How to Talk About New Year's Resolutions

For many people, the start of a new year is a chance to make important changes or improvements in their lives. Maybe they want to try something new, or perhaps they want to stop a bad habit, like eating too much fast food. These are called "New Year's resolutions." And because everyone has different goals, New Year's resolutions are always a popular conversation topic in the first few weeks of January.

"Resolution" is the noun form of the verb "to resolve," which means to make a definite decision to do something. So a New Year's resolution is like a promise that you make to yourself about what you will do in the next 12 months.

Perhaps you have some New Year's resolutions of your own, or maybe you would just like to be able to ask your friends about theirs. To help you do that, let's look at some common resolutions and how you can easily discuss them.

The Most Popular New Year's Resolutions

Here we've listed 10 of the most common New Year's resolutions in the US and examples of how you can talk about them in English. You will notice that people often use common phrases like "I want to~" or "We plan to~" to discuss them. This means that you can also use many of these examples to help you talk about your general goals or wishes for the future any time of year!

Exercise more

Getting more exercise is often at the top of a lot of popular resolutions lists. Over a third of people around the world don't get enough exercise, and it can be difficult to do so if you have a busy schedule. These resolutions can be quite general or very specific.

My new year's resolution is to exercise more and get in shape.
I'm resolving to hit the gym at least twice a week this year.
I'm going to get off the couch and onto an exercise bike!

Lose weight

Obesity is a growing problem around the world and losing weight is a lot harder than gaining it! So it's no surprise that losing weight is the top goal for many when it's time to make resolutions. This goal may include more specific targets than simply exercising more. For example, people may want to lose a certain number of pounds/kilograms or be able to fit a particular size of clothing.

I want to lose at least 20 pounds this year.
My resolution is to reach a size 8 by the summer.
Jim can't fit his jeans anymore, so he wants to go on a diet and slim down.

Save money/spend less

The beginning of the year is often when people take a serious look at their finances to decide if they need to make changes. This is especially true if any major events have happened that might affect their salary or employment status. Inflation is a big issue in a lot of countries right now, so this resolution may be even more popular in 2023.

I need to save a bigger part of my salary every month.
Alice is planning to eat out less and save money by cooking at home.
My resolution is to spend less money on video games this year.

Improve or change one's career

People often look for ways to improve themselves not only personally but also professionally when a new year begins. That could mean doing things like applying for a new job or doing some training that can help them get a higher salary.

This year I'm finally going to leave this dead-end job and find something better.

A dead-end job is one that doesn't have opportunities for growth in the future.

My girlfriend wants to get 800 on her TOEIC test this year.
I hope to get certified as a yoga instructor before the year is over.

Spend more time with family and friends

While some people want to focus more on their work, others may feel like their job is already taking too much of their time away from their loved ones. For people in this situation, the new year can be a chance to change things.

I really want to spend more time at home with the kids.

People often say "the kids" or "the family" when talking about their own.

I almost never see my friends these days. I want to hang out with them more often this year.
I'm resolving to not be a workaholic in 2023.

Start a new hobby or learn a new skill

Have you been interested in scuba diving, learning to paint, or perhaps speaking a foreign language? What's stopped you from giving it a try? The new year is when many people decide to finally get started.

This year I'm going to take a pottery class at my local community center.
Kei's resolution is to take up kickboxing.
My goal this year is to read two books every month.

Spend less time on social media

Thirteen percent of people who responded to a survey on resolutions said their goal in 2022 was to reduce the time they spent using social media. While apps like Instagram and TikTok can be fun or even useful, there are many people who use these services more than a healthy amount.

Mari's goal is to cut back on the time she spends on Instagram.
My uncle is planning to delete Facebook on December 31st.
I want to reduce the time I spend scrolling on TikTok. It's a real time suck!

A "time suck" or "time sink" is a negative term for an activity that requires or wastes a lot of time.

Decorate or remodel a home

The beginning of the year is often when many people finally decide they are going to start that home improvement project they've been thinking about. That could mean updating or repairing a part of their home that is old or damaged, or even adding something completely new like a patio.  

We've been talking about it forever, but this is the year my wife and I are finally going to redo the basement.
My aunt's goal is to replace her kitchen cabinets herself, so she bought a lot of power tools on Black Friday.
I've really been inspired by KonMari, so I'm going to clean out my attic and turn it into a guest room.

Quit smoking

About 23% of the world's population are smokers, just a little bit higher than the percentages in Japan, Korea and Thailand, where most of our readers are from. But many of those smokers would like to "kick the habit," or quit, and the new year is often when they make a decision to put cigarettes away.

Brian
My goal for next year is to finally quit smoking.
Debbie
To take better care of your health?
Brian
No, because it's an expensive habit!

Do volunteer or charity work

As you can see, most resolutions are focused on improving one's life or health in some way. However, some people make the kind decision to use their time and energy to help others in the new year.

I'm very lucky to have a comfortable life, so I've decided to do some charity work next year.
I'm going to volunteer at the homeless shelter twice a month.
Zach is thinking about working at his local soup kitchen.

Conclusion

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? If so, you'll probably have many chances to talk about them with your friends and colleagues, so we hope these examples will help you to say exactly what's on your mind.

By the way, if improving your language skills is one of your goals, Engoo has many friendly and experienced tutors who can help you achieve it, whether it's scoring better on a test or understanding your favorite movies and TV shows. Start the new year off on the right foot!