The 14 Absolute Worst Ways to Start the New Year

Updated: Dec. 07, 2018

Holding a grudge? Sitting on a massive credit card bill? In a fight with your mom? Don't panic, there's still time to fix all these things and start your new year off right.


Holding a grudge

Chances are pretty good that something happened in the past year that really upset you. (And if not, share your well-centered secrets with the rest of us!) Whether a friend betrayed you, a family member lied to you, or a stranger on the Internet viciously attacked you, it can be really tough to let those painful feelings go. But, as the old adage goes, refusing to forgive is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die. Start your new year fresh by doing whatever it takes to let go of those painful feelings and move past the hurt. See a therapist, talk to a clergy person, or meditate.


Picking a fight

Sometimes you are the wronged party, but other times you are the one perpetrating the wrong. Or, more often than not, you’re both partly wrong. But regardless of anyone else’s actions and whether or not you choose to admit it in the moment, you know when you’ve done a bad thing. So say you’re sorry. Apologizing is hard… but not as hard as letting the argument carry over into a whole new year, to grow and metastasize until it kills your relationship. If you can’t say it verbally, start with an “I’m sorry” note, email, or text. These are the New Year’s resolutions you shouldn’t make.

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Having a pantry full of junk food

Diet, exercise, and weight loss goals are by far the most popular New Year’s resolution for 2019, but many of us sabotage those healthy goals before they even start by setting up our environment for failure. Resist the mindset that you can eat whatever you want and then go cold turkey on January 1. Making small changes is a much more realistic and sustainable method. Start today by cleaning out your junk food stash, stocking more fresh fruits and veggies, and looking up healthy recipes.

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Ignoring the pile of unused thank-you cards

Did you have a birthday in the past year? Celebrate an anniversary? Get married, have a baby, get promoted, attend a holiday party, win an award, or do any of the many things that inspire others to give you gifts or treat you? We certainly hope so, as those are the things that make life fun and interesting. But it’s all too easy to be grateful to others in the moment and yet forget to properly express your thanks later. A hand-written thank-you card is the gold standard of gratitude, but even a thank-you call, text, or email will make both you and the other person feel awesome. Don’t let those cards still be sitting on your counter when you ring in the new year. These are the life-changing resolutions you’ll want to keep all year.


Adding to your desk piled high with papers

Taxes may not be due until April, but you gather important financial papers throughout the year, from medical bills to credit card statements to charity donations. Now is the time to organize what’s important and throw out what’s not. That way, you’ll be able to find exactly what you need when you need it and you won’t be panicking come April 15, 2019.

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Racking up more debt

This time of year, everything is about spending, spending, spending. Last year, Americans added an average of $1,003 in credit card debt during the holiday season and up to a quarter of that is still owed this year. But debt is anything but merry and bright; it hangs over your head, causing worry, anxiety, depression, and regret, and can even spark a full-on breakdown. Depending on how much you owe and to whom, it’s likely not realistic to pay off everything this month, but you can start by making a budget today that will help you get it paid off. Here are 7 more money-saving resolutions you should make for the new year.


Leaving the dishes in the sink

Unwashed dishes may sound like a small thing but piled up dishes often lead to cluttered countertops, sticky floors, and overflowing trash cans. However, the kitchen is the hub of your home, so taking a few hours now to give it a good deep clean, starting with the sink, will make everything in your life feel easier—including keeping other New Year’s resolutions like cooking more meals at home, prepping healthy lunches, and measuring out proper portions.


Putting off your annual check-up

Thanks to the combination of expiring, unused health benefits and finally met deductibles, December is the most popular month for scheduling non-emergency health procedures like check-ups, dental cleanings, or even elective surgery. It can be a pain to fit it all in during such a busy season, but it’s worth it for the money you’ll save. This is one of those things that waiting until the new year really may make a big difference, in the form of a hefty financial penalty. Use all your available benefits before they expire, make the appointments, and don’t skip them, no matter how busy you are. (And then schedule them ahead for next year… in October.) These are the resolutions health experts hate the most.

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Forgetting your oil change

Let’s be honest, there’s never a convenient time for car maintenance. It’s always going to be a pain to get your oil changed and your tires rotated, but know what is an even bigger pain? Having your car break down on your way to Grandma’s for Christmas dinner. Taking the time to deal with small car problems now will save you from a huge repair bill in the new year.


Jamming more clothes in your closet

This is the perfect time of year to clean out your closet. Not only will it make room for any gifts you may get, but many charities are holding holiday donation drives, making it as easy as dropping the bag off at your office, school, or community center. Get rid of anything out of style, that doesn’t fit, is stained or worn out, or that you just don’t wear for whatever reason.  Then, you can start the new year with a fresh, new style, knowing that the only things in your closet are things you truly love.

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Letting your gym membership lapse

Your New Year’s resolution to exercise more will be only as good as the preparations you make now. You’ll be so much more likely to stick with a new fitness routine if you make sure you have all the equipment, supplies, clothing, and classes set up in advance. Then, come January 1, you can tie on your shoes and head straight into the gym without getting derailed by little details. Or, for a head start, hit the gym now and get a leg up on everyone starting in January. Make these resolutions for your healthiest and happiest year yet. 

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Living with a moldy fridge

Which sounds more appetizing: rummaging through a smelly fridge for something to cook or grabbing takeout for dinner? Skip the angst and set yourself up to save money and calories and deep clean your fridge, then stock it with healthy staples. At best, you’ll start off your diet resolutions on the right foot. At worst, you have a nice, clean fridge to store the takeout containers in.

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Not having spoken to your sister in months

The holiday hustle and bustle is supposed to be all about showing love to our family and fellow men, but practically speaking, it can be hard to find the time for an hour-long chat with your mom or a catch-up brunch with your sister between all the present buying and party going. In reality, your presence will mean so much more to your loved ones than any present. Take the time to reach out to loved ones now, because after all, no one knows how much time you have left together. Check out the New Year’s resolutions that will help you live longer.

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In a stalemate with your boss

Many companies schedule big changes for the beginning of a new year (health plans, raises, promotions, vacation time) and while that’s fine if things are going well, you might not want to wait until January if you’re unhappy in your job right now. Figure out what is making you miserable in your work and talk to your boss about how you can work together to fix it. Be proactive now in resolving your concerns and you’ll feel better come January. Next, be sure to check out these 50 ways to make your resolutions stick in 2019.