5 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Want to Keep (+ Giveaway!)

New Year's Resolutions You'll Actually Want to Keep

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions! The solemn vows of total abstinence from sweets and daily runs up and down the local mountain that seem so right (this is YOUR YEAR!) while you’re kicking back the bubbly on December 31st are suddenly living nightmares when reality kicks in (usually sometime in the first week of January). Turns out life without chocolate is barely worth living and running just isn’t enjoyable in that foot of New England snow that will be here until April. It’s no secret that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail within a matter of weeks or months. However, the birth of a new year is still a great time to make a change for the better in your life. It’s a good mental starting point after the craziness and overindulgence of the holiday season. A good resolution is obtainable and actionable. I.e. I will cook dinner at home 3 times a week NOT I’ll never eat takeout again (too extreme) or I’ll be healthier (too vague).

Happy New Year's from the Vegan Wifey! Cheers!

Happy New Year’s from the Vegan Wifey! Cheers!

Here are five ideas to get you started:

1. Cook at Home

Eating out (or getting carry out) too often is bad for your wallet and your waistline. Knowing what goes into your food and ergo into your body is one of the basic tenants of healthy living. Stock up on fruit, oatmeal, and nuts for a quick breakfast at home. Pack leftovers for lunch instead of spending $10 on a sad looking salad from the corner deli. Keep snacks in your bag (like nuts, apples, oranges, or seaweed snacks) so you don’t get tempted by the vending machine or coffee shop at 3 pm. And finally, make dinner at home. Takeout is almost always  uneconomical, unhealthy, and undelicious. We love doing a meal delivery service a few times a week. It reduces the amount of grocery shopping I have to do and forces us to try new recipes, many of which get modified and worked into our regular dinner rotation.

Meal delivery services are great for several reasons:

  • They arrive at your door, letting you skip the grocery store.
  • Ingredients are preportioned and depending on your local grocery prices (shiitakes are outrageously expensive at our local supermarkets) and whether you would use a larger container of an expensive ingredient (truffle oil comes to mind), can be cost effective. If you would otherwise be ordering takeout, they are definitely cost-effective.
  • Recipes are generally healthy (it depends on the company and what you choose) and can be modified to suit your preferences – less spicy, change up the oil, whatever
  • They’re fun! It’s like having your own sous chef. If you have a little one in the house, getting 20 minutes of time to yourself to make some Instagram worthy food is like a vacation in the kitchen. Even if I don’t love a recipe, I almost always learn something new.

I thought a meal delivery service would be expensive but with all the great deals and referral programs, it hasn’t increased our grocery budget. If you’re not sure, try a discounted week at HomeChef ($30 off your first week when you sign up via our link) or HelloFresh (use our code 947T7A for $40 off your first box) let your tastebuds decide. (If you use my codes, I get credit to spend on my own boxes with HomeChef or HelloFresh. Thank you in advance!)

Good home cooking resolutions: I will cook at home x times a week. I will try one new recipe every two weeks. I will pack my lunch 4 times a week.

2. Learn to Say NO

Saying no let’s you say yes to what really matters. It’s a lifelong process to find the right balance. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s hard. It’s worth it. We get conditioned to say yes to the point where it becomes a reflex and not a true answer. Saying no to making 12 dozen Elsa cupcakes for the PTA bake sale let’s you say yes to more time with your munchkins (write a check if you feel guilty). Saying no to that weekly bar night that you’re not really feeling in your life anymore let’s you make space for something new (learning to cook? yoga? time with your SO?) that fits who you are now. You can also say no to activities (ahem hours wasted on youtube/pinterest/buzzfeed/pick-your-poison) that don’t improve your life. Ask yourself:

  • Does this bring me joy?
  • Will I wish I had done this in a week? A year? Five? When I’m eighty-five?
  • Is there another way to achieve this goal?
  • Am I doing this because I think I “should”?

Saying no and yes to the right things is a journey, so remember to make your resolution obtainable and actionable. Examples: I will say no to smartphones at the dinner table and will turn my phone on silent and leave it in the living room. I will commit to no more than 1 PTA project a semester. I will let someone else organize the family Easter party this year.

3. Maximize Your “Easy” Money

We all know (in theory) that decreasing our expenses and/or increasing our income creates more room in our budgets for savings, paying down debt, etc. The problem with this is that if you’ve already done a few rounds of decreasing expenses – cutting cable, no daily mocha-choca-five-dollar-lattes, etc. – you eventually run out of reasonable things to cut without feeling very deprived. And it’s always great if you can ask for a raise or switch jobs for a higher salary but sometimes that’s not in the cards in the immediate future. In the meantime, make it a point this year to increase your other sources of money. I like to save these and use for vacations, padding an emergency fund, extra student loan payments, etc. Some examples:

  • Use credit card rewards to your advantage – one card gives me 3% on gas, another on groceries, and another gives 5% on rotating categories. At no point am I earning less than 1% on any purchase and a year’s worth of purchases can me a couple hundred dollars back for things I was going to buy anyway (gas, food, etc.). This only makes sense if you pay your credits cards in full each month, of course.
  • Take advantage of cash back sites when you shop online. I go through Ebates and probably average $25-50 a quarter in cash back. It really adds up and is free to join. Join here. (I may get credit from Ebates if you join – thank you!)
  • Once a season, unload items you don’t need on Ebay or Craigslist or hold a yearly yard sale. Donate the rest. It’s a bit of a pain but old ipods, clothes in nice condition, books, special edition DVDs, etc. can add up to a pretty penny over the course of a year.
  • Sign up for focus groups. Search “focus groups NEAREST CITY TO YOU” or check Craigslist (use common sense on there) to find groups near you. Many are held online or via phone nowadays and you can earn $25-400+ in only a few hours or at most days.
  • Get a side hustle — teach a dance/karate/soccer class a few nights week, walk dogs, watch children, pick up one shift a week at the local diner.

4. Build Moving Meditation into Each Day

Meditation doesn’t have to involve chanting and sitting still for an hour (although if that works for you, great). Yoga lends itself to moving meditation naturally but any activity where you can relax your mind and just be in the moment works.  This can be as simple as getting off the train one stop early for a 5 minute walk by yourself or committing to be mindful when you do the dishes each night. Meditation of any kind has myriad benefits. The important thing is just to start.

5. Plan a Trip

Planning is one of the best parts of travel – anticipating what you’ll see, what you’ll eat, how much you’ll get to relax. Pick a destination you’ve been wanting to visit and put it one the schedule, even if it’s for 2018. Pick something somewhere between camping in the next county and a luxury African safari — you want something that will excite you but is obtainable within a few years (and start saving for that safari if it’s on your bucket list!). Take an afternoon to research the time of year you want to go and make up a budget for transportation (flights/trains, cabs, car rental, incidentals), hotel, attraction tickets, souvenirs, dining, any visa/passport fees, etc. Now add 10-20% to be safe. This is your goal amount – post it on your bathroom mirror, put it in your wallet, add it to your spreadsheets – anything that will keep you focused on the goal. I like to maintain a separate savings account online to keep this money separate. If your budget is tight, fund this account with your side money — cash back, side hustle, focus groups, holiday gifts, etc. It will take awhile but there’s nothing like taking a trip that’s completely prepaid and guilt free:)

Happy travels!

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2016? Tell me below and use the giveaway form below to enter to win a $5 Amazon GC from The Vegan Wifey to kick start your resolution. Get a trip planner, a new kitchen tool, or whatever tickles your fancy. Good luck 🙂

76 thoughts on “5 New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Want to Keep (+ Giveaway!)”

  1. Ann Fantom says:

    My new year’s resolution is to get more organized. I’m going to start with getting all my photos in photo albums

    1. Samantha says:

      Ann – that’s a great one. I’m one step behind you – I need to order prints and then deal with the photo albums. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Amber says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to go to yoga class three times a week. I want this to be an achievable and quantifiable goal so I have a better chance of success!

  3. Nick S says:

    My new year’s resolution is to eat healthier. I say this because my diet is usually really not that great. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Samantha says:

      New Year’s is a great time to revamp your diet. Best of luck!

  4. Cynthia C says:

    I want to organize my closets so I can easily see what I want to wear.

    1. Samantha says:

      That’s a great one — it’s so much nicer to start your day on an organized note.

  5. Michelle Elizondo says:

    My resolution is to lose weight. I am to fat.

    1. Samantha says:

      I’m sure you are beautiful as you are Michelle! Best of luck getting in shape if that’s your goal this year 🙂

  6. Michelle Elizondo says:

    Top Signature Restaurants for Vegan Diners in Walt Disney World

  7. Denise B. says:

    I never make resolutions.

    1. Samantha says:

      Fair enough. Good luck in the giveaway!

  8. Natalie says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to lose 5 pounds and run a marathon in under 4 hours. I ran a marathon this year in 4:12, so I would like to beat my time.

    1. Samantha says:

      Wow — I’m so intimidated by training for a marathon. Good luck!

  9. In the new year I want to lose more weight, because I lost weight last year so i want to keep it up.

    1. Samantha says:

      Congrats on your success so far! Are you doing a plant based diet or something else to lose the weight?

  10. Mandala says:

    I want to be healthier so my resolution is to exercise more consistently and eat lots of fiber.

    1. Samantha says:

      Fiber is very underrated. Good luck!

  11. Kyle Banderman says:

    New Years resolution to get back into running. I felt so healthy and fit when I did it a few years ago and want to get back to that!

    1. Samantha says:

      Running is such a great moving meditation. Good luck with your resolution!

  12. Gina says:

    I am trying to plan and prepare healthier meals for my family this year. I prepare most meals from scratch myself, but I feel there is room for improvement.

    1. Samantha says:

      Cooking at home is one of the best things you can do for your family. 🙂

  13. patricia delgado says:

    It is my goal for 2016 to get outdorrs more as a family and be active. I don’t want my children to live a sendentary lifestyle I want them to get outdoors, explore nature, hug some trees and go on adventures.

    1. Samantha says:

      Love this! I’m going to try starting a garden this year to force me to get the family outside more.

  14. Laura ari says:

    My new years resolution is to organize my recipe file so I can find my recipes!

    1. Samantha says:

      I need to do that too!

  15. Becca says:

    I am choosing to be healthier, because I think my health has become more important to me as I’ve gotten older. I want to cook more at home and go out to eat less. I want to walk my dog more and go to yoga a lot!

  16. Julie Bickham says:

    Mine is to make healthier choices. I’m not getting any younger so it’s about time I start thinking about my health.

    1. Samantha says:

      It’s never too soon to start thinking about your health!

  17. Audrey Okaneko says:

    I’m hoping to put the gym back into my life. I really want the lose 30 pounds and the gym has always helped me in the past.

    1. Samantha says:

      Good luck! There are some great gym deals this time of year.

  18. Christina Sparks says:

    To drink more water, because I don’t drink enough.

    1. Samantha says:

      So simple but so important! If you do seltzer water or add some lemon/lime slices, it makes the water feel like a treat (at least for me).

  19. Jacky says:

    It might sound strange to hear this from an adult but I resolved to go to bed earlier! My body needs more sleep and I’m not doing anything worthwhile the last couple of hours that I stay up, so I’m going to try to go to bed on time!

    1. Samantha says:

      As the parent of a small child, I definitely understand wanting more sleep! Sweet dreams 🙂

  20. JOHN says:

    TO GET A JOB.

    1. Samantha says:

      Always a good one! Best of luck in your job search.

  21. Melissa J says:

    I don’t make official resolutions, but I always aim to be more adventurous and push past my fears. Now I work on a zipline because of it!

    1. Samantha says:

      That’s so cool! I’ve never been ziplining but it’s on my bucket list.

  22. Krista M says:

    I want to bike 100 miles in one day this year. Last year we maxed out at 86 on the trails near our house. 🙂

    1. Samantha says:

      Wow! 86 miles is already pretty impressive – I don’t think I’ve ever done more than 35 in a day (and I was pretty proud of that). I hope you make your goal of 100! 🙂

  23. Debbie Bray says:

    I want to eat more healthy with no processed foods.

    1. Samantha says:

      That’s such a good goal. Even if you change nothing else in your diet, cutting out processed foods makes such a huge difference in how you feel!

  24. Kathy H. says:

    I want to continue on my weight loss journey.

  25. Amy Deeter says:

    My new years resolution is to walk more and to lose 30 pounds.i chose it so i can be healthier !

  26. Jamie Martin says:

    I wanna quit smoking; I’ll live longer.

  27. Rebecca C says:

    I have a few new year’s resolutions: to finish a teaching credential that I’m working on, and to get in the best shape of my life!

  28. Laura J says:

    My new years resolution this year is to learn to cook healthier for my family. I have so much to learn!

  29. Patricia M says:

    My New Year resolution is to save more money because I do not have an emergency fund .

  30. Donna Jacoby says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to say no when I mean just that instead of giving in when I know I’ll be making myself unhappy. Thank you for the giveaway!

  31. Julie Hawkins says:

    I don’t have a New Years resolution this year. Maybe I’ll come up with one for next year.

  32. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    My New Year’s Resolution is to spread joy-to intentionally look for ways I can make a difference or pay it forward. I choose this becasue I believe it is important to show others kindness.

  33. laura b says:

    One of our resolutions is most definitely to cook more. We are doing good so far!

  34. susan smoaks says:

    i have resolved to lose 30 pounds and get down to my ideal weight for once in my life

  35. Samantha says:

    My New Years resolution is to be the best mommy I can be! My daughter is due in 5 days, so I chose this because she is the most important person in my life (sorry hubby!)

    1. Samantha says:

      Congrats! I had a January baby last year so I’ll think snow-free thoughts for you until she is born. I was terrified I’d be one of those women on the news who have their baby on the road in a snowstorm!

  36. Tina3 says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to not take the little things for granted.

  37. Rosanne says:

    My New Years resolution is to get back to working out 5 days a week. I also want to rent or sell my inherited property by June

  38. Rosanne says:

    My favorite post was the Top Signature Restaurants for Vegan Diners in Walt Disney World

  39. Patrycja Chudziak says:

    My New Year’s Resolution is to eat healthier because I am having a lot of health/medical issues and I know a good healthy diet of eating right would improve my health drastically.

  40. Linda G. says:

    I made a resolution to walk several times a week because I need to get in shape. So far so good, I have been walking every other day.

  41. Kayla says:

    My new years resolution was to be an overall happier person because there’s no sense in being upset over things you can’t change.

  42. Tanya White says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to be more happier and to do more for myself.

  43. Sarah L says:

    My goal is to swim 3 times a week. Keeps me active.
    Thanks for the contest.

  44. My New Year’s resolution is to lose some weight this coming year.I gained a lot of weight, so for my health’s sake, I need to do something.

  45. I liked the Creamy Vegan Broccoli Mushroom Soup Recipe because I love savory dishes. I most definitely will be making this great recipe soon.

  46. Patrice P. says:

    My resolution is to be more fit. I have already started eating better, but I need more exercise.

  47. Mary Gardner says:

    I didn’t make any big resolutions this year. I will just try to stay happy and healthy with good food, exercise, spending time with family and fun times.

  48. Betty Curran says:

    I didn’t exactly make a resolution because I never seem to follow through. Instead I made a list of improvements to do during the year. Some are home organization and some are personal goals.

  49. Lindsay says:

    My resolution is to start doing yoga because I need to get in shape.

  50. Lily Kwan says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to be more organized because I need to declutter my home.

  51. Elizabeth H. says:

    My resolution is to cut down on the sugar I eat because I have Type 2 Diabetes.

  52. Buddy Garrett says:

    My New Year’s resolution is to learn how to play the guitar. I have always wanted to play in a band. Now thst I am retired I need something to do.

  53. Ingrid says:

    Whooooh!!! Thank you!
    This is definitely a nice boost for me in regard to keeping my new year’s resolutions. I’m joining a yoga club today and yesterday I started meditating again. Hurray!

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