For many of us, the start of a new year marks a new beginning and a chance to reaffirm our goals and create new ones. Everyone’s goals will look slightly different: they can be large or small, short-term or long-term. Some people may have places they’d like to visit, careers they’d like to pursue, or negative habits they’d like to break.

However, research tells us that making resolutions can be the easier part, but keeping them up throughout the year can prove a lot more difficult. According to research, of people who made New Year’s resolutions in 2023, only 22% had stuck to them by February.

Over the years, people have offered various different explanations as to why keeping New Year’s resolutions is so difficult. But one that sticks out is from psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, who told Business Insider: “It’s easier to drop out or walk away when you set goals or resolutions that are vague. When it’s really detailed and specific, it’s harder to walk away from it.”

Alpert suggested that rather than setting ourselves large, insurmountable goals that have the potential to overwhelm us, we could instead ask ourselves: “What do I need to do this week, what do I need to do over the next month or so, and what do I hope to accomplish over the next several months?”

With this in mind, and with 2024 ahead of us, we’ve put together a list of 12 New Year’s resolution ideas – one for every month of the year. We’ll also look closer at where New Year’s resolutions came from in the first place, and offer a few tips on how to keep them.

Where did New Year’s resolutions begin?

The earliest New Year’s resolutions are thought to have been made by ancient Babylonians, around 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations for the New Year – though, their new year began in mid-March during the crop planting season.

During this time, they made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any items they’d borrowed. It’s widely believed that these promises were a precursor to the New Year’s resolutions we know today.

Then, in ancient Rome (in 45 B.C.) Julius Caesar changed the calendar so that New Year’s Day fell on January 1st. January was named after ‘Janus’ – the two-faced god of new beginnings whose spirit lived in doorways, gateways, and arches. One face looked back towards the past and the other looked forward to the future. The Romans offered sacrifices to Janus and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.

Ever since then, the first day of the year has become the traditional occasion for looking back at one’s past mistakes and resolving to do better. Though, instead of making promises to the gods, many people make promises to themselves and tend to focus on self-improvement.

12 New Year’s resolutions - one for every month of the year

12 New Year’s resolutions – one for every month of the year

If you want to make 2024 a year for self-development, why not set a new goal for each month, rather than trying to tackle everything at once?

Although you might have many goals you want to achieve, it’s important to remember that one small step can often be the gateway for many other positive changes. For this reason, it’s worth being specific about what you hope each goal will add to your life and where it might lead.

For example, if you want to improve your general health, you could start by improving your sleep, as this in turn can increase your motivation in other health-related areas. Eating better and getting enough exercise is often more manageable if we feel rested.

So, if you have lots that you want to achieve this year but you’re not sure where to start, here are some 2024 New Year’s resolution ideas…


Choose a physical health goal. Do you want to drop some weight? If you do, then perhaps you could start by looking at small ways to increase your activity levels or incorporate more whole foods into your diet. Or, as previously mentioned, perhaps you want to focus on the quality of your sleep.

You could also take a look at what health checks are available and arrange the appropriate appointments.


Set a mental health goal. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, yet few of us treat it as such. So why not give yourself a mental health MOT?

Stress is something that many of us feel, but may not take steps to resolve – either because we’ve become used to it or are too busy. This month you could ask yourself questions such as: Am I happy? Could I be more relaxed? And if so, how can I achieve this?

Our articles,  7 tips for coping with stress and anxiety and 9 simple stress-relieving activities, have plenty of ideas that might help.

You might also want to start practising mindfulness and gratitude, as these are great ways to slow down and start living life in the present moment.

For help calming your mind and putting aside time to work towards this goal, why not sign up to a 30-minute mindfulness meditation class over on Rest Less Events?


Take steps towards changing a negative habit. Whether it’s smoking, drinking too much, or eating junk food, this month you could work towards cutting back or giving up a habit that isn’t serving you well.

The key to breaking negative habits is often to replace them with positive ones, which you can read more about in our article, here.



Review your finances. According to research, 40% of UK adults have felt stressed when making financial decisions in the past two years. Our finances have a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing, and getting on top of them can help to alleviate lots of stress and worry.

The money and finance section of our website offers plenty of information on topics such as pensions and retirement planning, as well as everyday financial matters like car insurance, energy, and mobile phone bills.

We also have plenty of useful guidance in our article, 21 best money saving tips, and within the cost of living crisis resources section of our website.


Declutter your home. This month, why not take a good look around your house and take stock of what you do and don’t use?

Decluttering your home can give you more physical space, and more mental space too. Often, it’s only after we’ve parted with items that we realise how much they were weighing us down.

Decluttering and organising your home can help to improve sleep, boost productivity and creativity, remove allergens, and make the house easier to clean. Plus, it can be fun discovering items that you’d lost or forgotten about. Any items you don’t need anymore can either be sold or donated.

You might find our articles, How to declutter and reorganise your home and 8 tips for minimalist living, useful to help you achieve this goal.


Learn a new skill or hobby. Hobbies aren’t only fun, but have health benefits like helping to improve mental wellbeing and boost confidence, and self-esteem. So, this month, why not start a new hobby or rediscover an old one?

If you’re in need of some inspiration, you might want to check out the hobbies and activities section of our website, which has guides on everything from origami to carpentry.

Alternatively, you might like to have a read of our articles; 8 unusual hobbies you might not have tried and 9 social hobbies to try later in life.



Volunteer your time. Volunteering has many advantages that range from meeting new friends and learning new skills, to giving something back to the community.

If you’re looking for opportunities to volunteer, check out the volunteering section of our website, or seek inspiration in our article; 17 meaningful ways to help others and give back to your community.


Read a book. Do you have a list of books that you want to read but are too busy to do so? If yes, why not make the time this month?

Reading can be a great way to cut down on screen time and is beneficial for the brain and body. You could go to a book shop and browse the choices, or visit your local library and borrow a book.

Having a specific goal can help, so you could try reading a book a month or every two months. If you’re looking to read more, our article, 15 simple tips to help you read more books, might be helpful.

For motivation, and a chance to meet new people and be introduced to new perspectives, you could also consider joining a book club near you, or one of the Rest Less book clubs.


Spend time with family and friends. When we have personal goals that we want to achieve, it can sometimes be difficult to balance these with our social calendars.

But it’s important to remember that connecting with others is a key part of self-care and development too. Family and friends are an important part of our lives as they’re there for us in both good and bad times.

So if you’ve not seen as much of your loved ones as you’d like, why not arrange to catch up? You could suggest putting regular meetups in place, where you go for a meal, coffee, or a walk.

If you’d like to connect with new people, then you might like to have a read of our articles; 9 different ways to meet new people and 11 ways to make new friends.



Check in on your partner. In our hectic lives, it’s impossible for our romantic relationship to be at the forefront of our minds all the time. And while this is normal, from time to time, it’s important to check in with our partner on a deeper level.

This could mean considering whether you’re both happy and if there are any new, joint goals that you could tackle together.

Quality time is also important, so if you’ve not spent much meaningful time together recently, why not schedule a date night?

Or, if you’re not in a relationship and one of your goals is to find love, then you might want to try Rest Less dating – Rest Less members Dave and Dawn met here, and are now engaged!


Reduce your screen time. There are many health benefits to reducing the amount of time we spend in front of a screen –  whether it’s a computer screen or on a phone. Too much screen time can lead to weight gain, sleep problems, eye strain, and poor posture.

Try taking regular breaks from smart devices to listen to some music, read a book, meet up with people in person, or go for a walk. It’s also good to leave your phone outside of your bedroom at night so that you won’t be tempted to check it before you go to sleep.

Our article, 8 tips for coping with screen fatigue, has plenty more ideas on ways you can cut down your screen time.


Have fun and channel your inner child. Self-development goals are often quite serious, and centre around things that we feel we ‘should do’. But, it’s equally important to allow for plenty of fun, laughter, and spontaneity in your life too.

It’s important to make time for play; especially if you work long hours, or spend a lot of your time doing things for other people. This could mean going for a night out with your friends, watching some light-hearted films, or building a blanket fort with your grandkids.

Research suggests that adults who play games have improved social wellbeing, sharper cognitive functioning, and are even better able to maintain healthy relationships – both platonic and romantic – than those who don’t regularly participate in fun activities.

Other resolutions

The resolutions above are just a few examples of some of the many goals you might choose to set yourself for the coming year.

Other resolutions could be job-related; perhaps you want to take steps towards a new career, or progress in your current job role, for example. Or maybe you’re thinking about retiring or moving to somewhere new.

Whatever your resolutions are, try to remember that each one can be broken down into smaller steps. A new year doesn’t have to be about creating a ‘new you’ either – it can involve being the ‘same you’ who’s simply looking to take steps towards being happier and healthier. The term ‘new you’ can often suggest that we need to try and be someone else, rather than building on the person we already are.

Tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

Tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

Focus on one resolution at a time

Trying to achieve all your goals at once can be daunting and overwhelming. Take one goal at a time, and get comfortable achieving it before tackling something else.

Set realistic, manageable goals

Try to break larger, more ambitious goals into smaller steps and work on one part at a time. This is more likely to keep you motivated and give you the results that you want.

For example, if you’re planning to lose a little weight, you could do it in incremental steps. Rather than expecting to lose all the weight over a short period of time, aim to lose a couple of pounds a month, and slowly get down to your target healthy weight.

Or, if your goal is to run a marathon, why not start out jogging two or three times a week, and then build up to longer runs on more days of the week? New habits aren’t formed overnight, so patience also plays a part in achieving your goals.

Plan your goals

Don’t wait until the last moment to decide what your goals are going to be, or you might not have everything you need to get started.

For example, if you want to introduce more exercise into your life, consider whether you have any activewear. Or, if you plan on walking more, you’ll need comfortable walking shoes – especially if you want your new habit to stick.

Make your resolutions worthwhile

Rather than writing a quick list of goals (which many of us forget about soon after we’ve written it), why not give plenty of thought to your resolutions? Ask yourself what you want to achieve, and how that achievement will add meaning and value to your life.

You could arrange your resolutions on a vision board, which you can look at daily for inspiration.

Reward yourself

As you make progress with your resolutions, rewarding yourself for your milestones can help you to stay motivated. For example, if you’ve been enjoying an art class, treat yourself to some new paint brushes. Or buy that book you’ve been wanting to read.

Try not to be too hard on yourself

If you make small slip-ups, try to remember that these things happen. Becoming obsessive over the occasional setback can have a negative effect on your progress.

So, instead, take one day at a time and do the best that is possible each day. If you do take a step back, try not to keep thinking about it – just get back on schedule and keep moving forward.

Develop a support system

When deciding that you’re going to set some resolutions, where possible, it can help to share them with people. Sharing your goals can provide a support system and help you to stick to them.

You could also consider creating a buddy system where you and a friend update each other on your goals and how you’re getting on with them.

Keep trying

If you find yourself losing motivation for your resolutions, remember not to lose hope.

Instead, you could try saying to yourself, “I’m going to commit myself to stick to my goal for 24 hours.” After this, try adding on another 24 hours, and so on. Soon you’re likely to find that you’re back on track.

For more help and advice, you might like to have a read of our article; 8 tips to boost motivation.

Set new resolutions

It’s tempting to keep on recycling resolutions that we haven’t stuck to in the past. But rather than doing this, why not find new ones and work on a plan to achieve them? Often, this can offer a fresh dose of motivation.

Final thoughts…

When considering what goals you want to achieve, remember to think about what’s important to you. When we commit to improving ourselves for other people, our resolutions can feel more like a chore than something exciting.

Many of us also set all of our New Year’s resolutions in January, but this can place a lot of pressure on a single month. So if you have lots you want to achieve in 2024, you might find it more productive to spread your goals throughout the year.

It’s easy to focus only on the end results of our resolutions, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey too.

What are your goals for 2024? Do you have any additional tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.