5 New Year’s resolutions that are actually attainable

By Jessica McKenzie, Culture Editor

It’s that time of year again.

Most people hear the term “New Year’s resolutions” and roll their eyes, knowing that they’ll probably stick with their lifestyle change for two weeks and then go back to the person they were before the ball dropped. This lack of motivation happens to everyone 一 probably because they put too much pressure on themselves or set goals for the New Year that are unattainable. In that case, they set themselves up for failure before they’ve even begun.

But 2023 doesn’t need to have the word “failure” in its vocabulary. Realistically, resolutions are not ways to become a different person, but aspirations we should try to recall throughout the year. As the spring semester kicks off, here are five low-pressure New Year’s resolutions 一 that are all about baby steps.

1. Do something new every day, no matter how random

I will go to my grave swearing that “Friends” is always applicable to real life, regardless of how much time passes since the sitcom debuted in 1994. In the show’s 1999 New Year’s episode, “The One with All the Resolutions,” Ross makes the resolution to try doing something new every day. He finds himself scrambling for new things to experience, as everyday life gets a little trivial. 

I tried this resolution once a few years ago with a friend and found myself feeling exactly like Ross in the episode. After a couple of days, I did random things just for the heck of it, like taking a different bus home and eating a food that I normally found repulsive. Although that resolution didn’t stick for the whole year, it’s always useful to recognize when life gets a little too repetitive. Anyone can spice up their day-to-day with a tiny change, no matter what time of year it is.

2. Learn a foreign language on Duolingo 

Duo the owl, Duolingo’s mascot, gets a little intimidating sometimes. Once someone signs up to learn a language on Duolingo, Duo’s face shows up ominously on a daily phone notification, cheerily reminding them to complete a language lesson so as to keep up their daily streak. Some people enjoy receiving messages from the little owl, others aren’t motivated enough and lose their streak pretty quickly.

But Duolingo can play a great role in a New Year’s resolution 一 and your resolution doesn’t have to be to speak French fluently by 2024. You don’t even have to keep your lesson streak. Duolingo lessons are fun and (mostly) simple. Start learning a cool language this year and complete some lessons whenever you’re free.

3. Meditate

Very few people have ever disputed that meditation is beneficial. 2022 was overwhelming for some 一 maybe because of their course load, personal life or work. Meditation can center a person so that they can practice living in the moment. It’s also something students can do at any point in the day. On YouTube, there are 15-minute daytime guided meditations to clear the mind and eight-hour-long meditation recordings to help you get a full night’s sleep.

This is another resolution that you can do whenever you get the chance 一 there’s no need to maintain a “streak.” As a nighttime meditator, I recommend YouTuber Micheal Sealy for anyone who has trouble getting a refreshing night’s sleep. 

4. Yes, set fitness goals

To celebrate the new year in 2021, my dad bought a gym membership at Planet Fitness thinking it would motivate him to hit the gym. That gym membership is still active to this day, and he went to Planet Fitness once in May of the year he purchased it. 

I know, I know 一 fitness goals for the new year are so cliche, it makes people cringe. Speaking as someone who struggles to lift a 15-pound dumbbell, fitness is a tough and sometimes laughable concept. But there’s nothing wrong with simply taking an interest in maintaining one’s long-term health. A fitness goal doesn’t have to center on losing or gaining some amount of weight. It can be as simple as driving less and walking to places more. Pittsburgh is very walkable and the ideal city to try this.

My fitness goal for 2023 is to channel the strength to do a burpee one of these days. It’s harder than it looks.

5. Broaden your musical horizons

The Spotify algorithm makes it difficult not to hear the same 50 songs over and over again. This year, you can try anything and everything to shake up your usual. Is there a new song you’ve heard at the bar a million times? Try listening to the whole album. Do your parents play old records all the time? Look it up on your music streaming service and listen to more of that artist. That musician everyone raves about that you’ve only heard on the radio? Venture through their albums over the years.

Expanding your musical tastes can help you gain respect for artists you might have never heard of, and the messages in songs can change your perspective on a bunch of issues and build connections with new people. This is a fun undertaking that can carry on well past the new year.