Forget losing 20 pounds. Hit the reset button on January 1st with these easy, unexpected goals that will change your life. (No quitting carbs required!)

By LJ Kunkel
Photo by Getty Images

1. Pick a wake-up time and stick to it.

“Don’t press snooze,” says Neil Stanley, PhD, author of How to Sleep Well. You’ll start to sleep better at night and may even boost your productivity during the day.

2. Embrace a mantra each morning. 

Let a repeated word or phrase set the tone for the day: “I’m stronger than my excuses”; “I’m full of energy”; “Be a warrior not a worrier.”

3. Say 'no' once a day. 

Flexing your rejection muscle is a necessary exercise. It’ll save your energy for what really matters. We give you permission to pass on chaperoning that school trip or taking your hairdresser’s advice on a new cut.

4. Cleanse your social accounts. 

“Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be a fun way to connect—or an echo chamber of negativity,” says Amy Tiemann, PhD, author of Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family. Remove “friends” who aren’t positive.

5. Carve out time daily for something you love.

Listen to a funny podcast. Read a travel blog. “When we do positive things that make us happy, we fuel ourselves to be our best selves,” says Michelle Segar, PhD, author of No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness.


6. Ask for help once a day. 

“Doing so is both honest and generous because you create a positive cycle of giving and getting,” says Tiemann.

7. Plan a staycation each season. 

You’ll have more fun than you think trying new restaurants and exploring local venues without the cost and stress of travel.

8. Date yourself weekly. 

You’re stuck with yourself forever, so go ahead and enjoy a Netflix movie without the pressure

of worrying if anyone else is entertained.

9. Get a daily dose of nature. 

When you can’t go out for a stroll, buy some flowers, give your plants a pep talk (it may help them grow!) or even view nature-themed pictures online.

10. Unplug once every 24 hours. 

“Free yourself for an hour from the constant grind of being on call,” says Tiemann. The world still spins when you silence your not-so-smart phone.

11. Forgive on the first of each month. 

Still upset about that dent your kid put in the car? Angry with yourself for not paying the Visa bill on time? Let it go. What’s done is done, and you’re only hurting yourself by hanging on to disappointment.

12. Make a five-second decision each day. 

Quit mulling things over. Motivational speaker Mel Robbins says you must act quickly before your brain kills an idea or starts to procrastinate. 5-4-3-2-1...DO IT!

13. Change your phone wallpaper weekly. 

“An inspirational quote background can serve as a confidence or gratitude boost every time you unlock your phone,” says Susie Moore, confidence coach and author of What If It Does Work Out? Search for #inspirationalquotes and #motivationalquotes on Instagram or Pinterest.

14. Plot a monthly digital detox. 

Hide the remotes and make  all devices disappear for an entire day. It’s family time!

15. Unwind with a nightly download.

Start a before-bed ritual of writing down all the things you need to do tomorrow so you can stop worrying and sleep instead.


16. Get rid of five items each month. 

Will your kid ever wear those jeggings again? Haven’t those holey socks served their time?


17. Feed your creative side.

“We all need time to leave our to-do lists behind and set our creative minds free,” says Tiemann. Once a week, write a haiku while waiting on line at a store, sketch something beautiful that you saw today or sing the harmony to a song you like on the radio.

18. Savor a daily moment of silence. 

Retreat to a quiet place for a one-minute “still session” to simply sit and breathe. It’s amazing what 60 seconds can do.

19. Stretch for five minutes every evening. 

Releasing the day’s built-up tension benefits body, mind and soul.

20. Build up your bravery. 

Take a risk every week by talking to someone new, trying CrossFit or applying for that dream job! “The goal is to look at the action not as a success or failure but simply as an experience,” says Tiemann.