By Kelsey Schauf

As the year winds down, people are reflecting on the changes they want to make in the New Year—deciding, perhaps, after that 150th gym commercial, whether or not to sign up. New Year’s Resolutions look a lot different than they did many years ago, so let’s first look at where these resolutions came from. 


The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first group of people to start New Year’s Resolutions almost 4,000 years ago. In addition, they are said to be the first people to have a celebration to honor the new year, which began in mid-March when the crops were planted. The Babylonians hosted a large 12-day religious festival during this time known as Akitu. 

Here is where the “resolutions” came in. During this 12-day festival, the Babylonians made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. If people kept their word, the gods would grant them favors in the coming year. If people did not keep their word—well, let’s just say they didn’t get many favors. 

Fast forward almost 4,000 years and we are about to embark on the year 2024! Making a resolution, or goal as I like to call it, is not a sign that you are doing things wrong now and have to change. Looking at your list as a goal list and knowing that you shouldn’t put yourself down if you didn’t save that $20,000 or lose those 20 pounds, should make creating that list a little easier. 

As we start to think about 2024 and the things we want to improve on or adjust, start with tasks that are sometimes frustrating or time consuming. Personally, this year one of my goals was to wash my face at night. As a full-time working mom to a toddler, sometimes at night it was just easier to go straight to bed instead of doing a nightly routine that included washing my face. This goal was something easy enough to accomplish but has ultimately changed up my nighttime routine for the better. 

One of the main reasons why some folks don’t accomplish goals or resolutions is because their goals are vague. The more specific you get with your list, the more attainable your list will be. Instead of listing out that you want to lose weight, adjust it to read: Eat one vegetable with lunch and dinner. 

Stress is something that everyone wants to better manage, whether it is at work, home, etc. Personally, as a full-time working mom with Multiple Sclerosis, stress is something that is not only bad for my health but also my mental health. If you want to lower your stress level, list out the ways you want to reduce your stress. These could include taking up a hobby like pickleball or reading more books, but having a more specific goal can make it more achievable. Some people say it can take between 21 and 66 days for a habit to form, so don’t feel defeated if, a week later, you realize you forgot to read your 10 pages in the book on your nightstand. Just keep in mind that you have to continuously do a task for it to become a habit. 

Here are 5 ideas to help you get a jumpstart on your 2024 New Year’s Goal List 

Try One New Recipe A Week

There are so many avenues to find new, fun recipes in this day and age. Whether you get a new cookbook for Christmas, find a recipe while scrolling through social media or even find a recipe right here in Heartland Living Magazine, try something new! You may have some hits or misses, but that is all in the fun of cooking.   (Note:  We have many recipes here on our website!)

Drink More Water

This goal is probably on a lot of people’s minds. To get even more specific, maybe grab that 40oz emotional support cup that we know you have and try to drink at least two of those each day. Add your favorite fruit to the water for a hint of flavor! 

Work out… Because You Knew This Would Be One

As we mentioned before, to make a goal more attainable you need to get more specific. Maybe you want to lose those last 10 pounds, or you just want to feel healthier. List that as your goal / resolution instead of vaguely resolving to “work out more.” Maybe you just want to take the stairs at work in lieu of the elevator. If so, then list that! Your goal doesn’t have to be this giant goal that you have to put stress onto yourself to accomplish. 

Support Local Businesses

So many people are wanting to give back to their community, but don’t know how to start. There are great businesses across the Heartland where you can shop as a means of supporting your local community. Have a birthday party for a girlfriend and don’t know what to get? Maybe head to a locally owned boutique to purchase your gift! Want to have a dinner date with your significant other? Head on down to one of your delicious local eateries and boom, you are supporting the community! 

These are just five examples of things that people may put on their goal list. All of these goals are easily attainable and nothing out of the ordinary. Being realistic with your goals based on your workload or your personal obligations will set you up for success. No one should ever feel like a failure. Here’s to the next 365 days and getting on track with our goals/resolutions.