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Nine New Year’s Resolutions and the Best Countries to Pursue Them In

The beginning of a new year brings with it the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf and change your life for the better. For 2018, YouGov predicted that the most common New Year’s resolutions would be to eat healthier, do more exercise, and save money — it is very likely that the goals for the upcoming year will be similar, if not identical!

However, with 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions failing by February, you might need more than a new gym membership or a savings plan to succeed. One of the hardest parts of achieving your goals is following through on your initial burst of motivation. What better way to hold yourself accountable than by moving abroad? 

To help you achieve your goals in 2019, we have compiled a list of the nine most common New Year’s resolutions and the best destinations for pursuing them. 

Live a Healthier Life

Leading a healthy life can mean anything from regularly doing exercise to simply spending more time outside. However, many people struggle to break with the bad habits they have developed over the years. If this is you, a change of scenery might give you the push you need!

Ranking 1st out of 68 countries in the world for health & well-being in the Expat Insider 2018 survey, Austria seems to have cracked the code to a healthy lifestyle: it has affordable healthcare, as well as a high quality of medical care and local environment. A Romanian expat even claims that the Austrian environment is “perfect”, with “clean water and enough green spaces”. With regards to its great healthcare system, more than four in five expats (81%) find the medical care in the country affordable, and almost nine in ten (87%) are satisfied with its quality.

Start a Family

Perhaps the new year will bring a period of reflection on your family life for you — whether that means starting your own, or just improving your existing family’s environment. If this is the case, Finland might be the place for you.

Coming in 1st out of 50 countries in the world for family life, Finland is popular among people concerned about providing for your family’s needs. More than nine in ten expats raising children in Finland (91%) say that they are happy with their family life in general. A vast majority (93%) also consider the attitude towards families with children to be friendly, or as an Australian expat aptly puts: “Finland is great for kids!”

In addition to living in a family-friendly environment, finding a good school is crucial for a successful family life abroad. Fortunately, almost all expat parents in Finland (96%) rate the quality of education positively, and this doesn’t just apply to private education. While many expat children around the world attend private or international schools, about two-thirds of expat parents in Finland (67%) choose local state schools for their children.

If you’re not yet convinced, the final cherry on the cake might be that children in Finland are also very safe: all expat parents in the country (100%) are happy with their kids’ personal safety, while just 81 percent say the same across the globe. A US American expat in Finland particularly appreciates “not having to worry about the safety of my family while I am gone.”   

Find Love

Instead of starting a family right away, single expats might put finding love on their to-do list for 2019 as the first step. With this in mind, it is not surprising that dating websites are apparently at their busiest between 26 December and 14 February, according to an online dating portal. There are 50 million messages sent and one million dates arranged in this short period. 

If you are looking for love, Chile might be the perfect destination for you. More than half the expats who live in the South American country and are in a committed relationship (56%) have met their partner there. Of those expats in Chile who are in a relationship, almost half (49%) have a Chilean local as their partner (vs. 35% globally) and more than nine in ten (93%) are happy with their romantic relationship. A Uruguayan expat even says: “My partner is my favorite thing about Chile.”

Save Money

Debt is something that everyone tries to avoid as best as possible. Although packing up and moving abroad isn’t going to pave the way for financial freedom immediately, in the long term, it may be worth your while to consider life in Colombia. With a number one ranking for personal finance, the country is the place in the world where expats can make the most of even a limited budget.

Over four in five expats in Colombia (84%) are happy with their financial situation and almost two-thirds (64%) say their disposable household income is more than enough to cover their daily living expenses.

Despite the fact that only 36 percent think that they earn more than they would in a similar job back home (vs. 53% globally), the financial satisfaction among expats in the country is high. One of the reasons for this might be the low cost of living: here, Colombia ranks in the top five right after Bulgaria, Mexico, Vietnam, and Thailand. Clearly, the country has some financial respite to offer the money savvy expat.

Expand Your Network

A new year is the perfect time for a fresh start. Use this opportunity to expand your network and enhance your connections! A good personal and professional network is important for everyone, no matter if you’re looking for new friends or for business contacts to boost your career. For example, you can join an international community like InterNations or a business network.

As an expat you learn to accustom yourself to new surroundings and make friends along the way. However, if this is your first time abroad, being greeted by friendly locals always helps. With this in mind, consider Mexico for your next adventure!

While some people have a hard time approaching strangers, this does not seem to be an issue for those living in Mexico: 94 percent of expats find the local residents generally friendly, and another 90 percent consider them to be particularly friendly towards foreign. This may be one reason why more than three-quarters (77%) also say that making local friends is easy in Mexico, compared to less than half (45%) globally. Of course, it also helps that there are many opportunities to meet new people in Mexico: almost nine in ten expats (86%) are satisfied with their socializing and leisure activities.

Find a New Job

Whether you are stuck in a rut at your current job or simply looking for a new professional challenge, starting a career abroad is always a good idea.

Bahrain ranks 1st out of 68 countries in terms of working abroad, which is partly due to the great career opportunities for expats. Seven in ten respondents (70%) say they are happy with their career prospects in Bahrain, compared to just 55 percent globally. If you are starting to get interested in Bahrain’s job market, it might be reassuring to hear that almost half the newly arrived expats (48%) also found it easy to find work in the country after their relocation, compared to about two in five (41%) saying the same about job hunting around the globe.

Expats in Bahrain also have less cause for worry when it comes to their jobs. Seven in ten (70%) are satisfied with their job security and 85 percent of expats are happy with their job in general. It seems like Bahrain has a lot to offer for job seekers from abroad! 

Reduce Stress

Nowadays with higher connectivity and the ever-increasing number of high-pressure jobs, it is easy for work to start consuming your life. According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, one in five highly-engaged employees will potentially suffer from burnout at some point in their career. If your life is all work and no play, then moving to Denmark may be a solution.

A large 83 percent of expats living in Denmark are satisfied with their work-life balance, compared to just 61 percent of expats globally. In addition to that, more than four in five expats (84%) are also content with their working hours. With a full-time work-week of 39.0 hours, expats in Denmark spend less time at their job than the average expat who works five hours more (44.0h). According to an Iranian expat living there, they even have “flexible working hours!”

Not only do they work less, expats in Denmark actually feel the benefits — “life is generally easier,” according to an Italian expat.

Travel More

As an expat, you see the benefit in travelling and exploring different countries and cultures. With globalization on the rise, the world is getting smaller by the day, and traveling and exploring other countries is becoming much more accessible for everyone. If you are planning to cross more countries off your bucket list in 2019, you might want to consider Singapore as your base camp.

Expats rate the tiny country the top destination for travel and transportation in the Expat Insider 2018 survey. Almost all expats in Singapore (96%) appreciate the travel opportunities the state has to offer, owing to its close proximity to many popular destinations. A US American expat points out that “Singapore makes a spectacular launching pad to the rest of Asia if you like to travel.” As a bonus, it is also easy to get around within the city-state: 95 percent find the transportation infrastructure to be “top notch”, as one Australian expat in Singapore puts it — just 68 percent of expats globally say the same. If you are looking to move abroad, but don’t want to confine yourself to just one place, then Singapore offers the perfect balance.

Find a New Hobby

The wake of a new year is also the perfect time to try something new! If you are searching for a new leisure activity, you might find something that takes your fancy in Spain — the top-rated expat destination for leisure options.

More than nine in ten expats in Spain (93%) are happy with the available leisure activities, compared to three-quarters of expats globally (75%). As a Bulgarian expat in Spain explains, “there are many different activities for different people.

But one of the biggest benefits of Spain is its sunny weather! Almost all expats (96%) are happy with the climate and weather. These areas seem to complement each other well as a Belgian expat even says that his favorite aspects of expat life in Spain are in fact “the climate and leisure options”. So, if you’re hoping to pick up a new hobby this new year, as well as spend time outside, then Spain is the right place for for you.  


While moving abroad might not necessarily be the be-all and end-all solution, it will help you take a step in the right direction. You will be that bit closer to achieving your New Year’s resolutions if you put yourself in the right environment — every little step helps!

Although these countries scored highest in the respective indices, it is of course important to consider all factors when deciding to move. To help you pick your next destination, compare countries on the issues that matter most to you in our Expat Insider 2018 report, rated by expats for expats!



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