Art of Chill Holidays

5 Actually Fun, Actually Doable New Year's Resolutions (I Swear)

Take what you want, leave the rest.

January  1, 2019
Photo by Pexels

It's the most wonderful time of the year—so bring on the comfort & joy, we say. In The Art of Chill Holidays, we'll show you how we keep celebrations low-key, with festive decor tricks, clever time-saving tips, and scrumptious spreads of snacks (always snacks!).

I am straight-up bad at New Year’s resolutions. Full disclosure: I have never made one.

I know, who am I to be giving you any advice on how to resolve yourself this year. No one, that’s who. So I polled everyone I know (thankssss!) to ask them about their New Year’s resolutions—if they partake, why or why not, and tips for how to stick to them.

Here are a few of the trends that emerged. Take what you want, leave the rest.

1. Go far with travel resolutions

When there's barely time to connect with friends that live in our own city, keeping up a relationship with friends/family in other states or countries feels intimidating. Yes, there’s always Skype, phone calls on your walk home, and Instagram — but none of those can replace an actual visit where you get to drink too much red wine together and reveal your weird childhood crushes.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I love resolutions. I make them, and I keep them, and life is so, so good.”
— Mrs B.

Since we all know that New Year's resolutions tend to fall by the wayside as the year goes on, this is an easy one you can do right now. Text a couple friends and see who wants to take a long weekend jaunt this year! Or set some flight alerts to keep an eye on prices to your dream destinations.

Or maybe this year you want to do a solo trip. Props. It’s baby steps, but this year I want to take a weekday off and go for a long day hike by myself. Then I will reward myself with a breakfast burrito for dinner.

2. Fitness resolutions are good—within reason

We’re not talking numbers-related weight loss goals here (though if that works for you somehow, cool). Instead, many people I spoke to had broader fitness goals with actionable milestones.

For example, my friend Diego, who works in tech at Counter Culture Coffee, wants to work his way up to a century bike ride (100 miles) by the end of 2019. My neighbor Elliot, who runs super-long distances for fun (sometimes people are weird), wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon. And yours truly, a relative fitness n00b, is signing up for a half marathon! This is not on-brand for me, but I’m going to give it a go.

It’s a lot easier to continue momentum than to suddenly become “healthy”. So start now. Yes, this very day! Maybe join a gym and commit to going two to three times a week, break out those jogging shoes, or, if you’re like me and lack follow-through, sign up for a weekly paid class: That way, you’ll have to go.

3. Get crafty with creative goals

A lot of the people I polled had New Year’s resolutions to nurture their creativity: from pottery classes to creative writing.

This can be especially tricky if being creative is part of your job, like Emma Laukitis, co-founder of eco-friendly clothing brand, Salmon Sisters. She told me that she wants to do more “artwork for myself, not my business,” in the new year.

Creative endeavors (embroidery! watercolor! pottery!) are easy to let fall to the wayside, though, bumped because of social plans or workloads. Look for an artsy themed meetup or class in your area, like figure drawing or a fiction workshop. Basically a reason that you can’t not do your creative thing. If you have a little bit more spending power come January and want to learn a totally new skill, maybe give a ceramics class a spin. Bonus: You get a bunch of cool mugs out of it—and gifts forever.

If you’re like “nah” to the whole creativity thing, you could also resolve to support others’ creativity. Buy some art! Pop into galleries and see what you’re drawn to. Go to craft fairs. You probably have at least a few friends who make art, either as a job, a side hustle, or just a passion. Commission them to make something for you and make sure you pay them for it.

4. Make some adventurous cooking decisions

You didn’t think you were going to get out of here without a food-related resolution, did you? Here are a few common themes for your resolu-spiration:

Refresh weeknight cooking

This is the hardest cooking resolution of all — but also the one that will have the largest impact on your everyday life. Maybe this is the year you master the sheet pan dinner (psst—it’s really easy). Maybe this year you finally tackle some takeout classics in your own kitchen. Maybe this is the year you figure out that risotto is actually weeknight-friendly!

Bake more

Bake for parties, bake for your coworkers, bake for your loved ones, or bake for yourself. All that matters is that you’re cranking up that oven and doing it. I’m currently working my way through this home-run cookbook, if you need some inspiration.

Shop at the farmers market more often

Yes, it can (often) be pricier than swinging by your grocery store, but it’s also a) almost certainly better tasting, and b) you can feel great knowing that you are supporting local merchants. Plus have you ever seen the dog scene at farmers markets? That alone makes the trip worth it.

Eat less meat

Maybe this is the year you try vegan-uary—maybe you just cut down on your meat consumption, or commit to eating humanely raised beef and sustainably caught fish. If you need some veggie assistance, this book is a good starting point—and here’s your easy intro dish.

Think small and doable

My personal food-related resolution is a small but achievable one: buy more interesting condiments. I’m talking lacto-fermented hot sauce from the farmers market, nice jam for morning toast, or something new like yuzu sauce. I love preserved lemons but I never buy them because I’m afraid to commit to a whole jar. No more.

5. Self-care, in whatever way works for you

Yes, “self-care” is a very overused term. It’s something we tell ourselves when we spend too much money on pine-scented candles or too much time in the cheese section (hi, me!).

But also it is really nice to give yourself an excuse to do/buy things that make you happy. Especially if those are things enable habits that are “good” for you: a pack of workout classes, a new skin moisturizer, tickets to visit that friend you haven’t seen in way way too long. Maybe a puppy (JK, do not buy yourself a puppy unless you’re ready for the expense and time commitment that is a puppy).

If you don’t want to spend any cash, plenty of self-care actions are available at no cost to yourself: hydrating, stretching, going for a long walk once a week. Maybe this is the year you finally break out that weird floor pillow and meditate! (Maybe not.) Plus, some self-care things actually help you save money, like cooking a week’s worth of lunches on Sunday afternoon.

Self-care can also be not doing things. My friend Calli, who works in local government, wants to be better about setting boundaries come this year. “I want to practice saying no instead of overcommitting myself,” she said when I asked about her resolutions. Because while you might feel kind of sh*#@y when you say “no” to a friend’s invite even though you don’t have other plans, it’s light-years better than flaking because you're super drained (like you knew you would be).

It goes without saying, but there is no reason that January is the only―or best―time to make a new goal or recommit yourself to an old one. Any time is a good time for resolutions.

Hopefully the ones above gave you some inspiration, but if not, you could always follow my friend Ashley’s short-but-sweet resolution: “Chrissy Teigen.” Do with that what you will.

Are you making resolutions for the new year? Let us know below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mrs Beryl Patmore
    Mrs Beryl Patmore
  • BerryBaby
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Catherine Lamb
    Catherine Lamb
  • AntoniaJames
A kitchen scientist and dog-lover. Someday I want to have you over for dinner.


Mrs B. January 1, 2019
Two 16k and two 32K bike rides per week (weather permitting), minimum, and compete in the all-women's Venus de Miles race in Boulder County in August. Longer weekend rides as we get closer to the race. Swim 6.5K per week by the end of Q1. Meet and get together with other people in or near Boulder who love to cook (start a supper club!) I love resolutions. I make them, and I keep them, and life is so, so good.
Catherine L. January 2, 2019
Badass! That's amazing. I have a bike and my goal is just to ride it.., occasionally. Which is actually pretty hard in Seattle with all the hills!
BerryBaby January 1, 2019
I don't make any. I change things during the year as they come up.
One thing I promised myself is, "I am NOT allowed to think, worry or dwell on negative things that HAVE NOT happened!" No more "what if" thoughts. My dear, departed, friend who was 104 💕 gave me this advice over and over. This year I'm really going to work on it. Happy New Year!
Catherine L. January 2, 2019
Ooh, that's a challenge for me as well. Nice one!
Mrs B. January 3, 2019
Well, all that will be a warmup for the Festive 500 challenge made particularly interesting by the December weather here in Boulder County. I reserve accepting any accolades of achieving badass status until I complete that.
AntoniaJames January 3, 2019
Mrs Patmore, it looks like your comment ended up in the wrong place. . . no matter . . .

I hope to participate in both of those cycling events as well - and since I'm new to the area, would especially appreciate the opportunity to join a local Boulder area supper club! ;o)
Posie (. December 31, 2018
Resolution: read more of Catherine Lamb's writing.
Catherine L. January 2, 2019