BY JARED LINDZON for Fast Company

Some people play it safe with their New Year’s resolutions; others take it to the extreme.

Last year the three most popular New Year’s resolutions all had to do with diet and exercise, followed by saving more, and then learning a new skill or hobby. Such vague and common goals, however, are easily forgotten; 80% of resolutions are abandoned by mid-February, and only 8% are ever accomplished.

Instead, consider taking your 2020 goal to another level, one that will really force you to break unhealthy habits, break new ground, or beat personal records. Setting such lofty goals won’t just help you expand the limits of your own abilities—it will help keep you accountable. After all, few will be bold enough to ask you about that 10 lbs. you said you’d lose this year, but who wouldn’t want to know more about your goal to swim with a shark, run a marathon in North Korea, or cut a word out of your vocabulary entirely?

Here are five wild, crazy, and bold New Year’s resolutions that will inspire you to take your 2020 goals to new heights.


Peter Bordes has always had an affinity for the sea. The great-grandson of a commercial fisherman and an advocate for oceanic health, Bordes has already accomplished his goals of swimming with a dolphin and a whale shark in the wild. This year, however, he’s looking to take things a step further. “I want to get into the water with a great white shark. Not in a cage,” he says.

Bordes, who serves as both the CEO of a digital advertising platform and the vice-chairman of Ocearch, an organization that helps protect the oceans through data collection, says it’s not just a matter of facing his fears.

“Sharks are a metaphor for the oceans, because they’re one of the most important apex predators in the oceans, and they’re the balance keepers,” he says. Bordes adds that thanks to popular culture sharks have long been misunderstood, feared, and hunted en masse in unsustainable ways. According to the Humane Society 72 million sharks are killed annually, and almost 60% are threatened by overexploitation.

Bordes hopes that swimming alongside a great white shark will raise awareness about the fragility of the species.

 “Is it nerve-racking getting into the water with a great white? I’m kind of hoping it is, and I’m hoping it helps me overcome my boundaries of what I think is scary,” he says. “Take a little bit more risk, and you’ll find out more about yourself and what you’re capable of doing.”


Ariane Klassen considers herself environmentally conscious, but her New Year’s resolution takes recycling, reducing, and reusing to a whole new level. In 2020 she plans to purchase only 10 items of clothing or less for the whole year (not including socks and underwear).

She says the challenge, which she has successfully accomplished once before, forces her to be more selective in her shopping, rediscover and repair items she already owns, and reduce her consumption overall.

It all started a few years ago when Klassen was going through her clothes from the year before. “I realized there were things I maybe had worn twice, and I felt really bad about that,” she says. “I think people, especially in North America, we buy and use more than we need, so it’s a way to kind of get back to a reasonable amount of purchasing.”

While it might sound like a good way to save money, Klassen says the goal has nothing to do with reducing her overall clothing budget. “The last time I did this I was more willing to spend a little more on clothing because I wasn’t buying as much, so I might spring for something I wouldn’t normally because I’m only buying 10 things.” >>> READ MORE