9 Alternatives to Making New Year Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions Aren’t for Everybody


The New Year can seem like the perfect time to make a fresh start and change something about your life. But did you know:

  • 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions
  • 17% of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions
  • 38% of Americans who absolutely never make New Year’s Resolutions
  • 8% of people who are successful in achieving their resolution
  • 49% who have infrequent success
  • 24% who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year

However, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions

9 Alternatives to Making New Year Resolutions. It’s time to move away from those age-old New Year resolutions of dieting, exercising and abstaining from smoking and drinking. Do something different this year. Consider one of these alternative styles of resolution, which may be easier (and more interesting) to keep. Read more at: Everything's Coming Up Rosie (www.ecurosie.com)

9 Alternatives to Making New Year Resolutions

It’s time to move away from those age-old New Year resolutions of dieting, exercising and abstaining from smoking and drinking.  Do something different this year. Consider one of these alternative styles of resolution, which may be easier (and more interesting) to keep:

Start a gratitude journal

Back in October, I described what a gratitude journal is and the importance of having one.

Related Post: 3 Things to Try This Month (in October)

Gratitude journals can be as simple as using paper and pen (like me) or there are now apps that you can download to keep track of your daily blessings.

For example, the Gratitude Journal app, as seen in the Huffington Post, Oprah and the Telegraph – this app is the easiest and most effective way to rewire your brain in just five minutes a day. Sorry, Android users, it’s only available to IPhone users at this time!

Acknowledge the Good Things About Yourself

New Year’s isn’t always about changing yourself. It can sometimes be about acknowledging the positive things as well. When you focus on the good things more good things come. Tending to focus on the negative things about yourself can sometimes leave to stagnation and self-pity.

Follow and Complete a 30-Day Challenge

What’s a 30-day challenge?

A 30-day challenge consists of setting a small goal that can be achieved in 30 days, along with the specific action that you’ll be taking each day to achieve the goal.

It’s said that 30 days is enough time to solidify a new habit that you want to incorporate into your daily routine, or even to subtract a habit that hasn’t been good for your health or well-being.

The best part of 30-day challenges is that making small changes one at a time (aka focusing on only that one challenge over the course of 30 days), is much more sustainable over the long-term that trying to overhaul all of your habits and routines at once.

For example, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Don’t buy anything new
  • Get outside
  • Become a morning person
  • Start up a side business doing what you love
  • Give up TV or social media
  • Complete an act of kindness or give a compliment

Create a List of Things to Look Forward To

What are you looking forward to this year?

Maybe you have a great vacation planned, or a friend is getting married, or there’s a writing workshop that you’re really looking forward to attending. You can also include small things, such as the following:

  • A novel that’s coming out this year by your favorite author
  • An exhibit that will be on view at a nearby museum
  • A new restaurant that’s opening downtown
  • The new season of your favorite TV show
  • A new technological gadget that will be coming out this year

Creating a list of things that you’re looking forward to will make you hopeful for the new year.

Create a Happiness Jar

All you need is a mason jar and colorful paper. Write down a memory that made you smile and store it in the jar. Next year, you can look back on it in retrospect.

Heather the writer behind Mommypotamus explains how and why she created a happiness jar. You can read her post here.

Create a Bucket List

Last week, I posted what is on my bucket list for 2017. I also posted a printable that you can print and create your own bucket list. Click here for the link.

I also shared a free printable for you, so that you can print and write down your own bucket list.

Select a Word for the Year

Many people have embraced the trend of choosing a word for the year — like breathe, trust, dance, fly — that encapsulates the feelings, attitudes, and behaviors they desire in the year ahead. This word can guide your choices and actions — instead of setting firm expectations for yourself, you can ask if a particular behavior aligns with your word and your intentions.

For example, my word for the year is going to be “focus”. So often, I give into the instant gratification monkey and procrastinate. This year, I am intentionally learning to focus my time. I will focus on the task at hand and not worry about the email notifications or the text message that just came in. Instead, it’s all about staying focused.

Make a Vision Board

You can find lots of online instructions for making a vision board. A vision board compiles images that represent what you want for yourself in the upcoming year. It’s a great way to have a visual reminder of your intentions.

Have Fun

If you’re going to decide to do something, why not pick something pleasurable?

Fun resolutions – maybe ‘resolutions’ – could add a little joy to your life.

One year, a friend and I decided that we would try every calamari appetizer each time we ate out at a restaurant or pub. We would then compare it the other restaurants. We had so much fun trying out new restaurants in our city, we even had our own score card!


So there you have it – nine unusual and unique alternatives to setting resolutions you know you’re not likely to keep. I wish you all the best in 2016. Thank you for visiting my blog, sharing your thoughts, and showing your appreciation by sharing my work. May all your dreams become a reality and may goodness and joy follow you throughout the year.

What do you think of these alternatives? Do you think one of them might be right for you? What other suggestions do you have as a resolution alternative?

Don’t Miss a Thing. Get On The List!

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Then join the ECUROSIE tribe and learn how to how to unleash your inner warrior to get unstuck, overcome fear and gain confidence to make big life changes! Invest in yourself and make it happen.

Hey, I’m Rosie! I am a strategy consultant from Alberta, Canada. I provide smart, savvy women with advice on their goals and future direction so that they can plan effective strategies for growth, whether it’s personal or business-related. I’ve been featured on Annette’s Rochelle Aben’s radio show “Perspectivepower” and ceoMom’s. When I am not blogging, you’ll find you me drinking coffee, making popcorn and hanging out with my two daughters. If I can follow my dreams, you can too!

14 thoughts on “9 Alternatives to Making New Year Resolutions

  1. These are fab ideas. I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions…I already do a word for the year (2017 is ‘illuminate’), and keep a gratitude journal. I really like the idea of following a 30 day challenge – thanks! xx #sharethejoy

  2. nikkifrankhamilton says:

    When I made resolutions I never seemed to follow up, then I’d feel badly. So I quit! LOL That’s one resolution that I’ve kept for years! LOL I am on the “Word of the Year” bandwagon, and I think I always will be. I have gained so much in the last few years by keeping this practice. This year my word is grace and I hope to succeed with it also! I love your word and I hope that it helps you learn and grow in 2017!

  3. Love the idea of a gratitude journal. I do something very similar. It is so important to be thankful for what you have. Keep up the great job here lovely lady and live unstoppable!

  4. What a fabulous list. I’ve started a gratitude journal this year, am continuing with my happy jar from last year and have chosen a word for the year for the first time too. I quite like the idea of the 30-day challenge – that’s something to try this year as well! #sharethejoy

  5. I love this! Instead of resolutions I set out to achieve goals for the year, and use the 30 day challenge to help me achieve them. I love the idea of making a vision board, and creating a bucket list. #BloggerclubUK

  6. I’ve tried several of these alternatives but I really want to get into a gratitude journal and happiness jar. One of my resolutions is to strive to be more positive (I’m more of a realist which comes with a bit of pessimism). I think the journal and jar would help me with my goal.

  7. I have my words for the year, my bucketlist and actually completed a 30 day fitness goal in Dec. So I’m on the right track for some of your items. I have added obtainable goals for the year including volunteering monthly as well as reading monthly. Both will be nice something for me and something for others.

  8. gracefullygen says:

    I love this!!! I’ve seen so many people recommend a gratitude journal, and I’m so down! I’ve been keeping notes in my phone until I get my butt to the store to buy a physical notebook hehe. I also love the idea of the 30 day challenge – they say it takes 21 days to turn something into a habit, so by sticking to the 30 days, you’re more likely to create a habit out of it!

    Great ideas! I’m all about a positive 2017!


  9. Mary-The Boondocks Blog says:

    I really like the idea of a word for the year. It helps me to focus on this particular area for the year. Happy New Year Rosie!

  10. This post is full of wonderful tips to help us start the new year in the right mindset. I particularly love the resolution for a joyful habit, such as choosing the same starter in a restaurant and comparing them. This would also fit into one of our goals to eat out more! Thank you so much Rosie, for linking up for #sharethejoy with your wonderful post Lizzie xoxo

  11. Love the idea of making a list of what I look forward to this year, and creating a “word” for 2017! I think these things will help me get into the feeling of my goals, and being in that space makes it so much easier to manifest them. Thanks for these great ideas!

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