It’s a tradition on New Year’s Eve that you make a resolution for the year ahead. Most people pledge to lose weight, be more responsible, or finally cross an item off their bucket list. But all too often, you break that resolution just a few weeks into the New Year. If you want to make a New Year’s resolution and stick to it for all of 2015, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find a list of popular resolutions. With each resolution, we’ve highlighted some strategies, tactics, and interesting products that just might give you the fortitude to stick with your resolution this year. Read on to learn about keeping your resolutions in 2015.
1. Lose Weight
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to eat better, exercise more, and lose weight. After all of the rich and indulgent feasts you’ve had this holiday season, it might seem easy to stick to a diet of leafy greens at first. But when those cravings set in, it can be hard to stay on track with your diet. Plus, cold weather makes it harder for some people to get motivated and hit the gym.
If you’re looking to eat more healthfully, portion control will play a big part in your success. One great way to eat more mindfully is to use a kitchen scale to measure ingredients or weigh out portion sizes. A solid kitchen scale shouldn’t set you back more than $15, and it’s an investment worth making. Keith Schroeder’s book Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing is another small investment you can make to help you reach your diet goals in 2015.
In terms of staying active, you can always sign up for a gym membership. However, it can be hard to get motivated to leave the house on a cold January morning. A Bowflex home gym can help you get ripped in the comfort of your own home, though an $89 elliptical is a fraction of that price and may be more appealing to some people. If you need a little reminder to be active, a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Flex can be a big help. You can find one online for under $100, and they work with most smartphones.
Want to track just how much weight you’ve lost so far? The EatSmart body weight scale costs about $50, which is a fraction of the cost of the competitors. It tracks your body fat, hydration, muscle mass, and bone mass.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking is a bad habit that can negatively impact both your lungs and your wallet. However, quitting can be a process that takes some people years. If you want 2015 to be the year you finally quit smoking, there are all kinds of products that can help you taper off and eventually go cold turkey. There’s Nicorette gum and NicoDerm CQ patches, both of which help give you a boost of nicotine without having to inhale all that nasty smoke.
People who are trying to quit smoking may also appreciate having some additional support options. Curl up with a cup of “Quit Tea” and a book like Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, and it will be easier to stick with your resolution.
3. Save Money & Get Out of Debt
Whether you want to get out of debt or just start saving for a big ticket item, there are lots of people who will be trying to spend their money more wisely in 2015. Setting up a personal budget on a site like Mint can help you monitor your spending.
One tactic you can try to help you stay on budget is doing all your shopping in cash, rather than using a debit card, check, or credit card to pay for items. According to this post on NerdWallet, people who pay for things with a card can spend almost 20 percent more on a transaction than those who are paying with cash. A new wallet (or smartphone case with a built-in wallet compartment) can help remind you to keep cash close at hand.
Get Out of Debt Like the Debt Heroes: How 21 Ordinary People Paid Off Over $1.7 Million in Debt by Ben Edwards and Jeff Rose is a great book that can help you pay off your loans or credit card balances and get you in a better financial place by the end of 2015.
When you get out of debt, you’ll be in a better position to buy the things you really want in life, whether that’s a new home, a trip around the world, or a diamond ring for that special someone.
4. Learn a New Language or Skill
A recent ABC News report pointed out that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for sticking to his unique New Year’s resolutions. A couple of years back, his resolution was to learn Chinese, a resolution that paid off big when he spoke at an event in China.
If your New Years resolution is to learn a new language or perfect a new skill, there are lots of resources out there. Rosetta Stone software can help you quickly pick up a new language, while websites like Codeacademy will teach you the basics of coding for free. Learning a new skill can not only make you feel more confident, but it might even open up some new professional opportunities for you.
5. Go Green
Thinking about going green in 2015? There are lots of small changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your energy bill, recycle materials in innovative ways, and help do your part to make the planet healthier.
One thing you might consider adding to your home is a smart thermostat. This will help you save money on your energy bill by automatically turning down your heat when you are away from home. Nest is arguably the most well-known smart thermostat product, but at $249 it may be a bit expensive for some households. Honeywell makes a competing smart thermostat, and it’s a bit cheaper than the Nest when you buy online.
Other products that make going green fun include solar chargers for your smartphone, or this 4M arts and crafts kit that lets kids make their own beads from recycled paper. If you really want to go green this year, getting the whole family involved with recycling and smart energy choices is an important first step.
6. Give to Charity & Volunteer More Often
Many people plan to be more generous with both their time and disposable income in 2015. If your resolution is to do more charitable giving, there are lots of ways you can give back. Not sure where to start? You can visit CharityWatch to see a list of charities grouped by cause. CharityWatch is a nice site because all of the charities have been graded, which makes it easy for you to see which charities are actually giving the most money to those in need, rather than spending your donations solely on operating costs. The Better Business Bureau’s Give.org is another great resource.
You can also create “passive” donations to your favorite charities using your favorite apps and websites. Runners may enjoy Charity Miles, an app that donates money to a charity of your choice with every mile you complete. Frequent Amazon shoppers should also check out AmazonSmile, where 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases are given to the charitable organization of your choice.
Looking to donate time, and not money? There are lots of ways you can donate your time, from helping at a homeless shelter kitchen to lending your DIY expertise at a Habitat for Humanity build site. You could also check out Locks of Love, a charity that will take your donated hair and turn it into wigs for those who have lost their hair due to illness. Sites like VolunteerMatch or Create the Good can help you find local opportunities to volunteer your time.
Want to see more of the world and experience new cultures in 2015? Travelzoo is a great site for finding discounted deals on flights, hotels, and travel packages. You might also want to check out HuffPo’s post on where travel experts are planning to spend their vacation days in 2015, as it might inspire your own travel plans. Create a keepsake to remember all of your 2015 travel experiences with a travel journal. One travel diary we really like is I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded. Of course, you can always use a plain notebook to record your experiences.
8. Floss/Improve Dental Hygiene
Sometimes the most important New Year’s resolutions are the simplest ones. Flossing can be a hard habit to keep up with, but it’s important for your oral health, as well as your overall health. If traditional floss isn’t really your thing, try floss picks, or invest in a Waterpik.
9. Get More Sleep & Be Less Stressed
If you want to be happier and healthier in 2015, getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to reduce stress and rise to meet the challenge of a new day. Getting a good night’s sleep can be as simple as changing your pillow, or using a white noise machine.
You can also check out the Withings Aura sleep system, a smart sleep system that consists of several parts. There’s a a contact-free Sleep Sensor which gets tucked under the mattress, a light and sound Bedside Device, and a smartphone app that is compatible with iPhone and Android. This setup is a bit expensive at $299.95, but it’s ideal for anyone who is serious about improving the quality of their sleep. See how it works in the video below.
10. Accomplish Something Monumental
For many people, 2015 is going to be the year they finally complete a monumental task. This could include goals like running a marathon (or even just a 5K), or perhaps finishing an oil painting. Other “big goals” could include getting married, building a piece of furniture from scratch, or finally writing those memoirs.
If your monumental goal is writing a screenplay, you should invest in Final Draft software. If you plan to run a road race, a new pair of running shoes is definitely in order (we like these Brooks Ghost 6 shoes, which are on sale for just $72. Or maybe your big goal is to perform on stage at a Rock ‘n Roll fantasy camp. Whatever your big goal is this year, the trick to sticking with your resolution is to make small steps towards your goal. With enough baby steps towards that big resolution, you can make 2015 the year that you actually keep that important promise to yourself.