Best Top Ten New Year's Resolutions

Of the many fascinating and unusual New Year's traditions, the annual writing down of New Year's resolutions, these self-imposed vows to improve, revive, or otherwise completely overhaul our lives, is one of the most interesting. The exchanging of resolutions over a glass of champagne at a New Year's Eve party is almost a national pass-time.

What is it about this time of year that prompts us to try to improve our lives? Why do we go to all the trouble of writing down these impossible dreams, only to break them a few short weeks later? ...and are they truly impossible?

We've all made them, tried to keep them, and broken most of them before the first month of the new year was done and down. Some resolutions have not even survived the week in which they were made. I have written them in my diary, in a grade-school essay, and on a cocktail napkin, but no matter where they were first noted down, they rarely survived long past their initial inscription.

Why Do We Make New Year's Resolutions?

When we were very young, my sister and I were given our first "Personal Diaries" for Christmas by some well-intentioned relative. We had received Autograph Albums before, but this was a new concept - having a place to write down our very own private thoughts.

When the thrill of having a little locked book began to wane sometime during the second day of the holidays, we asked our mother what we should write in the little books besides our very own private thoughts. She suggested that we write down some New Year's resolutions.

That was the beginning of what was to become an annual tradition of deciding what I wanted to amend, exchanging my list with others, and then laughingly pointing the finger at the first ones to flinch and lose their way on the path to self-improvement.

My first list started with the usual, "Do the dishes without being asked," "Be nicer to my sister - no more fighting," and "Clean up my room and make my bed without being told." By the time I was a few years older, I had begun to enlarge my scope to include wishing for "world peace and goodwill to all men". I'm still not sure how I thought I would achieve that, but it seemed a satisfyingly lofty goal to a twelve year old.

Many of us make resolutions out of a sincere desire to improve ourselves andr our lives. Usually we have every intention of keeping them, but we often make the goals so difficult to achieve that we grow discouraged and give up. Perhaps, as in this lovely lyric from ABBA, the desired results are worthy but slightly beyond the reach of most ordinary mortals.

Super Group ABBA
Super Group ABBA
Early ABBA
Early ABBA
ABBA in cool blue
ABBA in cool blue

A great sentiment for any New Year's Eve, expressed as only ABBA can:

Happy New Year

No more champagne

And the fireworks are through

Here we are, me and you

Feeling lost and feeling blue


It's the end of the party

And the morning seems so grey

So unlike yesterday

Now's the time for us to say...


Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May we all have a vision now and then

Of a world where every neighbour is a friend

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May we all have our hopes, our will to try

If we don't we might as well lay down and die

You and I


Sometimes I see

How the brave new world arrives

And I see how it thrives

In the ashes of our lives


Oh yes, man is a fool

And he thinks he'll be okay

Dragging on, feet of clay

Never knowing he's astray

Keeps on going anyway...


Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May we all have a vision now and then

Of a world where every neighbour is a friend

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May we all have our hopes, our will to try

If we don't we might as well lay down and die

You and I


Seems to me now

That the dreams we had before

Are all dead, nothing more

Than confetti on the floor


It's the end of a decade

In another ten years time

Who can say what we'll find

What lies waiting down the line

In the end of eighty-nine...


Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May we all have a vision now and then

Of a world where every neighbour is a friend

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

May we all have our hopes, our will to try

If we don't we might as well lay down and die

You and I


by Benny Goran Andersson & Bjoern Ulvaeus


Let's Pick Achievable Goals...

Top Ten List of New Year's Resolutions

The most popular resolutions are not so lofty as to be impossible to achieve, but sticking to them can take a good deal of "resolve", hence the term, New Year's "resolutions". Keeping your resolutions is supposed to be an exercise in character building, as well a means of improving your life.

  1. Stop Smoking - This resolution is one of the most often cited. Some of us seem to need that extra boost of telling everyone that we are done with this increasingly expensive habit to be able to stick to our decision to quit. Viewed by some as more of an addiction than a "bad-habit", though, smoking can be a tough one to overcome. Successful cessation of smoking can sometimes require a lot more than a strong resolve. The simplest and best advice I have ever heard about quitting smoking is this: You are either a smoker, or a non-smoker. Decide which one you are, and be that.
  2. Quit Drinking - How many times have you heard this one? ...and usually from someone who has had far too much to drink. I have heard this one slurred into my ear, mumbled into my lap by a sadly hungover sufferer, and hollered from across the proverbial "crowded room." Regardless of the circumstances, this resolution, though one of the most often invoked, is also the least often kept - at least for any length of time.
  3. Lose Weight / Go On A Diet - This seems to be another very difficult one to maintain. Much like the stair stepper that languishes in the spare bedroom, or the gym membership (see below ) that is never used, sticking to a weight loss plan is easy to start but hard to maintain. Starting it at the end of the holiday season, on New Year's Eve does give you a psychological edge to start with, but the return to the regular grind after the holiday season can also make following a restricted eating plan seem as equally dull and boring, when compared to the treats you enjoyed during the holiday.
  4. Start An Exercise Program / Get Fit - (see above ) So many of us start off gang-busters on this one and peter out after a while. One of the best ways to actually achieve your goal here is to enlist the help of a friend - better yet two or three friends. You can all keep each other on track
  5. Get Out Of Debt / Take Control Of Spending - Having our finances under better control, getting a handle on impulse buying, and paying off our debts fit under the "getting our finances in order" umbrella. This can be challenging, especially if we have allowed things to just roll along organically with little planning. Contacting a financial planner or investment counselor can be the first positive step towards keeping this resolution on track.
  6. Eat More Healthily - This can be a bit tricky if you and your loved ones aren't up for moderate change, but even sneaking minced or shredded veggies into the meatloaf can be a start. Check out your local bookstore, the entertainment or life styles section of your newspaper, or hop online, and you can be knee-deep in recipes for healthy cuisine in no time at all. Many of these new-age subversives are quite gifted at hiding healthful food choices under the guise of mouth-pleasing, and even mildly decadent "nummies."
  7. Take Some Time Just For Yourself - Whether it's a spa day, a weekend get-away, or simply sending Dad out with the kids for a few hours on the weekend, you do deserve some "down time." We seem to have a problem meting out to ourselves even a portion of the affection and attention we lavish on our families and friends without a second thought. Relax with a good book, listen to your music, indulge yourself in a little treat - you deserve it.
  8. Spend More Quality Time With Kids &/Or Family - ...and on the other end of the scale, we may feel we need to plan some time with our family and special friends. It's so easy to drift along and let our busy schedules dictate every minute of our lives. We can so easily lose contact with each other, or mistake a smattering of conversation over a hurried meal before we rush to another activity for spending time together. Build in some family time - a games night, or activities the whole family can enjoy together. Plan for some time with good friends - pick a movie or group activities that will challenge as well as entertain..
  9. Learn Something New / Go Back To School - My granny always maintained you were never too old to learn something new. Many people go back to school after they have retired from their careers, or take up hobbies they always put off starting, citing a lack of time. You don't have to wait 'til retirement, though, or drop everything to go back to school full-time. Many community colleges and rec centers offer afternoon and evening classes for a wide variety of interests, from hobbies and arts to academics.
  10. Get Organized / Be On Time - ...and with this item, we have returned to the realms of lofty and difficult-to-maintain goals. A good place to start is the magazine rack for the most recent copy of a publication that specializes in reducing clutter and time management tips. There are lots of useful and simple strategies to follow in both areas, but they will require effort and consistency to achieve. The pay-off will be that you will have a tidy house, a workable schedule, and arrive on time and un-flustered.

As for me, I will just grab another cocktail napkin on New Year's Eve, and jot down a few lofty, far-too-idealistic, and probably unachievable resolutions...me and ABBA...and they can have the last words on this topic...

More by this Author


Comments 87 comments

Laura du Toit profile image

Laura du Toit 7 years ago from South Africa

Great Hub - Just proves that our shortcomings are basically the same as is our willpower to stick to New Year's resolutions. Gave up on making them when I realized I was only kidding myself. Enjoyed your hub!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much Laura - you certainly have the right of that...and Holy Moly what are you doing up right now?


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 7 years ago from On New Footing

I liked this hub. My New Year's Resolution would probably have to be something to the effect of not letting any more negativity into my life, focusing on the positives and expecting good things to happen for me!


Stardard Info profile image

Stardard Info 7 years ago

Hey RedElf,

Great job and great article you have here. As a matter of fact I will writing one about quitting smoking soon.

Thanks

Kamrul


emievil profile image

emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

Oooohhh, New Year's Resolutions eh. I kept making them when I was younger then I kept on breaking them LOL. Now I only have one resolution - to be happy always :).Great Hub Red Elf.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

To get organized... I have wished for that since I can remember... Maybe next year I'll make it!


David R Bradley profile image

David R Bradley 7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

For many, a resolution or goal will only be attainable when it takes on a value that is far greater then ourselves. Then we can let go of Ego's ideas that we are what we think we are and what other people think we are. Finally, when you can detach from the out come and simply focus daily on the task at hand that particular, unique day...


Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

I've learnt my lesson over the years ... and have stopped writing the resolutions ... why make oneself feel guilty every time one sees what one could not adhere to.

But, you're so right about the most common ones! :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, advisor4qb - those are great goals! I like them much better than "cleaning my room" ;)

Excellent, Kamrul, and thank you very much - I will look forward to reading it!

Ahhh, emievil, some January days I used to feel like I had done the "make and break" dance more often than the solenoid switch in my toaster ;) - love your resolution! I think I'll have to adopt that one too!

Princessa, I have a few books, and some great plastic bins - I'll send them to you along with the "How-To" instructions...just don't ask me if they work, lol!

David, you make it sound as simple as it actually is ;) - if we would only just do that! Sage words, my friend.

That will have to be my next resolution, Jaspal! You are so right in that - thanks so much! ;)


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I could do with 8 of the 10 that you listed, RedElf, which pretty much means that I'm an awful person :D

It's never too late or too soon to change your life for the better, right? Thanks for sharing such great tips and Happy New Year in advance!!!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

dohn121, I don't think even 10 out of 10 would make you an awful person ;) ...and you're right - it's never too late!


favoraffair profile image

favoraffair 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great Hub! But I would love to add to the list. Work on being more nicer! Work on being on time!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

Ah, good hub. Have one on me, for Auld Lang Syne.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, favoraffair! Two very good points - and I imagine I'll collect a lot more ;)

Welcome, Paradise7! I'll join you in one!


cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India

You beat me to this one. I was thinking of this next :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Great minds... ;)


warwickcleaners profile image

warwickcleaners 7 years ago from Warwickshire

You really have hit the nail of the head with those top 10 resolutions! Almost all apply to me. Great hub.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, warwickcleaners! Nice of you to stop by and comment. It wasn't so hard to come up with the list as I had so much experience (personal and second hand, LOL) :) :)


wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 7 years ago from U.K.

Great hub, I always make unrealistic, unachievable and idealistic resulotions too!:) It must be the optimist in me. Great advice and observation.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much wrenfrost56! ...and from one unrepentant optimist to another, Happy Best New Year's ever! (a day or two early, lol)


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

I resolve not to make any resolutions...I have none to break then! :P


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Too smart, FP. Way to cut to the chase, LOL!


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

Great Hub, There are about 3 of the resolutions above that I just stop making; because it became evident that I would not keep them pass January.:)

I've found that committing to writing in a journal and setting monthly goals work better for me... That way the following new year's eve, I can celebrate accomplished success and have optimism to an even better new year without the guilt. :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

I am impressed, Money Glitch. That sounds like a most sensible plan!


travelespresso profile image

travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

Hello RedElf

I enjoyed your hub. It was nice to be remined about those little locked diaries which I received as presents a few years. They were such treasures.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Greeting, travelespresso! I loved them too - never knew what to write in them, but I guess I'm making up for it now, in a way ;)


create a page profile image

create a page 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

I enjoyed reading your hub RedElf. I think one thing on the list that I have not been able to do all year, is to take time some time just for myself. I have forgotten how to do that, but I need to develop the art. Once I am successful in that area I can do so many things that I have always wanted to do. Thanks for this wonderful hub.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, create a page! Glad you stopped by for a read. Making time for myself is something I have to work on too, lol. You are most welcome, by the way.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

I don't smoke and drinking isn't an issue, but losing weight and getting fit make my resolutions list every year. I did join a gym this year and still go, but it took me until April to sign up.

I should make a resolution to control my spending, but..well, maybe next year. Or the one after that.

Thanks for the post, it was a fun read.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, Mike. Sounds like you have a hub in there, LOL!


MD 7 years ago

Ha, except # 1 and #2, they are all on my list too...funny how similar human beings are....


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Ain't that the truth, MD! In some ways we're all sisters (and brothers) under the skin.


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

yes its a good time to get resolutions ready. I hope I can stck with mine this year. Great Hub. The List says it all.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much - that list hits almost all the really big ones. I have another great list entitled "Just for Today" that dwells on positives - it's a good one, too.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Far as New Year resolutions I quit making them a long time ago. I will live each day as it comes - Good Hub


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Great philosophy and one I highly recommend! Thanks for stopping by to comment.


Hussains profile image

Hussains 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great hub. Sticking to the resolutions is as important as making them, very thoughtful and useful. Thanks for sharing.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

You got that one right, Hussains! It's for sure a lot harder to stick to them for any length of time ;) Thanks for commenting!


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Good list. I think I'll commandeer a few, if you don't mind. I think "Taking Time For Yourself" may be the most important one on the list. The others are important too, but I don't drink, smoke, etc. A little quiet time each day can make the other items easier to attain.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

That's a great idea David. Thanks ofr your insights, too.

harryche, thanks for your comments - I have posted them here without the link:

harryche says:

27 hours ago

Great hub on setting goals.

Thanks so much, Keith - you go right ahead!


Albertttt profile image

Albertttt 6 years ago

People make a lot of them but most are dropped withing two weeks or less.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

You got the right of that, Albertttt. I have read that to make something a habit, you have to "do" it for two weeks - maybe it should be longer to truly stick ;)


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

love it, Happy New Year redelf, 8 and 10 for me, I like the Abba song too,

Best always, Maita


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Maita. It's one of my favorite songs, too.


Nicks 6 years ago

Maybe the best New Year's resolution should be - to make no resolutions! If you need an artifical calendar date to start or stop something then it indicates a lack of will whichever way you look at it!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Well, Nick, I think as long as people are people, we'll be looking for ways to improve ourselves. If making a list works for a few, then I guess that's OK. For the most part, though, I think you are on the right track.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

Awesome Hub! I've fulfilled most New Year's resolutions that are popular in previous years (practice year after year until I finally get it right..haha)So my resolution this year is to become a foster parent. My dogs have made their resolution to stop tormenting my cat and my cat has promised to be less of a drama queen. ;) Great hub!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Awesome resolutions, thh! Keep in touch about how well the cat and dogs do ;) and good on you for becoming a foster parent.


christianbooks profile image

christianbooks 6 years ago

Nice Hub! I have always make a list of New Year's Resolutions, funny though while I was reading on this hub that its seems like a tradition but we give up on it after a month or so. Now , you got me thinking if I ever had any resolution that has been successful all throughout the year


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

I'm sure you must have been successful at some of them ;) Dinna fash yersel' ;)


KLeichester 6 years ago

The post was interesting. I liked it.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Glad you enjoyed the article, KLeichester


arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 5 years ago from Manchester, England

good thoughtful list - my own resolution is never to make resolutions - managed to keep that one every year


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Good one, arthurchappell! I would have no problem keeping that one :D:D:D


carrie450 profile image

carrie450 5 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

I no longer make any New Year resolutions. The only one I kept was last year was to eat healthier and I'm still striving to do that. A very good hub RedElf and I just love Abba, thanks


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, carrie - I love ABBA, too. Maybe we should both follow arthurchappell's example and resolve to not make any more New Year's resolutions?


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much for your comment, Manasidas - I have included it below without the article link ;)

Manasidas 3 hours ago

Well its really a great hub. You can visit this page also.


lender3212000 profile image

lender3212000 5 years ago from Beverly Hills, CA

I try to think of them as personal development goals rather than resolutions, it makes them much more difficult to sweep under the rug after a few weeks. Still trying to decide what my goal will be for this year!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

That's a very sensible way to manage resolutions, I think - thanks for the great idea, lender3212000


SUSIE DUZY profile image

SUSIE DUZY 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

I haven't decided on my New Year's resoution yet. I have to have one, but can't decide on just one, there are too many. Thanks for the suggestions.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, Suzie Duzy - maybe you don't even need to make one - maybe that could be your resolution?


Anilvk profile image

Anilvk 5 years ago from Dubai

I've penned some lines about New Year. You are welcomed to view the poem and comment.

Have a Blessed New Year


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Anilvk, thanks so much for stopping by to comment. Happy New Year to you, too.


Klena profile image

Klena 5 years ago from England

An excellent hub! I always take until the end of the Bank Holiday here in the UK (which is tomorrow) to work out my New Years resolution. I feel that trying to cobble together my list on the 31st means that I haven't seriously considered the resolution properly.

It was lovely to hear of your personal experiences with the New Years resolutions, I'm looking forward to reading more of your hubs :)


petertheknight profile image

petertheknight 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Wonderful article! Thank you so much and Happy New Year!


kidsinvite profile image

kidsinvite 5 years ago

Exactly true! This is on my top list as well.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, petertheknight. Happy New Year to you, too!

Klena, I didn't realize your banks closed for so long over the holidays - how nice for all the tellers et al. Thanks and Happy New Year to you too.

kidsinvite, nice of you to stop by and comment, as well. Thanks so much, and Happy New Year!


Klena profile image

Klena 5 years ago from England

The banks do indeed! This year, because New Years fell on a Saturday, we still had a Bank Holiday to take, hence everyone being off yesterday! Nice for everyone involved :)

Happy New Year!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Lovely - wish we had that over here :D


Klena profile image

Klena 5 years ago from England

I wasn't aware that you didn't? Did everyone go back to work on Monday?


anuramkumar profile image

anuramkumar 5 years ago from Chennai, India

Starting an exercise program has always been one of my new year resolutions...lol as I always break this resolution.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Klena, everyone went back except those with pre-booked holidays, and Government workers.

I have trouble with that one, too anuramkumar! Happy New Year!


Klena profile image

Klena 5 years ago from England

Oh dear, I didn't realise! We are exceptionally lucky then!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

That you are, Klena - that you are :D


Klena profile image

Klena 5 years ago from England

I'll be sure toappreciate these random days off in future then!


Seventh Isle profile image

Seventh Isle 5 years ago

Number 5 and 8 sound like my own resolution this year :)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

7th Isle - intrigued by your username - what is its relevance? In the meantime, thanks for stopping by to comment. Glad you found some resolutions :D:D:D


Radioguy profile image

Radioguy 5 years ago from Maine

Great Stuff...and thanks for ABBA!!!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, Radioguy. I love some of their stuff!


maxravi profile image

maxravi 4 years ago from India

Nice hub.. my resolution will be wake up early :) difficult but i have to..


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

If waking up early is something you must do, then that is an excellent resolution to make, maxravi.


dream girl 4 years ago

thxs for sharing.....its really nice... i jux want to switch over my bad things and plug in my good things..so this essay will heip me.... ;)


RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

You are most welcome, dream girl, and good luck


FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 3 years ago from United States

The #7... that one I achieved this year. I learned to enjoy more time by myself. I love the ABBA part... thanks for including that! :D


RedElf profile image

RedElf 3 years ago from Canada Author

Good for you, FullOfLove! I am a fan of ABBA, too.


Hermie 3 years ago

Enjoyed your hub pages. May I use your Top Ten List of New Year's Resolutions in our community paper, The Philippine Reporter? If you allow me, I'll give you credit as "From the HubPages of Red Elf" Is that okay?


RedElf profile image

RedElf 3 years ago from Canada Author

Be my guest, Hermie, and thanks for the credit.

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