New Year's Eve is upon us, and it's time to reflect on the last year and ask yourself: how do I want 2016 to be different? Maybe you want to have more fun or live healthier, but no matter what changes you're thinking of making, there are certain New Year's resolutions to make in your 20s that are definitely worth considering. Your 20s are some of the greatest years of your life, after all, so you should try and make them the best they can be.
Your 20s are a decade of big decisions and big changes. It's the time to decide who you want to be, where you want to live, and what you want to do — you know, now that you're "all grown up." But your 20s are also the time when you try new things, go on exciting adventures, meet new people, and make plenty of mistakes along the way. Mostly, though, these are the years of your life when you're meant to take change, and begin to define your future. Terrifying, isn't it? Don't worry, I'm right there with you.
It's that time of year again, the one where you reset your goals and put your best foot forward. If you're having trouble deciding exactly how to do that, here are 20 New Year's resolutions to make in your 20s. Cheers!
1. Learn how to cook
I know how easy ordering dinner on Seamless is, but if you are in your 20s, you should make it a goal to learn how to cook. You don't have to become a trained French chef or even the creator of Pinterest-worthy desserts, but you should master a few staple dishes. You'll save money on take-out, eat healthier, and even impress your parents. That's like three resolutions checked off in one.
2. Travel somewhere new
Make 2016 the year you finally take a tropical trip, backpack through Europe, or drive across the country. Your 20s are a great time to travel to new places, meet new people, and try lots and lots of new foods. It's time to get more stamps in that passport of yours.
3. Read more books
I know there's nothing more relaxing after a long day at work than coming home and crashing on the couch to watch TV, but for the new year, why not consider reading instead? Reading has health benefits, educational benefits, and stress relieving benefits beyond what anything TV can do for you. Not to mention, it's easy to multitask while reading, so whether you're at the gym or on the train, you can always find time.
4. Spend more time with your family
The older you get, the harder it is to stay close with your family. Unlike when you were a kid, your lives are much more separate, and you might not see each other outside of holiday gatherings. This year, make it a point to see your patents, siblings, and extended family on more than just Christmas and Thanksgiving. No matter where you go in life, your family will be there for you, so it's time to start taking advantage of it.
5. Quit your day job
2016 might be the year that you consider leaving that nine-to-five job you hate so much, and chase after your dreams instead. I'm not saying you should walk out of your office, Charlo Greene-style, but that doesn't mean you can't search for something better, and leave behind the daily drag at work. You spend such a big part of your life working, so make sure your job is something that you love, not hate.
6. Find a way to stay active that you like
Whether it's joining a gym, signing up for kickboxing, or even doing yoga in the comfort of your own home, it's time to establish a fitness routine that will stick. You only have one body, so you better take care of it, and what better way than making it your new resolution?
7. Cut ties with the toxic people in your life
When you are in your 20s, you still have connections to those shady high school friends, not-so-nice college girls, and maybe even some toxic family members, but it's time to say goodbye to all that. "New year, new you" means redefining the influences in your life, and deciding which ones are worth while. It's OK to say goodbye to those people who aren't good for you anymore. It's all part of growing up.
8. Go green — seriously
While starting a compost pile for your city apartment may seem a bit out of your capabilities, there are dozens of other easy ways to go green. Take public transportation more, use rechargeable batteries, and consider trying meatless Monday. There are so many ways you can reduce your negative effects on the environment, and your 20s is the perfect time to do it. You still have a lot of years left on the planet, so you should make sure it's around long enough for you to enjoy it.
9. Take control of your finances
Post-college, there's a lot of financial responsibility the 20-something graduate faces, including student loan debt. Use this year to get a handle on your finances, including catching up with past due bills, saving more, spending less, and figuring out the best loan repayment options for you. If you have a solid financial plan, your stress levels will go way down, I guarantee.
10. Spend time reading, watching, or listening to the news daily
It's on the TV every morning, on newsstands every day, on your phone every second, and even sent directly to your email daily if you want. The news could not be more accessible to you, so make it a point to keep up with it every day. Whether it's for 10 minutes while you're waiting for the bus or for an hour at the end of each day, make 2016 the year you keep up with current events locally and globally.
I'm not just talking about the presidential election here, though you should definitely cast your vote then as well. This new year should be the year that you engage in politics on a local and national level. Learn about your local senators and Congress members, as well as any other local town officials, and participate in each election. You're old enough to vote now, so you have no excuse not to. It's your country — don't you want a say in how it runs?
12. Do something that scares you
Always wanted to sky dive but haven't tried yet? Still thinking of taking a year abroad, but still can't get past the planning phase? Find that thing that scares you, and go after it, because you're only getting older and the time to take risks is now. Trust me, your older self will thank you for it.
13. Move to a new place
Consider making a relocation your New Year's resolution. Before you are settled down with a career, home, or family, use your 20s to try living in a new place. It could be across the state line or across the country, but finding a new home can be exciting and life-changing, and this is the best time to do it.
14. Find a meaningful volunteer opportunity
When you were younger, you probably volunteered as part of your school requirements, college application, or religious organization, and now that you're an adult, you should get back into giving back. Become a mentor for a teen, give time to your local homeless shelter, or read to kids on your lunch break. Just find a cause that means something to you, and give it your all. You'll be reminded of how good helping out feels.
15. Go back to school
If you're a recent grad strapped with loan repayments, graduate school may not be on your radar, but that doesn't mean there aren't other opportunities to be back in the classroom. Whether it's a free class at your local library or a cheap course offered through a nearby community college, there is always an opportunity to keep learning. And if you can go back to grad school? You go girl — now is the time!
16. Start a retirement fund
I know you barely feel like an adult so it's hard to imagine getting even older, but it's never too early to start saving for your retirement. It's a behavior that will help you spend less and save more in general, and it will help you reach your long term goals.
17. Watch less TV
One of my personal resolutions this year, watching less TV, is going to be difficult. I'm addicted to watching my favorite shows for hours on end, but when I think about all the other things I could be doing instead of that? It's enough time to accomplish several things on this resolutions list.
18. Slow down your drinking
Getting older doesn't have to mean less fun, but it should definitely mean more responsible, healthy fun. For your body, your mind, and your terrible late night texting habits, leave your nights of getting black-out drunk behind you. You'll be happier, healthier, and even a little richer.
19. Apply for your dream job — even if you think you can't get it
Stop dreaming about doing that thing you've always wanted to do, and just go for it already. This is the year to go after the job you've always dreamed of, even if you think it's out of reach.
20. Spend less time on social media
I know it will be hard, I know it will even seem impossible, but spending less time on social media is a great and doable goal for 2016. You'd be amazed how great the real world, the one outside your phone, is when you unplug a little bit.
Looking for more holiday cheer? Check out Bustle on YouTube.
Images: Pexels; Giphy (20)