At the beginning of every year, over 40% of Americans come up with New Year’s resolution ideas meant to change their lives for the better.
A few common New Year’s resolution examples include losing weight, eating healthy, improving personal relationships, quitting bad habits, and making better financial decisions. And for those of you that have made more than a few trips around the sun, it comes as no surprise that a whopping 80% of resolution setters lose their resolve by mid-February.
Unrealistic goals, unreasonable time frames, no real means of really achieving it; they’re but a few of the many reasons resolutioners break just six weeks into the new year. If you want to be a part of the 20% that do make it — the ones that commit to (and succeed in) changing their lives for the better — you need to give your resolution more than five minutes thought.
Come up with a plan. Execute said plan. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals that set you up for a legitimate shot at implementing the change you want to make.
20 New Year’s Resolution Ideas to Consider for 2021
It may also come as no surprise that resolutions typically fall within a few categories: making more money, losing weight, saving money, and learning something new. If you’re looking to make a dent in one of those categories, this list is for you.
Ideas to Help You Make More Money
What could you do with a few thousand extra dollars this year? Put a down payment on a house? Pay off student loans? Treat yourself to a much-needed vacation?
A New Year resolution for a student might be paying off student loans before graduation, while an older adult’s objective may be to pay off a home loan or save for retirement. The goal is to get out of debt as soon as possible.
Here are a few ideas for a side hustle to help you meet your goals faster.
1. Commit to no idle downtime.
Your income isn’t limited to your day job. If you want to get a jump start on your financial goals, look for ways to make extra money outside of your 9-to-5.
If you’re looking for something simple that doesn’t require much time or effort, try testing websites for places like UserTesting and WhatUsersDo. These sites usually have you record your screen and provide feedback about your experience on the websites.
Another way to earn money in your spare time is to deliver with Postmates. You’ll need a smartphone to download the Postmates app. Once you apply and are approved to be a driver, any time you open the app and log in you’ll be alerted of delivery opportunities in your area. Postmates pays weekly via direct deposit, and drivers can regularly make $10-$20 per hour.
2. Declutter or use what you already have.
Minimalism is a hot new trend even (especially?) when it comes to finances. If you have things laying around from Christmas that you know you’re never going to use — or God forbid, last Christmas — get rid of them. You’ll have one less unsightly thing laying around the house and you’ll be a few bucks richer because of it.
Got an extra room in your house? You can turn it into cash with Airbnb.
You don’t need to worry about renting your house because we’ve put together a comprehensive Airbnb host guide with everything you need to know to get started.
If sleepovers aren’t really your thing, there’s another way to make money with Airbnb. Airbnb Experiences are activities that are unique to your area, like hiking a part of the Appalachian Trail or meeting a pack of wolves in the Pacific Northwest.
3. Get back to writing.
Did you know there are thousands of successful bloggers in the world making over $10,000 per month from their blogs? There are even some who make over 10X that amount.
If you’re looking for a sustainable way to make some extra money, you might want to consider starting a blog. Your blog about something that interests you could be reaching readers all over the world. Not only would you be helping educate and improve others’ lives, but you’d be earning some extra cash as well.
Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme. However, your blog could turn into a thriving business with the potential to support your family, and even a team of employees. There is no limit to how much you can grow or how much you can make with blogging. If you’re willing to put in the work, you may come to find it’s the side hustle of your dreams. If you’re not interested in starting your own blog but still like the idea of writing, look into becoming a freelance writer for hire.
4. Become a rideshare driver.
Uber is fun, flexible, and fast-paying. Drivers make their own schedules. If your Friday night plans get canceled and you want to use the opportunity to make some extra cash, all you have to do is turn on the app.
Uber pays its drivers fast – funds hit your account every Monday. Recently, Uber offers the instant payout option. You can also check out the food version of Uber called Uber Eats, a food delivery service.
5. Start a side hustle…with your pet.
Your dog is the greatest canine companion you could ever imagine.
But be real – he’s kind of a mooch, just bumming around all day, chasing butterflies in his dreams while you work hard to support his shoe-eating habit. Give him the chance to pay you back! He could be the next Instagram or YouTube sensation.
Related: 6 Ways to Make Money with Your Dog
6. Commit to saving money.
Don’t let 2021 be the year that you still don’t find ways to save money.
Worried that you don’t have the discipline to stick to your New Year’s resolution of saving money? A new savings account might be the psychological trick you need in order to motivate yourself to save. Combined with a solid budget, you can do big things for your finances this year.
Ideas to Help You Lose Weight and Live Healthier
Getting in shape and improving your diet can give you more confidence and mental clarity. In some cases, it can even cushion your wallet.
7. Lose weight…by betting on it.
HealthyWage allows you to get in shape for this New Year while earning some money along the way. The process is simple: determine how much you want to lose, place your bet, verify your weight, lose pounds, and win some cash.
Be aware that if you don’t lose the weight, you’ll lose your cash. Betting on your success can motivate you to accomplish your New Year resolution to lose weight.
8. Start meal prepping.
Learning how to meal prep on a budget can cut hundreds from your grocery budget and save hours of mindlessly roaming around your kitchen wondering what to make, only to end up ordering takeout. It can also help you lose weight by cutting out heavily processed fast food.
Save time. Save money. Eat healthier. Meal Prep.
9. Become your own personal trainer.
Gym memberships can be expensive. This may be your go-to reason for not working out.
But thanks to modern-day technology, those who lack self-motivation are going to need a more creative excuse. You have a free personal trainer on call with the right apps on your smartphone. Plus, exercise makes you feel better, decreases your risk for heart disease, and can prolong your life.
10. Try YouTube Yoga.
To begin your yoga journey, you may only need a towel and a laptop. Following Kino MacGregor on YouTube is free, and you don’t have to plan around it – you can fit it into your schedule whenever there’s time.
Midnight yoga – why not?
11. Play community sports.
Some people can’t stand the thought of grinding out a workout at the gym.
The improved health, weight loss, and myriad of benefits that come from working out aren’t enough on their own. They need strategy, camaraderie, and to feel like they’re part of something greater. If you are one of these people, there is a simple solution: team sports.
Sports aren’t just for kids in high school. You might be surprised how easy it is to put together a group volleyball team and compete with other locals. Competing is a fun way to get some exercise while hanging out with friends.
12. Eat organic on a budget.
When people hear the word organic, their first question is often: “Isn’t that expensive!?” Indeed, it can be. Or, if you’re smart about it and use apps like Ibotta, it can be relatively inexpensive.
Eating organic on a budget is an acquired skill. Here are some tips for anyone who’s getting started or wants to spend less on their organic grocery budget:
- Shop local and in season when you can
- Check for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs in your area
- Explore your local farmer’s market
- For more expensive items or bulk purchases check out Thrive Market or Tropical Traditions
- Visit the health food stores in your area and consider purchasing an annual membership to your favorites (they usually come with 15%+ discounts for future purchases, so if you actually shop there, they’ll save you money in the long run)
Just like anything you shop for regularly, after a while you’ll get an idea of which items you like/can get the best deals on at which places.
Ideas to Help You Save More Money
These tips can help you save more money, whether that means spending less at the grocery store, maxing out your 401(k) contribution, or building an emergency fund.
13. Participate in a savings challenge.
Saving money takes a great deal of self-discipline.
How do you stay motivated to hang on to your money rather than spend it? Easy — turn it into a 52-week money-saving challenge. You’ll be far better off financially than where you started with an ambitious goal and a savings game plan, even if you don’t quite reach your goal.
14. Save on your daily splurge.
Maybe you’re not quite ready to give up that daily coffee habit, but you do want to cut back on this particular area of spending.
Here are some of the best tricks to make your Starbucks addiction cost less. If you’re not a Starbucks snob like some of us, you can always quickly check some of the better coupon sites out there to see if you can save wherever it is that you do spend your hard-earned dollars.
15. Make every dollar count.
Everyone shops online, but not everyone is savvy about it. Even if you only purchase items on sale, you could be getting even bigger discounts.
Browser extensions like Capital One Shopping will reward you for shopping at your favorite places, including Amazon, eBay, and Lululemon.
Now you can feel a little less guilty about your yoga pants addiction.
16. Make more intentional progress on your student loans.
With the national student loan debt topping $1.4 trillion, student loans are an epidemic plaguing America’s young adults.  Debt can contribute to increased stress and anxiety. So pay those loans off!
You don’t need some grand plan to get it done. Refinance your loans to save on interest, pay more than the minimum amount, and make more money. Do these three things, and you’re well on your way to being debt-free in the New Year.
Ideas to Help You Learn Something New
New Year’s resolutions are all about creating the best version of you that’s possible. Why not learn some new things?
17. Take an online course.
One way to make more money in 2021 is to have valuable skills that others will pay you for. That’s where sites like Skillshare come in. Skillshare offers premium video courses for super low prices — think $10 or less — on everything from web development to parenting. You can get two months free when you first sign up.
You could use your newfound skills as a resume booster when applying for jobs or to negotiate a raise in your current position.
18. Check out your local community college.
Few people take advantage of one of the greatest cheap learning resources around like community college. Community colleges offer far more than your traditional academic classes.
Ever wanted to learn woodworking? Pottery? Baking? Or perhaps you never got to take those psychology classes in undergrad because you were too busy doing as little as possible to graduate. Education doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, most classes at community colleges are very affordable, especially if you’re a local resident.
19. Read more books.
Another way to master a new skill for free is to spend more time with your nose between the pages of a book.
There’s no better way to get in the mind of an expert than to read their work. And chances are just about anything you want to learn has probably been written about by someone. If reading isn’t how you learn best, audiobooks may be more suitable for you.
Audible offers a free download for first-time users and low-cost membership options. Perks include 1 free book per month and access to bestsellers at steeply discounted prices.
20. Listen to TED talks.
Some people get stuck in cat video or fail compilation loops on YouTube. Instead, try TED Talk loops. The amount of knowledge you’ll learn may surprise you.
TED Talks are thought-provoking, endlessly entertaining, and the best part — completely free.
Not all New Year’s Resolution Ideas are Created Equal
The New Year is an inspiring time to make a change in your life for the better.
Use these twenty New Year resolution ideas to create your plan for making 2021 the best year yet.