Be a better person in 2020

You’re gonna kill it. But in a good, non-murdery way.

a black man giving a thumb's up and thumb's down sign while looking confused and standing near some lights at night
What's 2020 going to be like? No one can be sure, so all you can do is try your best.Aaron_Amat via Depositphotos

The new year is upon us, and many of you may be pretty happy to put 2019 in the rearview. But that’s exactly why it’s important to start 2020 off right, with the best intentions to kick off a better year as a better you.

During the past 12 months, PopSci’s DIY section has featured stories we hope have improved your lives and gotten you thinking about new ways to approach even the most mundane tasks. Now it’s time to dip into that vat of knowledge and use it to become the best version of yourself this new year.

Travel more (and better)

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to embark on more adventures. In some countries, people take empty suitcases around the block at the stroke of midnight, hoping that some unexpected travel will come their way. When you travel in 2020, make sure you do it the smart way and make the most out of every trip by beating jet lag, keeping it green, and maintaining healthy habits while you’re away.

And if you think traveling might be a bit too expensive, know that it is possible to venture abroad on the cheap—you can go to the end of the world and back on a budget, or save some money by cooking your meals in your hotel room.

Eat healthier and cook more

Maybe you started 2019 with a great diet that lasted all the way to the third week of January. Or perhaps you decided this was the year you’d eat more fruit and vegetables each week and, somehow, you failed. Don’t worry—it happens.

As you gear up to try again, know that there are a lot of ways to get motivated and actually accomplish your goals in 2020. If you’ve found it hard to eat more vegetables, you can try again by growing your own hydroponic garden or learning how to find the best possible produce to make each meal taste that much better. And if you decided 2020 is the year you’ll go all the way and finally call yourself a vegetarian, diversify your menu and start making your own veggie burgers.

Food choices are one thing, but deciding to cook more might help you get there, too. Next year, your kitchen will look so flawless and welcoming that someone will have to pull you out of there by force. Start by organizing that disaster you call a kitchen drawer (you know the one), and getting rid of all that expired food by cleaning up your pantry. Trust us—Future You will be thankful.

Take care of yourself, physically and mentally

a man in a white shirt and jeans standing in the middle of a field with his arms open up to the sky
If trekking out into a field and trying to give the whole world a hug is what makes you happy, do it.jannabantan via Depositphotos

If we each had a nickel for every time someone promised themselves they’d start working out more in the new year, we’d all be rich and able to afford personal trainers like celebrities do. (Who needs a resolution when there’s someone at your door every morning forcing you to go to the gym?)

It’ll be different in 2020, though. If you set your mind to it, you’ll be able to find the perfect workout or go back to that exercise routine you dropped months ago. Maybe you spent a lot of time this year working in front of a computer and your back has probably been paying the price. Help it out a bit by improving your posture.

Getting more exercise is a great resolution, but making time for yourself is also important. Next year’s version of you is someone who has already learned how to cut down on their screen time, spends less time on their phone and uses technology to wind down and relax from time to time.

2020 You also knows how to keep things clean. That’s why they’ve upped their dental hygiene game by really learning how to brush their teeth. They also take the time to stop and clean their phone because, honestly, that gross gadget can’t make resolutions for itself.

Have a safer, more pleasant life online

Do you still use the same password on every platform? Is your login your partner’s birthday, your pet’s name, or the street you grew up on? Come on—it’s almost 2020, and it’s about time you got serious about online safety.

Make a habit of checking and changing your passwords every so often, and follow that up by getting rid of the spyware lurking on your laptop. Go the extra mile and learn about the other steps you can take to be safer online, and protect all your data with two-factor authentication.

When it comes to social media, 2020 You definitely deserves a detox. Think about all the platforms you’re on and ask yourself if you really need them. Cutting back on a few could be a great idea, but if that’s too much and you’re already sweating (we’re not judging), you still might want to make them a little less toxic.

Oh, and Future You also replies every text from their mom. So step up and respond—even if it’s not you who’s doing the typing.

Be kind to the planet—it’s the only one we have

summer view of Arpy Lake near La Thuile, Aosta valley, Italy, a lake near mountains
So fresh, so clean. And we hope it stays that way.Antonio-S via Depositphotos

It’s possible this resolution has been on your list for a couple of years, but it’s as important now as it was 10 years ago. The good news is that it’s always possible to be more green, and while your carbon footprint is minuscule compared to the world’s biggest companies, individual decisions can still have an effect.

A good way to start is by being less wasteful in the kitchen: learn how to preserve those herbs that are rotting in your fridge and how to take advantage of every single delicious bread crumb.

If you still have some Christmas gifts to give, think twice about the wrapping and opt for something that won’t spend the rest of your lifetime barely decomposing in a landfill. We will always recommend dramatically uncovering gifts as if you were a host on a game show.

And if helping the planet means reconnecting with mother nature, you can always go camping more (even in the winter), but make sure to leave no trace behind.

Get more bang for your buck

The end of the year can be especially tough on your bank account. You’ve probably been dreading checking your balance, but we’ll bet you’re already planning to cut back on your expenses in the new year.

Make things easier for 2020 You by curbing your online shopping and saving on everyday things: forgo that daily takeout and learn how to cook easy meals at the office, or stop paying so much for public transportation by riding your bike to work again.

Take better care of your clothes and your budget by making your own laundry detergent, and forget about buying a new pair of jeans by just learning how to fix them.

Finally, whoever said money doesn’t grow on trees was wrong, or at least couldn’t see the whole picture. There are a lot of freebies out there, and you should be taking advantage of all of them.

Just try to be at least a little bit better

Your overall resolution for 2020 should be simple: just be better. Even if it’s a small amount. Stop putting off all those things you’re dreading working on and organize your life as best you can. Maybe that’ll help you keep your stuff tidy—and if not, here’s a little push.

But being better is not only about adulting like, well, an actual adult, but also looking the part. In this new year, forget about screaming at your friends for uploading unflattering photos of you, and simply make sure you look your absolute best in every picture. This time next year, we hope you’ll be able to look back and smile at all the amazing things you did in 2020. And then look forward to how you’d like to get even better in 2021.

Here’s to the new year!