New beginnings are heralded by the new year. Many see it as a chance for a fresh start. To this end, they may new year’s resolutions to make changes to their lives. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on the year that was, and the things they’d like to do differently the next year.

They make resolutions to change bad habits, take up new challenges, and try to be a better person. Resolutions are often broken quite quickly, but they are worth making in the event a few of them stick.

According to usa.gov data, people make very similar new year’s resolutions. Here is a full list:

Drinking less alcohol

Drinking less alcohol

If you’re a social drinker, there have probably been times when you’ve overdone it a bit. You wake up the next morning bleary-eyed and hungover, wondering why you don’t know when enough is enough. Even worse, you may drink to the point of blacking out, then waking up and not be sure how you got home. Or you may wake up in a strange place not knowing what has happened to you.

People make new year’s resolutions to drink less alcohol because the realize that it’s bad for them to drink so much. Not only are there health risks that accompany excessive drinking, but it can also interfere with your quality of life.

The end of the year with its many parties and too many drinks bring this fact into focus for a lot of people. As a result, they resolve to drink in moderation in future. The aim is to be more self-disciplined when faced with a situation where the drinks are flowing.

Eating healthier food

A lot of people are too tired to cook when they get home from work. This is especially true of people with high pressured jobs who work long hours and come home to an empty apartment. It’s easier to stop for take-out on the way home. Then you can eat and get some sleep. You avoid the hassle of preparing food and cleaning up afterward. There are family units who also eat a lot of unhealthy meals due to the parents’ hectic schedules.

The amount of binge-eating we do at the end of the year is a reminder that the diet we follow is not always healthy. Many people start rethinking their dietary choices. They reflect on how the foods they eat affect their health and well-being. For a lot of people, it’s a wake-up call. They realize that they need to find ways to eat healthier food to secure a healthy future.

Getting a better education

A good education is essential in the employment market today. A high school graduation certificate is not enough to get you a great job. You need to go to college to study. You may already have your degree, but you want to pursue your honors degree. Or it may be that you want to branch out into a totally new field, and you need to start studying from scratch.

As the year closes, a lot of people reflect on their education and decide that they need to improve their qualifications. They realize that to achieve their dreams they need to study.

Colleges and universities report a spike in inquiries about advanced studies just after New Year. There are many requests to continue studying from those who dropped out before completing their courses. This is because so many people resolve to further their education in the new year.

Getting a better job

Many people approach the end of the year and regret not having done something about their jobs. A lot of people hate going to work. They feel that they’re stuck in a dead-end job. Most are not even working in the field they’d wanted to when they left school. Others feel that they work extremely hard but are not appreciated by their bosses. They wish for a magic solution to be presented to them on a platter.

Unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works. When you realize that you’ve wasted another year in a job that you hate, you will resolve to change it. When making such a new year’s resolution, a detailed plan is needed.

You may not accomplish this resolution in a year. You may have to stay in your job while you’re studying to qualify for your dream job. But have a goal for the end of the following year that brings you at least one step closer.

Getting fit

Getting fit

We’re told from the time we start school that exercise is important. It gives our muscles a work-out and keeps the heart healthy. A lot of people really don’t enjoy exercising at all. They’ll procrastinate and do everything they can to avoid it.

Others joined the gym at the beginning of the year but didn’t make the most of their membership. At the end of the year, they weigh up all the money they’ve spent against the fact that their fitness hasn’t improved.

A new year’s resolution to get fit is quite common. After the excessive eating that comes with the festive season and the lack of exercise, people realize it’s time for a change. Such a resolution takes a lot of self-discipline to fulfill. A lot of people start off with great gusto which wanes as the weeks and months pass by. To make such a resolution work, you need to have a detailed plan and stick to it.

Losing weight

We all tend to pack on a few pounds at the end of the year. Office parties, drinks parties, dinners with friends and families, and all the delicious foods that come with them are the norm. Before you know it, that little black dress you wanted to wear to a New Year’s party doesn’t fit anymore. Or your favorite sports jacket is straining at the seams.

Most people who make a resolution to lose weight in the new year, do so with a combination of resolutions to eat healthily and exercise frequently. They realize that the excess weight they’re carrying is bad for their long-term health. If they lose a little weight, their clothes will fit again. They’ll feel confident and healthier. It’s easy to lose hope when you don’t lose as much weight as you’d like. It’s a good idea to have a target weight you’re working towards. It is more motivating.

Managing debt

There’s nothing like the end of year cycle of buying gifts to remind you of your debt situation. It could be that you’re in over your head and drowning in debt. Perhaps you’ve realized that you’ve made unnecessary debts that may be difficult to discharge. Or you’re one interest rate hike away from being able to afford to pay your debts.

The new year is a good time to re-strategize your debt situation. People seek debt counseling early in the new year. They get their debts consolidated so that they’re easier to pay off. Being more conscious of your debt situation is a good new year’s resolution.

Making debt can be dangerous. Before you know it, debt has taken over your life. Your mailbox is full of bills marked ‘Final Notice.’ Getting a handle on your debt is a great way to start the new year. Consult a financial advisor on the best way forward to manage your debt.

Managing stress

As people evaluate the year that was, they see the enormous amount of stress they’ve experienced. Stress comes in many forms from many different sources. Your financial situation, personal relationships, family problems, and work environment are all factors that contribute to your stress levels. Increased stress levels are unhealthy. They can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.

A lot of people start the year off determined to reduce their stress levels. They recognize that continuing with such high levels of stress is dangerous to their health. Resolving to reduce your stress levels is a good idea. But it’s also a very vague one. You need to have a specific strategy in place.

Identify the sources of your stress and brainstorm how to manage them. Learn and implement stress reduction techniques to help you manage your stress in the new year. If you find yourself not coping, get counseling to help you.

Quitting smoking

Quitting smoking

People often realize at the end of the year how their smoking habit is damaging their health. They count up the cost of smoking and think of other things they could have spent the money on. They feel the shortness of breath that accompanies smoking. In addition, they smell the cigarette smoke on their breath and in their clothes. A cough they wake up with is a reminder of the price you pay for smoking.

Deciding to quit smoking is a new year’s resolution many smokers make. In fact, they may make the same resolution year after year. When the end of the year comes, and they haven’t managed to quit, they resolve to try again. Tobacco is addictive, and few people succeed in stopping smoking cold turkey.

It is very difficult to do, and you need support. This is a good resolution that will work if you have a plan in place. Make every effort you can to stick to this one. The long-term health benefits will outweigh the struggle you’ll encounter.

Reducing, reusing, and recycling

This resolution is one that many people make. When they listen to the tales of how climate change is affecting the earth, they are inspired to do their part. We are advised by global warming experts that as individuals one of the easiest things we can do is ‘go green.’

It sounds simple enough. Everyone needs to go to the grocery store with their own bags. We need to stop using single-use plastic bottles, straws, and coffee stirrers. We should make sure that excess paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum cans are recycled.

This is a new year’s resolution that’s quite easy to keep. It takes a change in your mindset which is easy if you’re determined. If you get into the habit of sorting and recycling your waste, it becomes part of your routine. And anything you do, no matter how small, is helping our planet. It makes you feel like part of the world community when you do your part. This is both uplifting and empowering.

Saving money

Very few people can boast that their bank account has excess money in it. Most of us could use a little bit more of a savings cushion than we have. Unfortunately, saving is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially true when you’re surrounded by things that you want to buy. Retail therapy can put a dent in your savings account that will take you months to recover from.

At the beginning of the year, people’s savings tend to be depleted. They’ve spent any extra money they have on gifts for friends and family. And then there were all the parties and meals they paid for. That’s why it’s natural to start the year off resolving to save more money. Saving takes a lot of self-discipline. You need to have a set amount that you save each month and put it away where it can’t tempt you.

Taking a trip

Everyone has a dream destination that they’d like to visit. They can see themselves there in their mind’s eye. Whether it’s exotic Bali or romantic Paris, we all have that ‘one-day’ holiday that we’re holding out for. But getting through the year with a positive bank balance can be challenging enough, let alone planning the trip of a lifetime. As the year ends, and you still didn’t get to travel, you’ll be inclined to making a new year’s resolution.

A realistic new year’s resolution should be to start a savings account to bank money toward your trip. Don’t set an unreachable goal like going on this trip before the end of the year when it’s not financially viable. You’ll give up before you even start. Your resolution must be achievable. Have a set of goals to work toward each month to help you achieve your lifelong dream.

Volunteering to help others

Volunteering to help others

The end of the year excess brings into stark contrast the dire need of those less fortunate than we are. We tend to take stock of our own lives and be grateful for the many privileges we have. At the same time, it creates an awakening within ourselves. We start to see the people around you who have fallen on hard times and are struggling. It reminds us of our humanity, and how important it is to help others.

A lot of people will decide to start the new year off with a resolution to volunteer and do some good in the world. This is an admirable sentiment. There are so many organizations that you can lend your skills to. They are in danger of closing due to a lack of funds and staff. Volunteer to work at such an organization.

If you’re the type of person who can fundraise, volunteer to do so. It’s not a skill that everyone has, and you’ll be able to do a lot of good. Find something to do on a voluntary basis that brings you serenity and joy.