution in a way that works for your life.
16. Train for a race.
As a running coach, this is one of my personal favorites – not only because running is excellent for physical and mental health, but because that feeling of crossing the finish line is an amazing source of pride for people.
Start by figuring out what an attainable goal is for you. If you’ve never run before, it might be tackling a 5K in a few months. If you run regularly, maybe it’s doing your first half marathon or marathon this year.
Once you decide on a race distance, set up a training plan and build those workouts into your schedule. You can find a lot of free training plans here, or you can look into our run club which has training plans and group coaching.
17. Make your bed every day.
I have never been a bed maker – as a kid, teen, or adult. But earlier this year when we started karate, we read the book “Make Your Bed” as part of our character development activities. I decided to go head and try getting in the habit, so as soon as I got up (before doing anything else), I started making my bed.
This sounds small and insignificant, but it set the day up on a good tone. The mentality is that if you can stick with that habit, you can stick with lots of other ones too. I’ve personally found that to be true.
Plus, I love walking into my room at the end of the day and having it look neat and not disheveled. It’s calming.
18. Look into your health insurance reimbursements.
This sounds random, but it’s a way to put some extra money in your pocket and encourage good wellness practices! Many health insurance companies will offer reimbursements for things like gym memberships. Some even offer reimbursements for new bike helmets or new sneakers.
Find out what your insurance company offers and be sure to take full advantage of it each year, starting in 2024. If not, it’s like leaving money on the table. It may take an hour or so to comb through your plan documents and get the proper information and forms, but it’s typically a simple process once you know how it works.
19. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, yet 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. But sleep is key for good physical and mental health! It helps with recovery from exercise, it improves brain health, it regulates hunger hormones, and more.
This is your year to make it a priority to get enough sleep. If you struggle to get at least 7 hours, try:
- Going to bed earlier each night
- Setting the thermostat a little lower; cool rooms help you fall asleep easier
- Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening
- Exercising in the morning instead of at night (the effects of exercise at night vary from person to person though)
- Avoiding screens in the last hour before bedtime
20. Purge your closet.
If you look in your closet right now, does everything fit? Do you love the way everything makes you look?
If not, it’s time to donate what doesn’t fit and what you don’t love! Unless there’s a specific reason for keeping it – like you just had a baby, or you’re going through a medical issue – there’s no need to keep clothes hanging around that used to fit a couple years ago.
It takes up space, creates clutter, and can make you feel bad.
Keep clothes that make you feel awesome in your body right now.
21. Try cooking something new each month.
If you don’t love cooking new recipes, a once-a-month goal is perfect for pushing you out of your comfort zone. Each season brings fresh flavors, like rhubarb and asparagus in the spring or juicy peaches in the summer. Find recipes that highlight these ingredients and make something new and delicious.
Pinterest is great to browse for fun spring ideas. You can also think about classics you ate growing up – like perhaps your Grandma’s carrot cake at Easter or that delicious watermelon salad your Aunt makes – and track down your family’s recipe to make that.
22. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day.
Get a cute new notebook and try writing down 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day. You can do this as part of your morning routine, or in bed at night, or as they come up throughout the day. If you’re not a pen and paper person, you could even use the notes app on your phone.
It may seem tough at first, especially if you’re going through a rough period in your life, but you’ll notice that focusing on gratitude for what you do have can improve your mood and outlook. This is a great daily habit to implement that only takes a few minutes.
23. Schedule weekly workouts with a fitness buddy.
We all need motivation to get moving from time to time, and a fitness buddy provides that accountability. When you have a plan to meet them at 7am every Monday to run the track, it’s a lot harder to hit snooze and skip the workout. Plus, it’s a nice option for staying connected with someone you care about.
Even if you don’t have anyone near you, you can still schedule walking dates with a friend from afar and catch up over the phone. A pal of mine from high school and I like to do walking dates on Saturday mornings where we catch up over the phone. Typically an hour goes by in a snap – where we’ve gotten to reconnect and get in a good couple of miles!
24. Invest in “the next level” in something important to you.
This is intentionally vague, because you should pick something you really care about or really want to improve on.
- Want to get better at communicating with the big wigs at work? Maybe you hire an executive coach.
- Determined to stick with strength training? Maybe some personal training sessions is exactly what you need.
- Want to learn to throw the discus better? Maybe you invest in a throw camp for a week in the summer.
- Feeling like your marriage could be better? Maybe it’s time to sign up for couples counseling.
- Want to run your first half marathon? Consider a running coach (or the virtual run club!).
Whatever it is you want to improve, commit to an investment in that today.
The Bottom Line
As we step into the new year, I hope this list gave you at least one new idea to try in 2024. All of them are ideal for helping to improve your nutrition and embracing the joy movement. Here’s to a year filled with growth, empowerment, and the fulfillment of your goals!
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