17 New Year Resolution Ideas For A More Meaningful Life


Theme: Build the Life You Want

Have you ever made a new year resolution? Did you keep it? Resolutions for the new year are deceptively simple to make: lose weight, keep the house clean, use that Filofax, cut back on Facebook, pay off the credit card!

Come mid-April, do you find that you’ve kept the new year resolutions that you made in early January? Or are you:

  1. Feeling guilty?
  2. Feeling discouraged?
  3. Resigned to old habits?

You deserve better than to feel stuck, guilty, and like you can’t accomplish your goals. You were created to be victorious; it’s just a matter of shifting focus. It’s not worth the heartache to make resolutions that you won’t keep. Instead, this year try one (or two! or all!) of these new year resolution ideas for a meaningful life:

Find Out What Your Passion Is

Many people have asked us how they can discover their personal mission in life. We came up with a formula to guide you through the process of discovery. It’s called POPP: Personality, Opportunity, People & Places.

Be Kind To Your Family

Some of the hardest people to be kind to are our own family members, yet they are the most important to be kind to. A new year resolution idea for a meaningful life: Develop trusting, soulful, meaningful relationships with your family members, especially children.

Invest In One Friendship

Friendship is integral to human happiness — an antidote to loneliness. Due to the demands of modern life, friendships often take the back seat to responsibilities. This year, in the spirit of living a happier and more meaningful life, invest time in one friendship.

Commit To Something

Do you want to prove to yourself that you actually can keep your new year resolution ideas? Commit to something, just one thing, in the new year using seven spiritual steps. It’s a liberating self-improvement project that anyone can do if he’s willing to be honest with himself.

Refine A Part Of Your Personality

“That’s just how I am.” Have you ever heard someone say that and thought, “Well then change how you are.” Why don’t people change and refine the less nice aspects of their personalities? Because changing one aspect of a personality is one of the most difficult human endeavors (but one of the most rewarding). The solution? Connect with your soul. We’ve explained how in “Can We Change Our Personalities?

Give Charity

Even for people who have plenty of money, money is a source of anxiety. How much more so when there is barely enough to cover monthly expenses. The blueprint of creation gives us a 4,000-year-old solution to financial anxiety: charity. It is a tried-and-true method. Learn more about how to transform money from a curse to a blessing. Giving charity is a totally do-able new year resolution idea with huge spiritual and material benefits.

Stop For A Moment Before You Eat

Subvert the dominant diet/weight loss new year resolution idea! A realistic and sustainable way to improve your eating habits is to stop for a moment — for five seconds of contemplation or blessing before you eat. It’s that simple.

Pray In Your Own Words

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, 89% of Americans say that they believe in G-d or a universal spirit, though only 56% say that religion is “very important” to them. How, then, can religiously unaffiliated or less-affiliated people connect to G-d or a universal spirit? Personal prayer — asking G-d to fulfill your needs and thanking G-d for what S/He does — is available to everyone, regardless of religion or affiliation. It’s a surefire, time-tested way to develop a relationship with a higher power.  Taking up personal prayer is a free, easy-to-keep, do-whenever-you-want-to new year resolution idea for a more meaningful life.

Take A Personal Inventory

Lasting personal change starts with an honest personal inventory. If you are interested in self-improvement but you find it difficult to make changes, then resolve to take an honest look at yourself in the coming year. It’s something which you can do at your own speed, on your own time. You can do it once, or you can do it daily.

Honor Your Inner Child

Your soul and your inner child are one and the same: They are the innocent, pure part of you that gets covered up by years of cynicism. Honoring your inner child as you make decisions is a worthy, life-transforming new year resolution idea.

Pay It Forward

Paying forward is repaying kindness to someone who is not the original benefactor. Join the pay it forward revolution. Whether you do it once or do it daily, paying it forward will effect the world positively beyond human comprehension.


True listening is an acquired skill that takes practice and dedication. It is an integral part of communication, and who couldn’t use a brush-up in the communication department?

Work On Being Present

So many folks love the idea of making a new year’s resolution to start meditating (or take up yoga or some other contemplative practice). For good reason: Contemplative practices do help some people to be in the moment (though not all). The Meaningful Life Center approach to being present comes from Chassidus (Jewish mysticism). It is a concept called “bittul” (self-nullification), which is losing one’s self in the moment — being so focused on what you’re doing that your ego slips away. If you want to experience bittul, focus on the activity at hand without thinking of how you are feeling or what you are experiencing. For folks who can’t or won’t meditate, it’s a miracle of a mindfulness practice.

Find Opportunities To Laugh And Enjoy Wholesome Humor

Learning how to smile is a key to dealing with difficulties. If you’re looking for a new year resolution idea that you can really enjoy, consider making a resolution to practice using humor to diffuse things and lighten things up. Healthy humor lifts people’s spirits — it is very different from abusive humor or humor at someone’s expense.

Change One Routine

Changing just one routine will train your mind to make and sustain bigger changes. We’ve even put out a three-minute video explaining how to get out of a rut by changing one routine.

Do Some Spiritual Reading

Reading spiritual content is an immediate way to give yourself a break from the material world, and it helps you to connect to your soul. Read in whatever spiritual tradition you ascribe to. If you read one paragraph or a whole library, you’ll reap the benefits, so get yourself a spiritual book and read it when you can. (Not to be too self-promotional, but the Meaningful Life Center store carries accessible, reader-friendly spiritual books.)

Forgive Yourself And Others

This last new year resolution idea for a meaningful life is extra powerful. Learning to forgive is a skill that will free you from guilt and shame. So what if you can’t keep a new year’s resolution to lose weight? Learn to forgive yourself — it’ll be an even bigger weight off your shoulders.


Live with Rabbi Simon Jacobson
Welcome 2023! How to Make this the BEST Year Yet.                  Wednesday, December 28, 2022 @8:30pm
Live Stream | Podcast

Add to Calendar


Did you enjoy this? Get personalized content delivered to your own MLC profile page by joining the MLC community. It's free! Click here to find out more.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

I love this list. It’s full of great ideas, each one of them! I took this list to heart and connected with some of the women in my community to have a friendship gathering. I admire so many women from afar in my busy life and look forward to connecting. Thanks for the encouragement!

Henry Bloom
7 years ago

If I was friends with that Lovely and beautiful lady in your picture I wouldn’t need to make any resolutions………………………life would be perfect.

The Meaningful Life Center