7 meaningful New Year's resolutions for 2020 and how to achieve them

New Year’s Eve Traditions

"See you later, 2019!" Right after they say this, 26% of Americans will make a New Year's resolution for 2020, according to data from YouGov Omnibus.

There are so many happy thoughts in the mix: "get more sleep" (31 percent), "spend more time with family" (30 percent), even "learn a new skill" (27 percent).

In addition, 9 out of 10 who plan to make them are either "somewhat" or "very" confident they'll be able to stick to their resolutions in 2019.

The unhappy reality, though, is that most of the resolutions won't last, with only 4% of last year's resolvers saying they stuck to all their vows, and just 28% saying they delivered on at least one.

But this could be viewed as a "glass half full" proposition. After all, almost one in five polled for the YouGov data did agree that making New Year's resolutions had improved their lives.

And according to a University of Scranton Department of Psychology study, people who took the trouble to make resolutions were 10 times more likely to change their lives for the better after six months than people who aspired to do better but didn't make a formal New Year's resolution.

So, if you have to be in it to win it, what are some good New Year's resolutions for 2019? Here are some old favorites and a few fresh twists, along with tips for success for each:

Make more friends.

A full 22 percent of the YouGov 2019 resolution-makers pledged to have more friends in 2019. Feeling isolated was a modern-day malady even before the advent of social network friendships, but it's been worse lately. Sixteen percent said they lost a friend or family member to partisan politics since the 2016 election, for example, according to an AOL-reported Reuters/Ipsos poll in February 2017.

How to achieve it: The key here is to quit rescheduling already, according to Women's Health, which added, "You're not that busy!" Other ideas from WH: Extend the time you see casual acquaintances, like going for coffee after exercise class.

Also, make a gesture, small or large, including throwing an office acquaintance a birthday party or taking your neighbor chicken soup when she's sick. And commit to a good long phone conversation with an old friend at least once a month, so you can get back in the habit.

Seventeen year-old Marissa Hamilton stands on a scale during her weekly weigh-in at the Wellspring Academy October 21, 2009 in Reedley, California. Struggling with her weight, seventeen year-old Marissa Hamilton enrolled at the Wellspring Academy, a special school that helps teens and college level students lose weight along with academic courses. When Marissa first started her semester at Wellspring she weighed in at 340 pounds and has since dropped over 40 pounds of weight in the first two months of the program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children in the US ages 6-19 years are overweight or obese, three times the amount since 1980.

Credit: Justin Sullivan

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Credit: Justin Sullivan

Lose weight.

This always-popular New Year's goal placed No. 4 on the YouGov 2019 poll. But while the Stanton scientists determined that all resolutions had an equal fail rate, this is one to take on only after some serious self-talk.

How to achieve it: According to the Mayo Clinic, your goal to lose weight is destined to fail if you attempt it with "fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams." Instead, make it work with the tried and true calorie-controlled diet and increased physical activity.

More Mayo advice: "Make a plan to address other stresses in your life first, such as financial problems or relationship conflicts." Make sure to set a start date and adhere to it. Also, set process goals instead of outcome goals: "Walk 30 minutes every weekday" instead of "Lose 10 pounds," for example.

Some diets, including the keto diet, restrict fruit intake, so you’ll have to find a new snack if you like apples, oranges or bananas. Contributed

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Eat better.

This resolution can work together with weight-loss goals. Or, it can be a separate piece aimed at helping you feel better, eat sustainable foods or even support local restaurants and CSAs.

How to achieve it: Think of your attempt as setting menus and changing your lifestyle, not "going on a diet." And then start eating with these Mayo Clinic suggestions in mind:

  • Eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit each day.
  • Substitute refined grains for whole grains.
  • Use scant amounts of fat, and make them healthy options like olive oil, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, nut butters and oils.
  • Cut back on sugar.
  • Consume low-fat dairy products, lean meat and poultry, but only in limited amounts.

Stick to a budget.

More than a third of people intending to make a resolution in the new year, 35 percent, long to be able to stick to their budget. It's a great idea any time of year since a household budget can help you save for bigger goals, gain financial independence and simply do more with your money.

How to achieve it: According to Money, the three basics of budgeting are identifying how you spend your money, determining how expenditures match up with goals and making changes.

Within that advice, Money said it is particularly important not to count the money you're not sure you'll get, like gifts or tax returns. It also recommends downloading your last two months of bank and credit card statements to easily track your spending, or use the Mint.com app on your smartphone.

Once you know where you want to cut back, choose a few areas at a time where you can cut expenses, like workplace spending or season tickets.

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Make more money.

While there are endless ways to save money or cut expenses starting Jan. 1, this could also be a good year to simply try to make more money to help you meet financial goals.

Legitimate part-time work from home jobs won't require an application fee or fees for specialized equipment, according to The Spruce.

How to achieve it: While a second job isn't for everyone, there are dozens of ways to fit a lucrative part-time side hustle into your life. Choose carefully, and start with one that won't involve upfront spending.

Get more sleep.

New moms, worrywarts, insomniacs− a full third of people will resolve to get more sleep this year according to YouGov. It's a tough goal to meet, with insomnia affecting almost 20 percent of Americans according to Tuck.com. But it can be done!

How to achieve it: Top tips from the Mayo Clinic start with sticking to a sleep schedule. This means you should block out no more than eight hours each night and head for bed and rise the same time every day. Don't go to bed too close to a heavy meal or when you're starving, and avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol for at least a few hours before bedtime.

Limit naps during the day to 30 minutes or less and create a cool, quiet place for sleep. And when it's time for bed, lights out!

Get more exercise.

This is the top choice for 2019 resolutions. Some people want to use the tactic to lose weight, while others are looking for more energy or even camaraderie.

How to achieve it: The Mayo Clinic recommends steady aerobic exercise like brisk walking for a period of about a half hour at least 5 days a week. It also advised people who want to get more exercise to increase simple physical activity, from taking the stairs to walking in from the furthest parking lot at work or when shopping.