5 Non-traditional Resolutions to Try This Year

Popular New Year’s resolutions aren’t for everyone. Saving money, losing weight, changing careers—you may find each of these goals more vague than they appear. There’s a lot of pressure attached to any journey when the destination isn’t clearly mapped out.  

Plus, lots of resolutions like these involve aspects of life that aren’t fully in your control. For example, financial and professional goals are always going to be affected by whichever way the economic wind happens to be blowing. 

Otherwise, you might be someone with a desire to achieve a meaningful New Year’s resolution, but the popular topics don’t align with the areas in your life that need improvement. 

This guide offers a smorgasbord of non-traditional New Year’s resolutions, with advice for how to stick with them that goes beyond the conventional approach. Each of these five resolutions will definitely be helpful to anyone, and hopefully they’ll inspire you to make a positive change in your life in 2024.  

1. Walk 2,500 more steps per day  

These days, most smartphones have a built-in app that tracks your daily step count. Find out what your average daily step count is, then add 2,500, and you’ve got your target! 

This is a great resolution because it can benefit everyone, from the marathon trainee to the total beginner looking for some moderate exercise and headspace. Everyone’s strides are different, but 2,500 steps equal roughly one mile, and should take around 20 or 30 minutes to complete.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, taking brisk walks regularly can have major health benefits, including stress reduction, improved sleep, heart disease prevention, immune system strengthening, and more! 

For increased motivation and a sense of camaraderie in your new walking habit, try joining a community like Central Park NYC Ever Walk. This Meetup group of more than 2,300 members gathers every Saturday for a stroll.  

2. Sample a different artistic hobby each month  

An artistic hobby is any activity where the end goal is simply to express yourself in a creative way. Too often, people get discouraged because they don’t consider themselves to be “artists,” and they end up denying themselves one of life’s greatest pleasures. 

Creative hobbies are much more than just a way to pass the time. Take, for example, a study reported on by the New York Times that suggests just 10 minutes of coloring or doodling can improve your mood. The research demonstrated that this sensation is true regardless of skill level. It’s not the success of the end product, but the concentrated focus on your task, that makes artistic hobbies so worthwhile.   

Instead of trying to commit to a whole year of one hobby, why not enjoy a whole smorgasbord of creativity for your New Year’s resolution? Check out the Meetup Arts & Culture events page, and hop around between pursuits like photography, painting, writing, knitting, filmmaking, and more—at least until you find one that truly speaks to you.  

3. Read more books in 2024 than you did in 2023 

This open-ended resolution will provide a healthy challenge for well-read bookworms and newcomers alike. First, track what you read last year—a free resource like Goodreads comes in handy here. Then, all you have to do is commit to increasing this year’s book total by at least one. 

A great way to get recommendations and to stay on course with your reading is by joining a book club. Or, if you’re feeling really inspired, you can easily create your own Meetup book club and invite others to join you. There are many different ways to run a book club, each of them just as valid as the next. For example, you could create a “choose your own book” club, pair your book club with other activities like local sightseeing, incorporate silent reading time into your events, and more. 

4. Complete an act of service every week  

Showing kindness and generosity toward others is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your free time. Plus, an act of service for someone else can also be an act of service for yourself, because volunteerism can be a huge boon to your own mental health. If you want to join in on the “pay it forward” mantra this year, consider some of these popular ways to give back to your community: 

  • Check in on elderly relatives or neighbors 
  • Pick up litter at a public park 
  • Organize a food drive 
  • Donate spare items of clothing 
  • Plant trees  

Volunteering events are easy to come by on Meetup, with over 1 million members taking part in more than 1,300 volunteering groups worldwide

5. Make one new friend in 2024 

Friendship isn’t a luxury, but a vital part of every human being’s health and wellbeing. Despite this, a whopping 12% of Americans reported not having a single close friend in 2021. For context, this percentage is four times as many as was reported in 1990. 

This year, buck the trend and prioritize your social life by going the extra mile and laying the foundation for true friendship. 

According to researchers at the University of Kansas, it takes 40 to 60 hours of time together for any connection to move from acquaintance to genuine friendship. As Aristotle phrased it, “friendship is a slow ripening fruit.” Hobbies are a great way to meet people, but you can also join a casual group, like The Chicago Social Club (20’s to 40’s) or the San Diego Seniors Social Club, if you prefer to just kick back and chat.

This article was written by James Quigley who is a writer, editor, and educator whose work has received Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets nominations. James was born and raised in New York, where he lives and works as a freelance writer. See more of his writing here.

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