For so many of us, the excitement of the new year also brings anxiety about following through on our resolutions. This year, we want you to leave that stress behind.

We asked our community to share the worry-free intentions they’re committing to this year. They’ve shared smart, simple strategies for doing more of what they enjoy — and letting go of what they don’t  — to improve their sense of calm, happiness, purpose, and overall well-being. Which ones will you add to your list?

Prioritize “me” time

“Turning 45 in 2019 has hit me hard and has me realizing that I need to start making myself a priority. I’ve spent the last 20-plus years taking care of everyone else and putting my own needs on the back burner, often saying ‘I’ll do it — taking care of me — when the kids are older.’ Well, now that they are older and can take care of themselves, I have zero excuses… It’s time to take care of me!”

—Carrie McEachran, Executive Director, Mooretown, ON, Canada

Have fun with your resolutions

“I was moved this week by a Steve Maraboli quote I saw on Twitter. This sentence got me: ‘I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go.’ The word ‘sprinkle’ caught my heart. You just can’t be uptight when you use that word. It’s fun — especially when applied to my resolutions:

  1. My intake of sugar will be more of a sprinkling than a shower.
  2. My output of love and kindness will be a steady sprinkle frolic.”

—Bridget Fonger, author of Superhero of Love, Los Angeles, CA

Appreciate the little moments

“I’m making a resolution to note and reflect on the good things — the reasons I smiled each day. It can be little or small, but I will write at least one detail every day in a designated notebook. That way, by the end of 2019, I can look back and remember even the small things that brought me joy, which normally float away from my memory as I focus on deadlines and finals.”

—Sruti Bandlamuri, Thrive on Campus Editor-at-Large from Union College, Schenectady, NY

Be intentional

“My resolution for 2019 is the same as for 2018: to be responsible for and intentional with the energy I bring to each and every situation in my life. Because how we show up dictates our experiences and our own happiness.”

—Chris Rackliffe, social media marketer and motivational writer, New York, NY

Make your resolution a part of who you are

“This year I’m going to be a person with new habits, not just do new habits. I’m halfway through James Clear’s great book, Atomic Habits. He talks about habits being effectively established by working on the ‘identity’ level, not the ‘goals’ or ‘process’ level. So to illustrate, with reference to my thought of trying to run more regularly, I’m not going to think about running once a week to lose five pounds (goal) or just planning to run three miles through the woods (process) — I’m going to think of myself as a person who runs regularly (identity).”

—Sam Ellis, well-being consultant, Surrey, U.K.

Practice patience

“My focus for 2019 will be to strengthen the muscle of waiting; I want to get better at giving space to ‘incubation’ and find joy in the hard work that entrepreneurship entails. In 2018, I was aware of my inability to wait and tolerate the idea that stillness doesn’t imply failure. My goal is to stay and accept the pace of life and what it means to be an entrepreneur. I realized that by not tolerating natural ‘incubation’ processes, I’m postponing success and simply not enjoying the journey. This only leads to stress and frustration. I’ll start strengthening the muscle of ‘waiting’ with small with actions such as walking and chewing slower, and standing still in the Metro escalator — instead of rushing up and down.”

—Lina Salazar, health educator and coach, Washington, D.C.

Balance trying something new with giving something up

“I find January 1 an unnatural time to make a change, but I do find it a good time to check in. I usually focus on one of two things do change and try out. This spring I decided to learn Spanish and set a rule that for every four books I read and donate, I can bring one more into my bookcase, excluding gifts. I still have so many books to read, but it seemed like a great way to slowly give my books to people who would love and enjoy them, while at the same time, helping me live lighter. I also look at one thing to give up, and this year it was to stop being so busy. This was harder than I thought, but saying ‘no’ to things I really don’t want to do gives me time to say ‘yes’ to things I do want to do. Where am I at my quarterly check-in? I finished a basic conversational Spanish class, made new friends, and I will continue with an intermediate conversational Spanish class in 2019. In spring 2018 I had four overflowing bookcases in my house; now I have three bookcases and I feel lighter, with less to look after and clean. Plus, I hope the books I read, enjoyed, and shared are bringing other people the same joy they did to me. Saying ’no’ to friends was the hardest thing; some of them really didn’t understand my motivations, but it is getting easier. Saying ‘no’ to work and other obligations has freed me up to enjoy other things.”

—Amanda Renwick, HR manager and travel writer, Johannesburg, South Africa

Anticipate the excitement of the outcome

“Reframe, if necessary, to resolve to make your dreams come true; do not punish yourself with stressful things to do. The new year is a time to dream about your deepest desires and how these could become your reality. There is something magical about daring to think about how you could make your dreams come true and making plans to get started on the journey. Even if you have a stressful and daunting goal ahead, such as passing a major exam, remind yourself why you are doing it. What do you want to get out of it? Give yourself permission to get excited about how good it will feel to be on the other side of that obstacle.”

—Dr. Sasha Nair, multi-passionate coach and physician, Auckland, New Zealand

Simplify your words

“There are several things I say too much and they are, basically, unnecessary sentence fillers. Or even worse, I use them as commas or periods while I figure out what to say next: ‘Um,’ ‘you know,’ ‘like’ – many of us use these too often. There are many more, um, but you know, basically, I can’t think of them all right now. This year I want to listen to what I’m saying more and eliminate these silly words and phrases from my everyday language. Like, I want to, um, speak correctly and basically stop using repetitive sentence crutches, you know, to get my point across. The only part of this New Year’s resolution that will be stressful is not cringing when I hear others do the same thing.”

—Todd Garrett, marketing, Nashville, TN

Leave worry and judgment behind

“This year I’m throwing resolutions out the window. Really! They don’t really work anyhow, because the literal meaning of a resolution is a decision or an act of problem solving. Decisions and problems are dynamic; they never end and are always present. In 2019 I’m making something more resolute than a resolution — a commitment to living life in more flow with less worry, judgment, and expectation. I’m surrendering the need to know, control, and attempt to bully the universe with my will. Hello 2019 — I’m coming after you gently with fierce grace!”

—Lisa Cypers Kamen, optimal lifestyle management expert, Los Angeles, CA

Write yourself a letter

“Many years ago, my grandmother encouraged me to avoid setting ‘resolutions’ because they were fleeting and rooted in what many of us think we should be doing instead of what’s actually right for us. Now, I set goals. This year, I added something new: I wrote a letter to the version of myself I want to be at the end of 2019. I wrote as if all the things I wished for the year and the visions I have for myself and my business came true. Upon finishing the letter, I could feel excitement and hope radiating from my core. I also had great clarity on the steps to take as soon as the first week of January to bring those visions to life!”

— Kea Meyers Duggan, life and career coach, Los Angeles, CA

Commit to taking care of yourself

“Many of us scramble to create resolutions that slowly fade away after a few weeks. This year I encourage you to make a resolution to yourself to help you alleviate some of the stress in your life. Take more time for yourself, and create a self-care practice that refuels you and gives you more energy. It can be as simple as meditating first thing in the morning, spending more time in nature, or treating yourself to a relaxing bubble bath at the end of your day. Let’s start 2019 by taking care of yourself first!”

—Nicole Michalski, life strategist, author, and speaker, Alberta, Canada

Invite more good into your life

“Instead of making resolutions, I’ve decided to welcome the things I want more of into my life. For 2019, I’m inviting myself to experience more kindness, love, health, joy, wholeness, and compassion. Resolutions often seem to be about the things we think are ‘wrong’ with us, like our weight or productivity. I want to start the new year from a place that says there’s nothing wrong with me, but here’s what I could use more of in my life!”

—Mary-Frances Makichen, writer and meditation coach, Denver, CO

Stop apologizing

“My non-stressful New Year’s resolution is actually a mindset: Stop pretending things are anything other than what they are, under all circumstances. I’ve noticed there are little places in my life where I still default to softening the blow of who I am and what my life is like to the world around me. So in 2019, there will be no more apologizing, and no more pretending. The thing I love most about this resolution is that it brings me instantaneous peace each time I share my truth, which has the promise to grow over time — making it all that much more motivating. The energy I was spending trying to be someone I’m not then gets released, and I get to relax!”

—Antesa Jensen, transformational coach and speaker, Copenhagen, Denmark

Lean into how you want to feel

“This year my goals are all about how I want to feel, rather than outcome. Plus, instead of making them long-term, I’ll make them daily action steps. I believe small action, taken daily, leads to lasting shifts in your state of being. To feel peaceful, I’ll be adding spa music to my nighttime skincare routine. To feel connected, I’ll replace one text conversation with a phone call each day. How do you want to feel in 2019?”

—Jenna Hillier, life coach, New York, NY

Stay rooted in the “why”

“Consistent connection to my ‘why’ — how I want to feel, who I want to be, the impact I want to make — is a top priority this year.”

—Kristen Zavo, career coach and author of Job Joy, Cincinnati, OH

Set your intention with a keyword

“I like to pick a word or theme each year instead of setting a resolution, which in most cases I’ve rarely kept or just found that the goal was small and easily achieved. The latter was great for a quick win, but left me without a focus for the rest of the year. I’ve been doing this for years, and love the shift and focus it helps me create —  not only in my life but in my business. While creating my intention for 2019, I’ve chosen the word bold: to do bold things, step outside of my comfort zone, and show up in a way that might be a little scary.”

—Darlene Hawley, brand and business clarity coach, Murrieta, CA

Practice gratitude

“This year I’m only setting one resolution for 2019, and that is to practice gratitude. The science is clear: Practicing gratitude reduces stress, builds connection, and boosts happiness. These are all things I’m welcoming with open arms in 2019. I will practice gratitude by letting others know I appreciate them in the moment, taking a mental note of the small or mundane things in my life that bring me clarity and a sense of peace, and finding things to be grateful for, even when I feel upset, overwhelmed, or angry.”

—Jamie Klufts, health educator, Boston, MA

Ask for what you want

“I set New Year’s intentions, and this year my 2019 intention is ‘to ask for what I desire.’ Sounds energizing, right? Although it’s a simple reframing, setting an intention has the underlying purpose to bring more into my life; resolutions often feel like subtractions. Language is super powerful, and self-talk is where motivation begins. When we feel motivated, we follow through. Bottom-line: The energy behind our intention determines our success.”

—Julia Armet, personal coach and founder of Higher Playbook, New York, NY

Set weekly goals and celebrate when you achieve them

“I did away with making grand resolutions a few years ago after year after year of failures, which turns something that is supposed to be a good thing into a stressful failure when I didn’t (fill in the blank — but mine typically included lose 20 pounds, run a marathon, and get to church more often!). But for this year, I’m going to start using a strategy I use professionally as the founder of a professional development organization: developing a ‘goal list,’ which notes things I want to get accomplished each week. So instead of having a grand list, I have a ‘bite-sized’ list that is much more manageable and much more realistic. And being able to have success when I lose two pounds, run two miles, and get to church two times in a month allows me to celebrate the small wins throughout the year!”

—Rhonda Moret, founder of Elevate For Her, Del Mar, CA

Add “continue” and “stop” to your vocabulary

“New Year’s resolutions that are not stressful are those I know I can achieve and are enabling me to live a healthier life. Because it is so easy to stop doing something new, but can be a stretch to keep up, my resolutions rarely are those that begin with start. Rather, they are continue to:

  • Eat healthy vegetables in two meals every day.
  • Write down my thoughts that will be helpful to others at least twice a week.

I also make resolutions to stop:

  • Blaming others when things don’t go well for me. Just figure out how to move on. Do this at least once a month, if not more often.
  • Thinking of excuses not to exercise. So I exercise in some form five days a week.”

—Leatha, business consultant/coach, Raleigh, NC

Determine what to leave behind

“Resolutions can be stressful — and they should be. Their purpose is to make us a bit uncomfortable because an extraordinary life cannot coexist with ease. I’ve found, however, that a New Year’s Day list paralyzes me, so I did two things different this year. A friend and fellow coach challenged me in December to consider what I plan to leave behind in 2018. That’s a nice diversion from the grandiose declarations that have hovered over me in years past. Knowing what I plan to leave behind, I started writing down who I’ll be at the end of the next year and I write it in present tense… as if it’s already true. Focusing more on who I’ll be than what I’ll do does something to trick my mind in to making it happen!”

—Donna Carlson, life strategy coach, Monument, CO

Have fun

“Some non-stressful solutions I’m making this year are to do things that are totally different from what I’ve ever done in the past, such as: learn to dance hip-hop, learn to ride a hoverboard, and try a super short ‘do, such as an edgy bob or a pixie!”

—Beverly Lim, lifestyle reporter, New York, NY

Be mindful

“Firstly, I make resolutions less stressful by calling them intentions instead. My main intention for this year, as it has been for the past few, is to ‘be present.’ By that I mean to stop multitasking, be more conscious and aware, and live in the moment. It helps make life less overwhelming, puts you in a calmer state, and helps you see beauty in the everyday.”

—Verity Brown, Empowerment coach, Blackpool, UK

Keep it simple

“Only one. Being myself.”

—Siobhan Kukolic, author, writer and motivational speaker, Toronto, ON, Canada

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.