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New Year's resolutions 2023: family celebrating the New Year's with sparklers

Get a jump on your 2023 New Year’s resolutions with these ideas


- The types of New Year’s resolutions you can set are seemingly endless — such as self-care, a new skill, or fitness improvement — but you need to make them realistic.

- S.M.A.R.T. goals can help you create attainable New Year’s resolutions and hold yourself accountable.

- A good New Year’s resolution is the one that appeals to a newer and better you.

Draped in good intentions and the chance for self-improvement, New Year’s resolutions are an admirable way to get a fresh start in the New Year. About 29% of Americans make resolutions, but staying on task isn’t always easy — only 8% of people adhere to their goals.

But don’t let these figures deflate your zest for a new you in 2023. If you want to see their goals through, you need to make your resolution specific, achievable, and measurable. Moreover, you should choose something that truly appeals to you and doesn't just follow a fad resolution.

Ready to find more New Year’s resolutions for 2023? Here are some ideas to jog your creative juices. Plus, what you can do to reach your goals.

Use S.M.A.R.T. goals for greater success

Before you brainstorm New Year’s resolution ideas, you'll want to know how to design a resolution that sets you up for success. A tried-and-true method is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.

If you’ve never used S.M.A.R.T. goals before, the idea is relatively simple. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that spells out the characteristics your resolution should include:

  • Specific: Every resolution you make should have a specific goal in mind rather than generalizations. Resolutions fail most often because people have loose goals that don’t provide specifics. For example, you could set a goal of "losing 10 pounds in six months" rather than just “losing weight.”

  • Measurable: This goes hand-in-hand with specifics but takes it one step further. Essentially, what does success look like, and how will you measure it? For example, if you want to strive for a better work-life balance in 2020, how will you know you're on the right track? For you, this might mean leaving work at 5 p.m. four out of five workdays or not logging in to your laptop on the weekends. Think about what milestones or benchmarks you can set for your goal.

  • Attainable: When it comes to your New Year’s resolution for 2023, you want something that challenges you but is also achievable. If your goal isn't realistic, you will likely lose the motivation to try.

  • Relevant: Fad diets and other pop culturally topical resolutions may seem like a good move at first. But the chances of you staying true to a fad aren’t always realistic. For better results, choose a resolution that’s relevant to your situation and the parts of your life you're committed to improving.

  • Time-bound: Choose a realistic deadline or time table for your New Year’s resolution. For example, you could decide that you want to get a new certification for your job within four months from the start of the year.

You may need to come up with a few ideas and then apply the S.M.A.R.T. goals framework to tell if the resolution can actually work. The sooner you start, the better your S.M.A.R.T.-goal application will be. Try not to wait until New Year’s Eve to throw something together.

Ideas for New Year’s Resolutions in 2023

Person writing a song while using a guitar

You may already have a few ideas for your New Year’s resolutions in 2023. Yet after you add in the idea of S.M.A.R.T. goals and hone in on attainability, you may need some more options.

No matter what you want to do to improve yourself next year, here’s a list of New Year’s resolutions to inspire you and spark your imagination.

1. To improve mental health, spend less time on social media.

According to recent data, on average, people spend 147 minutes per day on social media. That translates to almost 38 days per year. In addition to the lost time, social media may be affecting your mental wellness. A study has shown that limiting social media use to 30 minutes per day can lead to improved mental health.

So let’s say based on this data, you realize you spend about 1.5 hours a day scrolling on apps, so you want to set a New Year’s resolution to spend less time on social media. For greater success, you’d want to make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Here’s how that might look: I’ll gradually lower my time on social media to 30 minutes a day within three months.

By identifying the 30-minute time limit and the three-month goal, your resolution is specific, measurable, and time-bound. It’s also attainable and relevant because you currently spend more than 30 minutes a day on social media, and it’s within your power to make the change.

2. To enhance your personal well-being, spend more time with loved ones.

If you’re looking to set a resolution to boost your personal well-being in the new year, spending more time with friends and family could be a good goal for you. Studies show that the more you hang out with loved ones, the more you feel good about yourself and enjoy personal growth and development. It also reduces stress, helps with mental well-being, and can even boost your life expectancy.

To make this a S.M.A.R.T. goal, you might try one or more of the following resolutions:

  • My partner and I will go on a date once per month.

  • I’ll book a trip to visit my best friend in another state by March.

  • We’ll start having family game nights twice per month.

3. For self-improvement, try something new.

It’s common to desire self-improvement and want to use the New Year as your catalyst. Think about what you want to improve about yourself, and how you can try something new to achieve it. Then, set a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Maybe you want to fill your spare time with more productive activities than watching TV. You might take up a new hobby, like picking up an instrument or starting your own podcast.

Or perhaps you desire to learn about other cultures. Immerse yourself by trying to learn a new language — or travel to one of your bucket-list destinations in the new year.

4. For longevity, cut out the bad habits and improve your physical health.

Popular songs, poems, and movies have covered the idea of living forever, but unfortunately, your time is finite. But don’t let that take the wind out of your sails. You can live a long, fruitful life by changing some of your habits and routines.

Some of the more common options are to quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake or work out more. But again, you should give yourself a timeline and measurable, attainable goals. Here are some examples that might work well:

  • Do 30 minutes of cardio five times a week.

  • Carry a water bottle around with you, and drink 64 ounces of water a day.

  • Eat two servings of veggies each day or introduce veggies to your nightly dinner.

  • Reduce your drinking to one night a week.

There’s no perfect time to quit bad habits or start your workout routine. But the sooner you start, the more you can enjoy your time on the planet.

5. For less stress, get your home in order.

Research has found that your environment, especially the state of your home, can have an effect on your stress levels. Have you noticed your to-do list at home leaves you feeling overwhelmed in your daily life? Try tackling it in the new year.

You might set resolutions around decluttering, finishing a DIY project, or sticking to a cleaning schedule. On their own, these can feel like big tasks to undertake, but with some S.M.A.R.T. goals, you can make them more manageable.

For example, if you want to declutter your home, break it up into smaller specific goals. Maybe you will tackle the junk drawer and one-bedroom closet by January 31, and you will clean out the pantry and your coat closet by February 28th. By focusing on smaller tasks and setting a deadline, you can make the resolution achievable.

6. For financial peace of mind, set some money goals.

Everyone’s personal finances are just that — personal. Take a look at your situation and see where your finances could use some attention in the new year.

Whether you want to expand your financial literacy, work toward a savings goal (like your kids’ college fund), devise a plan for retirement, or meet with a financial advisor, there are plenty of money-related resolutions to consider. Just make sure the goal you choose is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

For example, maybe you want to add $10,000 to your emergency fund by the end of the year, or you decide to read one personal finance book each month.

One year closer to a better you

Group of friends holding sparklers

Regardless of what your New Year’s resolutions for 2023 are, the best resolution is the one that you can keep. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is the glue between your aspirations and achievement. When your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, you can create a plan for success and hold yourself accountable.

If you’re ready to set a S.M.A.R.T. New Year’s resolution for 2023, try one of the suggestions on our list or use the categories to spark your own idea. 

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