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Best Games to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Best Games to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Every year, we all tell ourselves the same things. We're going to learn a language this year –– we're going to lose that weight. Many of us plan the same resolutions over and over, but we give them up just weeks into the new year. Keeping new year resolutions is hard, and 2021 is going to be even more difficult for some, especially given the hell that 2020 wrought. But if you want to try and better yourself with a few resolutions, believe it or not, video games can help!

Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds, be a bit more mindful, or learn how to play an instrument, video games can lend their assistance. So as January begins and you’re lining out your hopes and dreams for the year to come , you’ll have a clear game plan to tackle to get it done. 

Here’s a selection of some of the best games to help you make and keep those New Year’s resolutions. Even if you don’t end up meeting your goals and decide to quit a few weeks in, you still get to play video games, and who could pass up an excuse to do that?

Lose weight: Ring Fit Adventure

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Sweat it out with this inventive Nintendo Switch exclusive. It can be especially difficult to get to the gym right now during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but Nintendo's thought of a way to both help you create a workout routine and stick to it while also having fun. 

Ring Fit Adventure is an action role-playing game that comes with a Ring-Con peripheral, or Pilates ring that houses one Joy-Con controller. It also comes with a leg strap that you can drop the other Joy-Con controller into so it can track your movements.

Once you're all set up, you jump into a colorful, exciting world where you take control of a young athlete who travels with a sentient Ring just like your own in the real world. Together, the athlete and Ring team up to defeat a bodybuilding dragon named Dragaux. But you won't do it by sitting idly on the couch. 

You'll complete a variety of exercises as you fire projectiles in battle, jump over obstacles, and fire off attacks at the baddies in your way. Of course, all of the moves correspond to a real-life exercise pose or action you must hold to progress. It's challenging, but you'll want to keep going to see what happens next. Keep it up, and before you know it, you’ll have lost weight without even really trying. This game is far more demanding than it looks. 

Stop stressing: Tetris Effect

(Image credit: Three Flip Studios)

Tetris may be a challenging puzzle game, but there's something incredibly zen about it. The world melts away behind you until all you have to worry about is arranging the blocks you see in front of you. Tetris Effect takes everything the original game introduced and enhances it in a big way, adding hypnotic visuals, soaring EDM, techno, trance, hip-hop, and jazz tunes, and themed puzzles to solve as the tetriminoes fall from the top of the board and you scramble to place them.

(Image credit: Three Flip Studios)

Clear each line of blocks as efficiently and quickly as possible, and eventually you'll unlock the "Zone" power that lets you freeze time to place blocks as quickly as you can to build up your combo meter even further. While you're working feverishly to build up the blocks in place, Tetris Effect may seem hectic and difficult to follow, but in the heat of the match, you'll realize you've never felt more focused and stress-free. If you let it, that can spill over into other areas of your life so you can learn to compartmentalize and eventually calm down a bit more during your day-to-day tasks.

Learn a language: Influent

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you aren't one for flash cards or audio lessons, but you're trying to learn a new language, Influent might be the answer. It's an immersive video game inspired by classic 3D titles that first appeared on the Sega Dreamcast and is now available on Steam. Everything can be fully interacted with in an expansive environment, and it's all labeled according to the language pack you choose. There are several packs to select from, including German, Japanese, Russian, and French among others. You'll look around your apartment, inspect items, hear native pronunciations, and collect over 420 words in the language you're pursuing. 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The game lets you learn at your own pace and makes it rewarding to retain words you pick up along the way. The reward system is often missing from self-study programs, and that's why Influent can make things a bit simpler when it comes to language-learning. By the time we can travel freely again, you may have gleaned enough knowledge of another tongue to get around without a translator!

Learn to play guitar: Rocksmith

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Learning an instrument can be extremely difficult, and the guitar can be a major challenge. If you don't have someone to teach you and can't be bothered to go on YouTube to watch tutorials, you're left with learning tabs and fingering positions on your own without much real feedback. That's where Rocksmith comes in. 

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

All you need to start learning guitar (or bass, if you so choose) is the game, a guitar, and the adapter that allows you to connect to a console or PC. Rocksmith features a wide variety of lessons to help you learn the basics of playing guitar, from basic chords to more advanced playing.

When you've learned enough to start making music, you can select from dozens of songs included in the game from artists like Queens of the Stone Age, The Shins, R.E.M., Radiohead, and a variety of other popular bands and musicians. There's plenty of DLC available to add to the songs you can learn, but when you learn the foundational basics, Rocksmith can empower you to try additional songs on your own. Most importantly, the game will offer feedback on what you’re doing right and what you need more work on. Give it enough time, and you’ll be serenading friends and family in no time.