25 Health Resolutions That Have Nothing to Do With Dieting or Weight Loss

I know New Year’s resolutions are somewhat controversial, but generally speaking, I’m a fan. I love the idea of taking a little time to think about what you want out of life right now—and what’s no longer serving you—and taking meaningful action to get it. On the other hand, I feel extremely bummed out by the fact that resolutions have become synonymous with “health,” and “health” has become synonymous with diet and weight loss.

There are a lot of reasons this pisses me off: Because health and weight aren’t as intertwined as you might think, because weight loss diets rarely work, because the mental health toll of diet culture is so often overlooked in these conversations… the list goes on and on. But in a broader sense, there are just so many ways to take care of your health that have literally nothing to do with your weight or how often you get to the gym. If being healthier is really important to you, why not give one of those a try instead? 

With that in mind, I talked to the writers and editors at SELF and we came up with a list of resolutions—based on our years of experience as health journalists and our own personal 2023 goals—that we believe could actually, meaningfully make a person healthier and happier this year. If one* of these ideas resonates with you, great! If not, or if you prefer to skip resolutions entirely, that’s okay too! Taking care of yourself starts with knowing what you need and knowing when to say no. 

*Yes, just one! Please do not attempt to do everything on this list all at once—that’s a recipe for exhaustion! 

  1. Find a primary care physician you actually like and trust and get your annual physical.
  2. Start using a medication tracking app, so you never miss a dose (or accidentally double up).
  3. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order, and that your fire extinguisher isn’t expired.
  4. Take a class to get certified in CPR.
  5. Stop looking at your phone an hour before bedtime, and/or set a timer when using the apps you’re most likely to get sucked into.
  6. Recommit to flossing daily.
  7. Call your friends more often. 
  8. Ask for what you want in bed.
  9. Actually use your FSA/HSA funds.
  10. Stop texting while driving once and for all. 
  11. Find a way to connect with nature at least once a day.
  12. Master a few basic food safety skills. 
  13. Commit to wearing sunscreen every day (and actually reapplying as needed).
  14. Get into ventilation.
  15. Throw out all your expired and crusty beauty products.
  16. Unsubscribe—from emails you never read, from IG accounts that make you feel bad about yourself, from subscription services you never really use.
  17. Cheer on the runners at a marathon.
  18. See a health care provider about one nagging problem—like a suspicious mole, your ongoing stomach issues, or your temper. 
  19. Schedule your annual eye exam—because few things are as life-changing as getting the right prescription. 
  20. Make an emergency preparedness plan for your household (for flooding, extreme heat, or a power outage, for example). 
  21. Get to know your neighbors.
  22. Spend 15 to 20 minutes every day doing something creative (like journaling, knitting, or drawing).
  23. Wear clothes that make you feel good (and get rid of the things that don’t). 
  24. Join a recreational sports league, sign up for a dance class, or take surfing lessons. Move your body in a way that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to. 
  25. Give yourself a break—remember, sometimes even “easy” goals are a struggle, and it’s okay to quit. 

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