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Pounds over Promise: The Cycle of Diet Culture and New Years Resolutions



Food sitting on a white plate on a table with a fork and knife beside it.

At the start of a new year, everyone wants to start fresh. A few new styles, some changes to the daily routine, and sometimes, a big resolution. A very popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. How to do it? There are answers everywhere! Scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, there’s bound to be someone talking about a new diet they’re trying. Influencers have been infamous for peddling dangerous diets to fanbases of young women and girls. Even mothers are not free from their reach. Bloggers like lonijane on Instagram showed how her body looked before and after cheating on her vegan diet. The combination of New Year’s resolutions and these various diets is a recipe for disaster. Diet culture around the first month of the New Year is intense and even dangerous. 

What is “diet culture”? 

Diet culture is described as a desire to lose weight at all costs, and puts losing weight over wellbeing. It is a combination of advertisements and what the advertisements make us feel. The feelings of inferiority or discomfort with your body are precisely what the industry feeds off of. Whether it’s a new diet every week, or even directly associating worth with weight, it is hard to escape.

Especially around the start of the New Year, diet culture is pervasive. Even on January 1, it’s been shown that topics surrounding dieting and exercise spike in search volume. Some particularly cruel advertisements from gyms feed into a sense of inferiority and reap the profits. In 2017, about 10.8% of subscriptions to over 6,400 gyms happened in January. The nature of what a diet should be is also constantly changing: keto, juice cleanses, the baby food diet, paleo… reading through the advertisements is enough to give someone whiplash.

Impact of influencers on diet culture

The advertisements don’t only come from the corporations— or not directly. Influencers are a major way for corporations to boost their product. Ads are nothing new, but the personal nature of Instagram, where people will also post parts of their life, is something different. What’s especially worrisome is that these influencers often have a huge following of minors, intentionally or not. More than one-third of teenagers in Germany aged 14 to 17 deliberately seek out influencers. Over 84% of the content from female influencers is related to health, diet, and fitness. Attractive and uniform, they promote a singular way of living and looking. It’s easy and profitable for them to do it that way. The issue is that there are a wide variety of bodies that exist. There is no “one size fits all” for health. Allergies, chronic conditions, and genes are all important factors. 

An old newspaper clipping for the blitz diet.

How might influencers impact young people later in life, girls especially, as they can closely control their diet? 

Guilty over existence

There are worries about “quarantine pounds”, as people have been stuck inside due to COVID-19. Nutritionists are worried that individuals will be more susceptible to weight loss advertisements. The guilt over quarantine pounds stack up, on top of the pre-existing guilt instilled by advertisements.

A poignant way that advertisers promote body shame is “before and after” shots. To show the efficacy of their product or program, diet companies will show the amount of weight lost after using their product. These pictures directly associate the “before” picture with bad or undesirable. People with these bodies are being shamed, and repeatedly seeing those images will have a lasting impression. Especially at the start of the year, when seeing one’s stomach after holiday meals, insecurity digs in. 

These insecurities start young, but it’s not only by influencers. A study of mother-daughter pairs showed that daughters of dieting moms would start dieting before they were eleven. Given how close-quartered people are during quarantine, it’s likely that children will pick up on their family’s habits. Recently, there have been movements to stop mentioning weight around children. Whether the discussion is about the child’s weight or the parent’s, the children pick up on the criticism. Even people who aren’t parents can have a lasting impression. “She said, as if talking to herself, ‘Pretty face… have you ever thought about trying to lose weight?’” wrote a NYT contributor on her teenage experience with a friend’s mother. These comments linger and dig in, and around the holidays, they are especially amplified. 

Hope for body positivity

Very recently, with stars like Lizzo proudly showing their nontraditional bodies, there has been an emphasis on accepting various looks. Plus-size models have made their ways onto catwalks and into major magazines, without necessarily acknowledging that they are plus size. YouTubers have made videos specifically showing how influencers may take their photos, so young girls may feel better about themselves. While the holidays are still bombarded with advertisements and commercials, there are still people reminding you of your worth.

An old newspaper clipping on how to lose weight in 30 days.

Don’t feel ashamed for enjoying holiday food or eating more during winter! There’s a reason bears hibernate, and given the exhaustion of 2020, I think we all deserve it.


New Year’s Resolution Ideas: 100 SMART Goals To Improve Your Life

Have you been struggling to think of cool ideas for New Year’s resolutions this year? We’ve got you covered! Check out this list of 100 New Year’s resolution ideas to get your year started off right.



A person making a list of ideas for New Year's resolutions

The new year is a great opportunity to start over, work on yourself, or go after your goals. I know that I’m already thinking about New Year’s resolution ideas for next year.

Even if you know you’re going to give up on your New Year’s resolution by Jan. 2, you should still come up with one — it’s tradition!

Check out this list of 100 New Year’s resolution ideas to get your year started off right.

In this Post:

New Year’s Resolution Ideas Made for Students


1. Take better notes

A Notebook with a pen and reading glasses


To be honest, I’ve always loved taking notes. I like using highlighters and sticky notes and colorful pens — it’s just so aesthetically pleasing and makes studying bearable.

A few of my friends have vowed to take better notes, though. This is a great New Year’s resolution idea because it can make studying more efficient and can improve your grades.

Try motivating yourself to take notes by buying some cute notebooks and fun pens.

If you take notes on a laptop or tablet, have some documents and folders ready so you can organize notes by course and date.

2. Workout more

School can suck up all of your time and energy, whether you realize it or not. It can be hard to squeeze in time to work out and take care of your body.

I told myself that I was going to exercise more this past semester, but I ended up studying all day and then passing out at night, completely exhausted.

If you want this to be your New Year’s resolution, I’d suggest penciling time into your schedule — preferably in the morning before the school day exhausts you.

You won’t regret it, as exercising will lift your mood, alleviate stress, and give you more energy for the rest of the day.

3. Make more money

Like I said earlier, it can be hard to make time for other things while you’re in school, so making room for a part-time job in your schedule can be difficult.

If you’re unable to keep up with your expenses, or if you want to start saving, there are a few other ways to make a few bucks.

  1. Sell some of your old clothes on websites or apps such as Poshmark.
  2. Participate in research studies near you — your university might pay for your participation.
  3. Sell some of your crafts on Etsy.
  4. Ask around for babysitting or dog sitting jobs.

However, the truth is that focusing on getting a job, or focusing on the one you already have, is the most reliable way to make money.

As long as you can figure out a balance between work and school, you’ll be happy to have that money in the bank.

4. Call your family members more

Your loved ones will surely want to know what you’ve been up to at school. Make it a goal to talk to them on a weekly basis.

They’ll love to hear from you, and maybe they’ll offer some support or advice that you didn’t even know you needed.

This New Year’s resolution will help keep your priorities straight — school isn’t always the most important thing!

5. Have more fun

Some of us take school a bit more seriously than others, and that’s OK. Just remember to have fun, too! Your New Year’s resolution can be to schedule more fun things in your week.

Invite your friends over for a movie night. Go to a party. Eat nachos at a football game. Whatever sounds fun to you!

6. Get an internship

Do you want to work toward your goals? One step you can take is to get an internship to gain experience. The first thing you’ll have to do is find the internships you want to apply for.

Then, update your resume and start working on cover letters! Ask your friends or counselors for advice or spell checks.

7. Get better grades

This one is not so simple to achieve, but if you make good daily habits, you’ll definitely see results.

Instead of waiting until the last minute to cram for an exam, set aside 20 minutes a day to study starting a few weeks beforehand.

Also, if you make time to study, but you don’t really know how to do so effectively, here are some techniques you can try.

  1. Make flashcards and test yourself.
  2. Have a friend quiz you.
  3. Try to explain the subject material to a friend — sometimes, teaching someone else can help us learn.
  4. For memorization, come up with silly acronyms.

8. Cut back on coffee

I love coffee too much to carry this one out, but it would probably do me some good. If you rely on coffee a little too much to get through the day, limit your intake.

Maybe only go for a few cups a week. Caffeine isn’t great for you, so only good things can come from this New Year’s resolution idea.

9. Get more sleep

I can’t stress the importance of sleep enough. It’s so important for your mental and physical health. And making sure that you get enough hours can improve your performance in school, too.

To start, you can choose a lights-out time to stick to every day. Hopefully, your sleep schedule will regulate as a result.

10. Read more books

I love reading, but it can be hard to find time during the school year to read for pleasure. Chances are that you’re already reading a ton of books for class, but it’s not the same.

Set aside 20 minutes a day to read a book for fun. I like to do my reading before bed.

11. Keep up with current events

It’s easy to live in a bubble while in school. But it’s good to keep up with current events to keep your life in perspective. Listen to podcasts, read The New York Times — whatever works for you.

12. Spend less time on social media

My screen time is getting just a tad out of hand. If you spend too much time on your phone, it can affect your sleep or take up time you could be spending doing something a little more productive.

Some steps you can take include keeping your phone in your bag when you’re on a walk or turning it off before you fall asleep.

13. Keep your room clean

This may seem like a silly New Year’s resolution. But having a clean space can reduce your stress levels and make you feel more productive and organized.

Especially if you are living in a dorm, keeping your small space neat can do so much for your mood. Plus, it’s always a good habit to have.

14. Drink more water

It’s so important to drink plenty of water. It keeps your body healthy, prevents illness, and it can help with headaches and acne.

An easy way to up your water intake is to come up with a goal and set reminders on your phone. There are also apps that can help you keep track.

15. Wake up earlier

Even if you’re not a morning person (I’m definitely not), you can get so much done when you wake up earlier. It can help you feel more rested and productive. It is also helps support good mental health.

16. Enjoy nature more

This is a great New Year’s resolution idea for anyone. Spending more time outside when the weather is nice is a great mood booster.

Make time to go to a local garden or go on a hike. If you still find you’re too busy with school, just study outside!

17. Eat healthier

Eating healthy can do a lot for your mental health as well as your physical health. For college students, it’s especially easy to opt for fried foods at the dining halls.

If you have access to a kitchen, trying cooking a healthy meal for yourself. Or make sure you’re choosing lots of fruits and vegetables when at the dining hall.

18. Learn to play an instrument

This was my New Year’s resolution a while back. I asked for a ukulele for Christmas, and I spent the year watching tutorials on YouTube. It was a fun way to keep myself busy when I was bored.

Instruments can be expensive, so if you don’t want to spend the money, ask a friend if you can borrow one.

19. Keep a planner

I love buying a new planner at the beginning of each year. That thing will stick by my side every single day for 365 days straight.

If you’re wanting to be more organized this year, write down all of your homework and plans in a planner.

It’s so useful, and you can have fun decorating it with stickers and colorful pens.

20. Start a bullet journal

If you don’t know, a bullet journal is somewhat similar to a planner. However, there are key differences.

With a bullet journal, you design your own pages, so you can keep track of more than just your homework.

You can track sleep patterns, how much water you drink, what movies you want to watch, etc. You can make the pages aesthetically pleasing, and even the act of drawing them out is relaxing.

21. Put more effort into your appearance

Now, nobody needs to change or improve the way they look. However, sometimes, taking more time to do your hair or pick out a cute outfit can make you feel ready to take on the day.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to spend more time on yourself and boost your confidence. And, it can be fun to explore different looks if you want to change it up.

22. Get your writing publisher

If writing is something you’re interested in — creative writing or otherwise — this is a great New Year’s resolution idea.

It took me a few tries before I got my first poem published, but it was so rewarding when I did.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a talented writer, just send some stuff out and see if anyone will bite. You might be surprised!

23. Travel more

Traveling is a great way to make memories and gain some perspective. Maybe look into some study abroad programs.

If going overseas seems too overwhelming or expensive, road trip around! Nothing bad can come of seeing more of the world.

24. Make more time for friends

When you’re older, you won’t remember how much homework you had, but the memories you made with your friends.

School is important, of course. But it’s much more important to be happy and make connections with people.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to find a balance between your social life and academic life.

25. Spend less money

Maybe you’ve gone a little overboard with online shopping. Or maybe you’ve been drinking too many Starbucks lattes lately.

Whatever it is, if you want to save money, come up with a plan to spend less of it. Come up with a budget for each month, and make sure to stay within your limits.

Related: 5 Unique Tips for a Fresh Start in 2021

New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Couples

26. Go on more dates

Maybe you and your significant other need some more fun in your lives. Or maybe you’re trying to reignite the spark in your relationship. Whatever it may be, going on more dates is a fun New Year’s resolution idea.

You’re essentially vowing to have more fun with each other. How could that be a bad thing? Just remember to pencil it into your calendar so you remember to make time for it.

27. Take a class together

This is such a fun New Year’s resolution idea because the options are endless. Take a dance class, painting, cake decorating, whatever class you can think of!

If it’s something new for both of you, you’ll have fun making a fool of yourselves together.

Or maybe one of you is a talented artist and the other wants to take an interest in what you do. You really can’t go wrong.

28. Make more time for yourself

This one may seem a little counterintuitive, but having more me-time can do great things for your relationship.

It can reduce stress and give you a break from your everyday life. Sometimes, that’s what you need in a healthy relationship.

If you spend too much time together, you’ll end up taking out your frustrations on only each other.

29. Less screen time

If you and your partner are looking for a way to connect more, this could be the New Year’s resolution idea you need.

You can start by speaking with your partner about your goals — how will spending less time on your phone or watching less TV help you achieve those goals?

Then determine what times throughout the day you are and aren’t supposed to be staring at a screen.

Maybe the cell phone turns off after 7 p.m. Maybe you only watch one hour of TV a day. Whatever you guys decide, you’re sure to learn a lot about your relationship without all of those distractions.

30. Make chores more equitable

If you feel that the distribution of household chores isn’t distributed evenly, why not address it with your New Year’s resolution?

Maybe you’re sick of washing your partner’s dishes all the time or doing too much of the cooking.

Talk to them about figuring out a balance. You can make it fun, too. Come up with silly recipes to cook together, or take turns throughout the week.

31. Engage in each other’s interests

It’s OK for people in a relationship to each have their own hobbies and interests. Sometimes, though, it can be nice to know that your partner takes an interest in what you like.

If your partner likes to read a lot, maybe give one of their favorite books a try. If your partner is really into soccer, go to a game together!

32. Be more honest with each other

Communication is key. Make it a pact to be more open with each other. This one may be a little difficult to do, but chances are that all parties involved will feel better getting things off their chest.

The longer you keep things to yourself, the more anxious or angry you may get.

33. Practice positivity

You and your partner can help each other create a positive living space. To start, keep negative words to a minimum.

Instead, tell each other something kind at least once a day. You can also practice meditation and yoga together to reduce stress.

34. Work on a project together

Have you always wanted to write a blog? Start an Etsy business? You and your partner can work on it together! It can add a little bit of fun to your day.

35. Redecorate your home

If you and your partner live together, maybe it’s time to change things up a little bit.

Repaint the kitchen cabinets. Buy some new paintings for the living room. Hang up some picture frames. A newly decorated space can feel like a new start.

36. Support each other’s goals

Again, life can feel like it just gets in the way sometimes. But it’s time to stop putting your goals on hold.

This New Year’s, promise each other that you’ll put your dreams into action and that you won’t get in the way of them. Help keep each other on track.

37. Try couples therapy

If you and your partner have been talking about attending therapy for a while, maybe it’s time to finally follow through.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to give couples therapy a try. It’s helped plenty of people!

38. Go on a daily walk

This is a great New Year’s resolution idea for many reasons. First, exercise is almost always a good idea. Walking daily can improve physical and mental health.

And it’s a great chance for you and your partner to talk without too many distractions

39. Get a pet

Maybe you guys have been talking about getting a dog for years, or maybe you’ve never thought about it.

Either way, how could getting a pet be a bad idea? Sure, sometimes they can be smelly and expensive. But they’re too cute to turn down.

40. Take more pictures together

Taking more pictures is a great way to remind each other of the fun memories you’ve made.

Hang them around your house for cute decor, and post them on social media to let everyone know what you guys are up to. You’ll love looking back on these photos years down the line.

41. Talk more

When life gets busy, it can feel like you never get to really talk with your partner anymore. Set some concrete goals this year to ensure that you guys get enough face time with each other.

For example, instead of spending time on your phones in the morning, sit down for a cup of coffee together, and talk about current events or each other’s plans for the day.

42. Clean up the house

Keeping your house clean can help keep your life organized. This year, make it your New Year’s resolution to keep a clean, positive space. It will be nice to show off to visitors.

43. Get to know your neighbors

Maybe you and your partner just moved to a new area. Or maybe you guys just haven’t gotten to know your neighbors since they moved in.

Either way, it doesn’t hurt to build your network and form a supportive community. An easy way to start is simply by knocking on doors — invite them over for dinner sometime!

44. Visit your in-laws more often

Make it your New Year’s resolution to visit each other’s side of the family more often. Invite them over for dinner or insist you come for a visit.

If they live across the country, make it a goal to call them more or plan a road trip.

45. Celebrate more

One way to practice positivity is to celebrate each other’s life accomplishments — big and small.

Go big for every holiday. Go out to a nice dinner when one of you gets a promotion. There are a billion things you can be celebrating!

46. Drink less alcohol

There are plenty of reasons to drink less. It can be beneficial for your health and can save you money, for example.

Whatever your reason, if this is something that you both want to do, make a set of guidelines to follow throughout the year. Like, limit yourself to two glasses of wine per week.

47. Amp up the romance

This New Year’s resolution is quite popular and can be accomplished in many different ways.

Go on more dates. Take a trip together. Give daily affirmations. Whatever you and your partner will enjoy.

48. Say “I love you” more

This one is simple and straightforward. Words of affirmation can be so important in any relationship. Make sure that your partner knows how you feel about them.

49. Show more physical affection

Just as words of affirmation can be important for a relationship, so can touch. Hold each other’s hands when you walk. Offer a hug when they get home from work. Little actions like these matter.

50. Prioritize family

Whether you’re married or not, have kids or not, make it a priority to focus on family this year.

Spend more time with each other’s parents and siblings. Go visit your cousins. Plan a family vacation. You won’t regret this New Year’s resolution.

Related: 5 Surprisingly Easy Ways To Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions In 2021


New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Best Friends


51. Make plans for a trip

If you’re like me and my friends, you guys have been itching to go on an adventure together. Make this the year! Road trip to the coast or the mountains.

Or a more budget and time-friendly option is to plan a day trip. Spend the day in a city near yours, or explore the one you already live in.

52. Make new friends

Do you and your best friend want to expand your circle? You definitely can and should.

Coming out of the pandemic, we’ve all missed social interaction and meeting new people. You and your best friend should plan to join some new clubs, volunteer, go to bars, etc. See who you meet.

53. Treat yourselves

Maybe you and your best friend could spend a little less time stressing about everything else and indulge more. Go out for drinks! Take a trip to the spa! Go to the game!

54. Spend more time with each other

Sometimes, life can get busy. So busy that you haven’t been able to see your best friend in ages.

This year, make it a pact to see each other more this year. You guys should prioritize each other no matter what else is going on.

55. Try new restaurants

There are way too many restaurants I still need to try in my hometown.

You’d think I would’ve gotten around to it after living there for a number of decades, but I tend to go to the same five places over and over again.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to try new restaurants around your town. Go on a little food adventure!

56. Explore your city

I’ve lived in Kansas City for years, but I still couldn’t tell you everything it has to offer. I bet that in your city, there are so many cool buildings, events, and people that you have yet to discover.

You and your best friend should make a pact to learn more about your city, and have fun doing it.

57. Take dance classes

Recreational dance classes are a fun way to meet new people. I’ve made a few lifelong friends from dance class.

You and your best friend should sign up this year. Contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop — there are plenty of options for all levels

58. Check in on each other more

Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up with your best friend when you have your own stuff going on. Life can be hard, so make it a point to check in with each other more.

Once a week, go for coffee and rant about school, work, your parents, your partner, etc. Make sure each of you is doing OK.

59. Dress more courageously

It can be hard to wear the things you want with confidence. If you’ve been wanting to break out that new crop top or buy a new wardrobe, you should! Clothes can be a fun way to express yourself.

Encourage each other to dress how you actually want rather than the same shirt and shorts you wear every week.

60. Start an Etsy business

It’s time to put all that creativity to use. You and your best friend should make it your New Year’s resolution to start a miniature business.

There are so many things you can draw, paint, glue, or sew to put together some cool items.

Even if you don’t end up making much of a profit, you’ll have fun putting everything together with your best friend.

61. Spend more time listening to each other

For some of us, it’s easier to talk and get our worries off our chest. For others, it’s easier to support our friends by listening to their problems.

But maybe you and your best friend could find a better balance between listening and sharing. Make it your New Year’s resolution to genuinely listen to each other’s issues more.

62. Get fit together

For me, it’s easier to motivate myself to work out when I have a friend tagging along. Find some fitness classes and promise to show up every week.

You two can also go on walks together and catch up. There are a ton of ways to get moving that will be 10 times more fun with your friend.

63. Have more movie nights

Movie nights are a great way to laugh together. Your New Year’s resolution can be to have a movie night weekly or biweekly.

It will be something that you guys can look forward to every week! And don’t forget the snacks.

64. Start a little book club

I always love talking about books with my friends. This year, you guys can start a little book club. Meet once a month or so to discuss the new books you’ve read. See if others want to join!

65. Finally get tattoos

You two have been talking about getting tattoos for forever (matching or non-matching), but you guys always chicken out.

Hold each other to it this year. Just go for it! Life is too short to not get the tattoo.

66. Volunteer together

Volunteering around your community can be such a rewarding experience. You and your best friend should share this experience!

Help out around your town and have fun doing it. If you’re not sure of any volunteer opportunities near you, all it takes is a quick google search.

67. Mesh your friend groups

You and your best friend should introduce all of your other friends and acquaintances.

If everyone gets along well, you’ll have a big group of friends to hang out with. Big friend groups can be the best kind of friendship.

68. Save for a trip to Europe

A trip to Europe with your best friend might seem financially… unreasonable. But if you put in the work, you can make it possible.

Put aside a percentage of your earnings each week, and by the end of the year, you’ll be prepared for great plans.

69. Binge a TV show together

A fun way to ensure that you and your friend will spend time together is to binge a show.

Catch up on a couple of episodes each week. By the end of the year, you’ll know the characters and the seasons inside and out.

70. Start a band

Whether it’s serious or silly, how could starting a band be a bad idea? I can’t imagine it would be boring. Get your friends together with some instruments, and start working on some songs.

71. Learn how to roller skate

I used to roller skate all the time when I was little. I remember it being a blast, but I’m not so sure I can do it anymore.

I plan to relearn with my friend this summer. You and your friend should too! Dress up in helmets and knee pads and make fools of yourselves.

72. Spend more time out of the house

No matter how much you and your friend love sitting on the couch and watching movies all day, it’s important to get out of the house, too.

Go out to lunch. Meet some people! Have a picnic at the park!

73. Visit each other more

If you and your best friend live miles apart, try to visit each other more often. Road trip or indulge in a plane ticket. It’s for your friend, so it will be worth it!

74. Get to know each other better

Even though it feels like you guys have known each other for a century, there is still a lot you can learn about each other.

For your New Year’s resolution this year, promise to get to know each other.

Related: How To Celebrate New Year’s Eve Around The World


Unique New Year’s Resolution Ideas


75. Pick some complicated recipes and perfect them

We can’t all be Julie Powell and make our way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But learning to cook is a great New Year’s resolution idea.

You’ll never regret learning how to cook for yourself or other people.

And this is a fairly attainable goal as well. Chances are that you already have the supplies you’ll need. If not, borrow your friend’s kitchen.

You can learn recipes by simply reading the instructions or watching YouTube videos. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, sign up for a cooking class near you.

76. Paint more

This one is going to be on my list next year. I used to paint all the time, but life got in the way. However, it’s important to make time for the things that make you happy.

Sign up for classes near you, follow along to some YouTube videos, or simply paint what you like on your own time.

77. Try goat yoga

I have always wanted to try goat yoga. I love yoga, and I love goats. Can you think of a better way to spend your time than doing some relaxing yoga surrounded by cute little bleating goats? I can’t.

Check and see if there’s goat yoga near you and sign up. If you can’t find anything, remember to check when you’re on your next vacation in a different city.

78. Go skydiving

This one is definitely not for me. But if you’ve been talking about going skydiving sometime before you die, why not now?

You’ll be surprised by how many places offer it in the U.S. And as a bonus, this New Year’s resolution is one and done, so you won’t have to pressure yourself with practicing a skill every day or anything like that.

79. Try going vegan or vegetarian for a couple of days a week

This one will be easier than you think, and it will help reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment.

If you choose to go this route, plant-based milk such as oat or almond milk will be your best friend — I actually prefer it to cow milk.

You can also find tofu or plant-based meat substitutes at your local grocery store — give them a try!

You might be surprised by what you like. Canned beans are also a good vegan protein source that’s affordable.

Have vegan taco nights with refried beans and black beans!

80. Support Black-owned businesses

It is important to actively support people of color to help society toward racial equality.

By supporting Black-owned businesses, you are helping close the racial wealth gap, making local economies stronger, and more.

At the beginning of the year, create a list of Black-owned businesses you’d like to support, and add to this list throughout the year.

81. Support LGBTQ+-owned businesses

For similar reasons listed above, you should support LGBTQ+-owned businesses.

A lot of people try to do so during Pride Month, but supporting the LGBTQ+ community should be a year-round effort. Research some LGBTQ+-owned businesses that you can support.

82. Learn a new language

If I could learn all of the languages in the world, I would. Being multilingual is such a great skill to have.

Even if you don’t have an immediate opportunity for using the language you’re learning (e.g. you’re learning Dutch but aren’t planning to go to Denmark any time soon), it’s still a great mental exercise and encourages you to think about your native language in new and creative ways.

Start with an app like Duolingo, and work your way up to reading some children’s books and listening to music and watching movies in the language.

83. Write everyday

This was my New Year’s resolution last year, and I actually stuck to it. This New Year’s resolution idea is perfect if you want to be a writer.

Even if writing is not your thing, journaling can help organize your thoughts, alleviate stress, and expel creative energy.

I highly recommend this New Year’s resolution. I happened to do this in 2020, so I have a personal record of all of the world-changing events that happened that I can look back on someday.

84. Join a club

Try something new! It’s a great way to learn a new skill. Or get back to your hobbies and spend time with people who like the same things that you do. You might make some great new friends!

85. Stick to a cleaning schedule

Maybe you never quite formed the habit of keeping your space clean. Make a cleaning schedule for yourself and stick to it.

Even if it’s just twenty minutes a day, it will make a huge difference in the way your space looks and feels. Personally, I always feel more productive when my apartment is clean.

86. Start a garden

Starting a garden can be a fun, year-long project. Start making plans at the beginning of the year.

If you don’t already have garden beds, buy some dirt and raised garden beds at the store. Grow some vegetables to cook with! Flowers are great, too!

87. Donate the things you don’t need

Chances are that you have a lot of stuff you don’t really need.

Practice a little bit of minimalism by donating clothes and furniture that you think could be of use to someone else. It will help you keep things organized.

88. Quit a bad habit

This year is as good as any to quit a bad habit. Whatever it is — biting your nails, smoking, etc. — it may be hard at first, but it will be worth it.

Organize a list of strategies to keep yourself on track. Like, maybe you get to reward yourself every so often.

89. Listen to audiobooks in the car

Rather than listen to the same songs over and over again when you drive, listen to some audiobooks.

It’s a fun way to pass the time, and you’ll be well-read. I like to use Audible for downloading audiobooks.

90. Organize your family tree

Have you always wondered who is in your family tree? This is a great New Year’s resolution idea if you want to learn about your lineage.

Interview your close relatives to see what they know, and take what you find to a website such as Ancestry.com.

91. Get a new wardrobe

This is a great New Year’s resolution idea if you’re looking for a change. Buying some new clothes is a fun way to reinvent yourself and start fresh. I always like to peruse Pinterest for fashion inspo.

92. Get a new look

Like I said, reinventing yourself is a great way to start fresh. Go for something a little more drastic than a new wardrobe.

Cut your hair; dye it. Get a new tattoo or a piercing. You’ll have fun showing off the new you.

93. Run a marathon (or half marathon)

This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I’ve never gotten around to it. The training is intense, so unless you’re already an amazing runner, this truly will be a year-long project.

Start by making a running schedule with goals.

You can start with something comfortable, like a couple of miles, and then slowly work your way up week by week. But be careful not to overdo it. Too much running can be bad for you.

94. Start a poetry collection

Make your New Year’s resolution about expressing your creative side. Make a schedule for yourself to write a few poems a week. If you stick to it, you’ll have at least 150 poems by the end of the year.

It doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad. Writing poetry can be a rewarding, meditative experience.

95. Floss daily

You’re lying if you say you haven’t struggled to keep up with flossing at some point in your life. My dentists would always beg me to floss more as a kid. I finally picked up the habit.

It’s time that you do too. Your smile will be thanking you for it.

96. Stretch everyday

Stretching is so good for your body. It helps you keep your muscles strong and maintains the proper range of motion for joints.

This is something you can do while watching TV. — that’s my favorite time to stretch.

97. Download a dating app

Many people are hesitant about the idea of meeting a partner through an app. But there are also a lot of great people who are open to the idea.

If you are having trouble meeting people or dating, try downloading an app like Tinder or Bumble. Worst case scenario, you just delete your profile if you have a bad experience.

98. Learn how to ride a unicycle

If you are having trouble coming up with New Year’s resolution ideas, look no further.

Why not learn how to ride a unicycle? It may not be a very practical skill, but you’ll be able to show it off to all of your friends.

99. Go to more art museums

Surrounding yourself with art can hardly be a bad thing. This year, make your New Year’s resolution to visit more art museums.

Take a stroll through a sculpture garden and ponder some paintings. They might inspire you.

100. Conserve water

This year, be kinder to the environment by conserving water. There are a million ways to do this.

For example, you can take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, add mulch in your garden, etc.

The smallest changes you make can have a big impact on the environment.

Final Thoughts on New Year’s Resolution Ideas

And there you have it. 100 resolutions for this coming new year. Start early, motivate yourself, and involve your friends!

And if you still need ideas, watch this YouTube video of 100 people sharing their New Year’s resolutions. Stick with your resolution, whatever it is, and you’re sure to see results.




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30 College Meal Prep Ideas Every Student Should Try



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Two glass containers with rice and veggies and two forks at the top left corner

College is the best time to take full advantage of all the opportunities to grow into the person you want to be.

Whether taking on extra classes, joining a club, or interning in your potential career, it is the time to fully work on yourself.

These healthy college meal prep ideas will help you focus on becoming yourself without the worry of eating unhealthy or spending a lot of money on food you might forget about. 

There are a variety of meals listed here that can be eaten throughout the year, and all of them made with simple ingredients.

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t make some of the recipes completely. These are made to be altered to the best of your ability!

1. Smoothie Bags

MeowMeix is a health-conscious influencer who demonstrates various healthy food swaps and meal ideas.

She has helped many college students realize that healthy eating is possible with just a few changes.

These smoothies are great and meal-prep friendly. Leave them in your freezer for rushed mornings and you’re set for the day!

Berry blast smoothie bag on the top left, tropical dream smoothie bag on the top right, green machine smoothie bag on the bottom left, chocolate cherry smoothie bag on the bottom right

2. Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a popular breakfast meal prep food, and they can be very delicious.

CotterCrunch has an impressive one that is not limited to the mason jar, so small additions can make it even better if you are worried about not having a fulfilling breakfast.

I prefer it this way so I can start my day with a fruit or veggie.

2 glass containers, the left container with an egg, oats, a piece of orange and nut. The right container with oats and pieces of grapefruit

3. Egg Cups

Egg cups are a simple meal idea and last for a surprisingly long time. I’ve tried various ones myself and they haven’t disappointed me at all.

It all depends on what you put into it and what toppings, if any, you add to it as well.

You can even have this with an English muffin or as a side to your overnight oats. Let Show Me The Yummy help you prep!

a muffin pan with egg cups in it

4. Yogurt Parfaits

Yogurt parfaits are the best breakfast, dessert, or snack. If you need something sweet but want to stay on the healthy side, this is a great option.

Gathering Dreams has a great guide to choosing your fruits and granola, and which ones pair best with each other.

Or you can get your favorite fruits and layer as you wish!

3 cups of yogurt with berries and coconut shavings on top

5. Vegan Hummus Sandwich

An easy way to eat healthy college meals is to prep vegan dishes.

This vegan hummus sandwich might not be an attainable college meal for everyone, but the best part about preparing your own vegan dishes is that you can put your more preferred veggies instead.

The Simple Veganista has a lot of great vegan recipes that are simple and easy to prep, even for college students.

2 sandwich halves stalked on top of each other with avocado, tomatoes, and greens

READY to prepare these DELICIOUS Meals?

You are going to need the following to get started! We suggest you bring these kitchen essentials to your college if you plan to cook in your dorm room. 


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6. Chicken Tacos

Lunch and dinner are easier to plan for, so you don’t have to be so picky about what you would want to eat. For instance, chicken tacos are so versatile and easy to meal prep.

Tasty has a whole website on easy recipes, and many dedicated to college meal preps.

Like a couple of recipes on this list, you can make a big batch of chicken and save it to add to whatever veggies or leftovers you already have. Convenient and budget-friendly!

2 chicken tacos with tomatoes and guacamole sitting on a white plate

7. Taco Bowl

Another use for big-batch protein is making your extra protein into a taco bowl, also convenient if you don’t have tortillas or lettuce for wraps.

Since this is a recipe for a taco bowl, the ingredients are set to reflect it, but if you are using a big batch protein, you can change it to your liking or budget.

Honestly, Sweet Peas and Saffron have become my go-to because they give a lot of alternatives!

4 glass containers with rice, corn, tomatoes, onions, a lime, and meat

8. Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

Hopefully, cheap ramen and unseasoned spaghetti are not all you end up eating in college. You can always upgrade this dish with uncomplicated swaps like choosing a pesto sauce instead of tomato.

This sun-dried tomato pasta with spinach by Little Broken is so simple and flavorful that you will never want to eat plain pasta again!

a plate of sun-dried tomato pasta

9. Sesame Noodle Bowl

My favorite meals in college are the ones that are filling but don’t take a lot of time. This sesame noodle bowl has become a great takeout replacement.

Edamame may be hard to find, so switch it out for peas if necessary. No guilty eating with Pinch of Yum’s recipe!

4 glass containers with noodles, edamame, avocado and meat

10. Black Bean and Corn Salad

Every once in a while, I see a vegan recipe that I wouldn’t mind incorporating into my weekly meal plan. This straightforward, no cook meal even works as a healthy lunch in between classes.

With this black bean and roasted corn salad, there’s no ingredient that is impossible to find! Simple Veganista has blessed us again.

a bowl of taco salad and a metal fork on a green napkin

11. Caprese Chicken Bowl

This Caprese chicken salad bowl by Sweet Pea and Saffron is honestly the best meal I have ever prepped in college. It is so tasty that I cannot live without it.

It is also a very healthy college meal so I highly recommend it. The mozzarella is sometimes pricey if bought individually, so opt for some big packs.

I recommend prepping the night before instead of days in advance so that it is fresh. I usually swap the quinoa with lettuce or green beans, but it is amazing in every way!

2 glass containers with small tomatoes, rice, meat, and cheese

12. Cilantro Lime Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Now I know seafood can be expensive for some college students, so don’t hesitate if you need to swap these cilantro lime shrimp lettuce wraps for ground beef or chicken.

You can use the same seasoning for any protein and make it your own. Lettuce wraps are the easiest meal prep you can achieve and will be one of the freshest every time.

The Recipe Critic shows us a very simple recipe that I am ready to make every day!

cooked shrimps on lettuce on a serving platter

13. Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

I Wash, You Dry has a great instant pot recipe for crispy pork carnitas. This is a great college meal plan recipe if you can make big batches for days to a week at a time.

Think Chipotle but without the added calories. Add this in a taco, burrito bowl or in a lettuce wrap, between buns or in a salad, and enjoy!

a pan with instant pot pork with limes on the top

14. Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Whether you grew up eating casseroles or not, Thriving Home will make you appreciate their versatility and time-saving recipes.

I love it because it is easy to add extra veggies or your favorite protein and it won’t ruin the dish.

Try to have a fresh addition to it, whether a side salad or some toppings like avocado or cheese to upgrade it after reheating. Casseroles are the ultimate college meal prep staple!

Chicken Parmesan Casserole in a clear dish with green leaves and bread crumbs on the top

15. Spinach and Beef Cannelloni

This method of stuffing pasta before cooking can take a bit of time, but it is so worth it at the end.

RecipeTin Eats has an easy recipe for spinach and beef cannelloni that can be made for days of prep! Think lasagna, but much tastier when reheated. There are also one-pot lasagna alternatives if you are really short on time.

Spinach and beef cannelloni on a plate with a metal fork

16. Cheesy Spinach Stuffed Shells

If you want something simpler, spinach and cheese stuffed shells can be frozen for days before cooking.

I recommend making as many as you can and freezing them in portioned-out containers. If you feel inspired to cook new things, try these stuffed shells with a different pasta sauce.

Use Kristine’s Kitchen recipe for a fulfilling meal!

Cheesy spinach stuffed shells with marinara sauce

17. Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp fried rice is a popular takeout food for college students and Damn Delicious has such a delectable recipe, it would be rude not to include this in your preparations.

This fried rice will still taste great when reheated, and adding more veggies can make it the ultimate meal. After having your personalized version, you won’t want to order out. Takeout who?

4 plastic containers with shrimp, fried rice, green beans, and peas

18. Vegetarian Chili Mac

If you are more interested in one-pot recipes, this vegetarian chili mac by Kristine’s Kitchen is a good one for any college student who preps their meals at the beginning of the day.

It is a slow cooker recipe, but there are plenty of others that are done in a much shorter time if that’s your preference.

a bowl of vegetarian chili mac in a white bowl

19. Make-Ahead Baked Taquitos

Every college student has stumbled into a 7/11 and ordered those taquitos without knowing what was in it. In order to avoid that mistake again, make your own! You will appreciate the flavor and versatility of these taquitos.

I love this very effortless meal by The Oven Light and its freezer compatibility. Have these as a meal prep or a party snack with fresh guacamole and tomatoes.

a plate of baked taquitos topped with guacamole and sour cream

20. Pesto Chicken Veggies

I love uncomplicated recipes and Tasty does an awesome job at helping college students recreate them. This recipe and cooking process is not even that difficult, so if you forget to meal prep, this can be a quick meal.

This pesto chicken and veggie recipe is one I find myself constantly going back to, and even changing up the veggies when I want to prep different meals!

4 plastic containers with chicken, green beans, and tomatoes

21. Honey Sriracha Crock Pot Chicken

Another excellent batch recipe, this time by Fit Foodie Finds, and it only needs five ingredients! Pair this honey sriracha chicken with rice, veggies, quinoa, or potatoes for dinner.

This chicken is also a great lunch in a salad or a quick sandwich. The possibilities are endless!

a hotpot of hot honey sriracha chicken

22. Honey Garlic Chicken

This is another big batch recipe, but not as big as previous ones, for college students with fewer storage options, or who simply may not have as much time to prep meals.

This one is by Diethood and you won’t be disappointed.

honey garlic chicken in a white bowl

23. Ground Turkey Stir Fry

Another takeout replacement, because we shouldn’t buy takeout every day, is this great ground turkey stir fry.

This is a great one-pan alternative as well and there’s nothing wrong with adding any extra veggies from other meal preps.

With The Girl on Bloor’s recipe, we will be eating low carb, fresh veggies, and guilt-free all through college!

4 containers with colorful ground turkey stir fry

24. Broccoli Stuffed Chicken

Cheesy broccoli stuffed chicken. Simple as that. Healthy Fitness Meals have made it easy to enjoy and endlessly appetizing.

This comfort food has been enhanced to be a healthier version, so you can eat this multiple times guilt-free.

Have some extra veggies to keep it low-carb. Keep this recipe around for those days you forget to meal prep. It’s that easy!

2 broccoli stuffed chicken in a pan

25. Jerk Chicken and Gingered Broccoli

Half Baked Harvest has presented us with this very fresh and Caribbean-inspired meal. Make sure you have the spices needed for this one.

Also, keep in mind that alteratiofns are not a bad thing! If you can’t find an ingredient, in this case edamame, opt for another veggie like snap peas or green beans.

As long as your seasoning is consistent, it will be a fulfilling meal. You’ll be excited to try something new with this dish!

3 glass containers with jerk chicken and gingered broccoli next to a bowl of limes

26. Chicken Noodle Soup

Classic chicken noodle soup for those days where you work too hard and need some rest. Make sure you stock up for flu season! Eating Well has an easy recipe with very few ingredients.

You are going to love it because it is quick to prep. This effortless comfort food will become your favorite to recreate all year.

3 bowls of chicken noodle soup sitting on a wooden table

27. Black Bean Soup

Maybe you want a no-meat option of the soup. Tasty does a great job at creating recipes that use several plain and cheap ingredients to create a delightful soup.

There are many veggie options for those that want an easier soup to freeze. Top with a fresh veggie like avocado or even enjoy with some tortilla chips.

a bowl of black bean soup with avocado and cheese on top

28. Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup

Or maybe you are like me and Chelsea’s Messy Apron and prefer creamy soups. This chicken tortellini soup is a little time-consuming, but so, so worth it in the end.

You can make this as a big batch soup and save it for the winter months.  Try it with some garlic bread if you have it!

two bowls of creamy chicken tortellini soup

29. Creamy Tomato Soup

Soups are uncomplicated and can be left in the freezer for days. Try this easy creamy tomato soup by The Recipe Rebel instead of opting for the can.

It tastes fresher, is easy to prep, and won’t cost you more than a fast-food meal. Don’t forget the grilled cheese!

plate with a small bowl of creamy tomato soup and two pieces of bread on it

30. Five Spice Beef Stew

Lastly, a hearty stew can get you through the week, especially during the colder months. They are easy to make and can last for a while, so plan accordingly.

The Cookie Rookie has a great, heavily seasoned recipe that is for sure to be the envy of your friends and roommates all through college. Add some toasted bread or sprinkle some cheese to improve the stew. Bon appetit!

3 bowls of spice beef stew, 3 spoons at bottom right corner of the image

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Are Plant-Based Diets The Future or a Thing of The Past?



A plate full of various plant based foods.

Sticking to a plant-based diet is a thing that people have always done, but recently has made a comeback as a popular lifestyle choice. People on plant-based diets eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, tubers, grains, and seeds, or concoctions that consist of one or more of those ingredients. You will not see people on these diets eating that much meat, such as beef, poultry, and fish, nor eggs or dairy, however, these foods are not always given up completely. 

Plant-based diets have existed and been followed for a very long time for various reasons. While some people decide to stop eating animals for moral reasons, others live by a plant-based diet because of the many health benefits. Different forms of plant-based diets include being vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, fruitarian, and flexitarian, which allows for the consumption of some meat and dairy. 

Just because someone decides to live a plant-based lifestyle does not mean they have to give up eating meat or dairy completely. Most plant-based diets are flexible in the sense that you will not be breaking any rules if you eat a piece of meat here and there. Eating plant-based is more of a mindset in which one prioritizes eating plant-derived foods rather than eating mostly meat, fish, or dairy. A whole-food diet is a diet where people eat foods that are as close to their natural state as they can be, staying away from all processed foods, added sugars, and unnatural chemicals.

A popular plant-based diet is called the whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, which consists of elements of both a plant-based diet as well as a whole-foods diet where a person does not eat any processed foods, artificial sweeteners, added sugars, refined grains, or hydrogenated oils. The WFPB diet also recommends people stick to eating mostly whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. 

Heads of broccoli laying on a green background.

Are Plant-Based Diets Beneficial?

There are many studies and claims saying that eating a strictly plant-based diet is in many ways incredibly beneficial for people’s health. These studies say that some benefits of this diet can include, lower total cholesterol, lower risk of developing type two diabetes, improved cardiovascular health, improved glycemic control, loss of weight if needed, protection from various forms of cancer, improved neurocognitive function, and prevention and management of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in 2017 that looked at the effects of a fully conformant WFPB diet and compared them to the effects of someone on a plant-based diet but also ate processed foods. The results showed that people on WFPB diets were much less likely to have any sort of heart disease, while a plant-based diet that still includes processed food actually increases the overall risk of heart disease. More research that has been done over time has shown that sticking to a WFPB diet can also possibly decrease a person’s requirement for certain medications such as statins, medication for blood pressure, and various diabetes drugs. 

Even though there are many potential benefits of a plant-based diet, there have also been studies that show the opposite, claiming that plant-based diets can be more detrimental to someone’s health than beneficial.

“A plant-based diet sounds like it’d be inherently healthy, but that’s not always the case. Refined grains, added sugars, and vegan fast-food are all plant-based—but not the healthiest. Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and some proteins make for more nutritionally sound choices,” Dietitian Nutritionist Kelly Plowe said.

Ensuring that you stick to the right diet that isn’t only plant-based but also naturally healthy is essential in getting the proper benefits that a plant-based diet can lead to. 

Some downsides of following a WFPB diet include the fact that like any diet, it becomes an obligation to pay more attention when preparing and planning what you are going to eat, as it is hard to constantly find affordable healthy foods that are not processed. Also, once meat has been omitted from a diet, it becomes a challenge to consume the amount of protein and other nutrients that are recommended and required to survive.

People who follow these diets need to ensure that they eat enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. It is true that eating a plant-based diet can potentially lead to a lower intake of necessary daily nutrients. However, if the proper time and effort are put into meal planning, eating the right nutrients should not be a huge problem for most people who want to stick to WFPB or any plant-based diet.

A picture of a plant based burger in packaging called 'Beyond Burger'.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has dietary guidelines that include recommendations on what foods to eat to maintain a healthy plant-based diet that still includes a bit of meat. Some of the foods that the USDA mentions include vegetables, dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, and green beans. Fruits, berries, grains, oats lean meats such as chicken breast, fish, or turkey breast. Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy such as milk and cheese, as well as natural oils are also on the list.

While not eating meat and dairy technically does not meet the USDA guidelines of a healthy, well-balanced diet, it has been shown and proven that with the right planning, it is absolutely possible to take in everything necessary in order to continue to thrive by following a plant-based diet.

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