New year resolution ideas for volunteers

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: December 26, 2018

    2019 is only a few days away, and with the holiday season imminent, everyone is getting their new year resolutions in order. It’s the perfect time of year to reevaluate the last 12 months and make a plan on what you’d like to achieve and how to make a difference.

    The downside? Most people give up on their goals less than a month into January. If you want to break the social quo, read on.

    We’ve put together a list of some of our top new year resolutions for volunteers as well as loads of advice on how to achieve your goals.

    How to make a new year resolution and stick to it

    How many times have you started the year with a list full of good intentions – only to abandon it in a couple of months?

    If you want to give yourself the best chance of success in 2019, you need to set goals that are meaningful and realistic.

    A lot of resolutions fail because:

    1) they are too vague
    2) there is no realistic plan to achieve your goal
    3) they are based on what someone else wants you to change.


    Instead, your resolutions should be SMART:

    Specific: Don’t say you “want to travel”. Be specific about where and how you want to travel in 2019. For example: “I want to travel to Fiji in volunteer on marine conservation projects“.

    Measurable: Track your progress towards meeting your goal. If you know you need $2,000 for a trip, break that down into an amount you can save each month.

    Achievable: If you want to save $300 a month, but your salary and life expenses don’t allow for that, set a smaller goal.

    Relevant: Only choose goals that are going to make you happy, not someone else.

    Time-bound: You need to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve a goal and hold yourself accountable by celebrating small milestones.

    New year resolution ideas

    Volunteer abroad


    New year resolutions don’t have to center around you. Instead, you can commit to using your time and resources to help others. One of the best ways to do that is to volunteer abroad.

    You’ll get a chance to travel across the world, immerse yourself in a new culture and work on sustainable initiatives. Whether you’re passionate about saving our oceans or empowering women, there’s a project for you.

    Gain valuable work experience


    Are you still in high school or looking to make a career change? Use the next twelve months to help you reach your professional goals.

    It’s never too late to gain work experience or to carve a new career path. Use your summer vacation to volunteer in Costa Rica and come back home with a qualification in leadership that you can attach to your university application.

    If you’re ready to ditch your desk and swap it for the ocean, you can sign up for a marine conservation internship. In a couple of months, you’ll have your diving license plus a shining recommendation to help you land your dream job.

    Meet new people

    Getting stuck in a rut is easy. Our life routines take over, and we miss out meeting interesting people or networking opportunities.

    Make it your new year’s resolution to get out of the house more and make new friends. Socializing with people outside of your usual group of friends gives you the opportunity to learn about new cultures. You might take part in their traditions, try new types of food or get the chance to travel to a new country.

    It can also give your career a boost. You might meet someone in your industry, and that can lead to exciting new job opportunities.

    Learn a new language


    In 2019, make time in your busy schedule to learn a new language. Not only will it help you improve your communication skills, but it will improve your CV and lead to richer cultural immersion.

    What’s the best way to learn a language?

    While there are plenty of apps like Duolingo that you can use in your spare time, the best way to practice is in real life.

    If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Mexico, spend a few months learning Spanish and then book a trip to the country. You’ll get to practice your new linguistic skills with the locals and perfect your pronunciation.

    Travel more


    In the words of Anthony Bourdain: “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them wherever you go.

    Travel is the best form of education. You get to experience other cultures first-hand and discover how people live on the other side of the world.

    But it’s easy to coup yourself up in a resort and experience little to nothing of a country. Avoid that temptation by looking for authentic travel experiences that let you positively interact with locals.

    Try local food, take part in ancient traditions and make sure your travel footprint is sustainable.

    Go on a digital detox


    How many times a day do you pick up your phone to swipe through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter? Over the past few years, technology addiction has become a problem that adults and teenagers face on a daily basis.

    For your 2019 new year’s resolution, give your thumbs a break from scrolling. Put down your devices and travel to a remote destination where the WiFi is weak.

    It’s the perfect excuse to detox from the online world and start to appreciate everything that’s around you. Without your phone, you’ll have to talk to the people around you and take in the scenery without feeling like you have to document the entire trip.

    Time to make a difference

    Want to learn more about volunteering abroad in 2019? Speak to a member of our team today.

    We can help you find the perfect project for you at one of our hubs in Africa, Asia, South America or Australasia!

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.