10 New Year's Resolutions for Social Athletes, 7 Types of Social Support

10 New Year's Resolutions for Social Athletes, 7 Types of Social Support

As 2023 draws to a close, we take a look at 10 New Year's resolutions designed to make you more socially fit in 2024. Each resolution is super-high ROI--designed to return extraordinary benefits with only low-to-moderate effort.

Next, we explore the 7 types of social support, and how to recognize support deficiencies in yourself and others. With this skill, you'll be able to quickly and specifically identify what's missing in your social life, and the social lives of the people you care about.

10 New Year's Resolutions for Social Athletes, 7 Types of Social Support

10 New Year's Resolutions for Social Athletes

As you enter 2024, remember what we know about social fitness. People tend to overvalue non-relational goals and undervalue relational goals. In reality, nothing leads to greater fulfillment than investing in the relationships around us. Here are 10 ideal resolutions for a social athlete in 2024. Pick one or two to make this your best year yet.

  1. Join a new social group. Take a class, join a club, join a sports team--anything that connects you regularly with a new group of people.
  2. Learn a new social skill. Pick one social skill you can master in 2024. Examples: asking great questions, becoming a better listener, or learning to give a perfect toast.
  3. Expand your comfort zone. Commit to doing something socially that scares you. Maybe you agree to speak publicly on a cause you care about, or maybe you commit to asking people on dates that are "out of your league." Nothing creates confidence quicker than slaying your social dragons.
  4. Mentor someone. Think of someone who is always asking you for advice. Next time they ask, offer a formal mentorship, with regular check-ins and accountability.
  5. Apprentice for someone. Ask someone to teach you about their passion. Be creative. Ask your son to teach you how to play video games or your mom to teach you how to cook.
  6. Invest in your neglected loose connections. Get to know all of your neighbors or make an effort to spend time with each of your coworkers 1-on-1. The quickest way to improve your social fitness is to invest more deeply in the people in your environment.
  7. Talk to strangers. Make a habit of talking to strangers this year. If that sounds too daunting, pick a single context--like strangers in elevators or Uber drivers.
  8. Create a communal goal. Take one of your existing New Year's resolutions, find someone who has a similar goal, and reach out to them. Offer to work on your goals collectively--sharing insights, resources, and inspiration.
  9. Create a regular check-in routine. Make a list of all of your vital relationships. Consider the optimum check-in interval for each of them. Close relationships might be every 3-7 days. Looser connections might be every 2-4 weeks. Now, schedule recurring tasks to check in with each of these relationships at your ideal intervals.
  10. Host a regular social event. Pick something you're passionate about and host a regular event around that interest. This can be something formal, like a monthly book club, or something casual, like inviting friends over to watch Monday Night Football.

7 Types of Social Support

Each of these represents a vital human need that can only be satisfied by other people. If we're deficient in any of these support categories, we will feel that something is off in our social lives. Below, you will find definitions of each support type and symptoms of deficiency.

1) Emotional Support

The expression of love, empathy, or caring, especially during tough times.


  • Listening empathetically to a friend's problems.
  • Offering a shoulder to cry on during tough times.
  • Sending a heartfelt message during a crisis.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Feeling lonely or isolated despite being around people
  • Having many acquaintances but few deep, trusting relationships.
  • Experiencing a persistent sense of emotional emptiness or numbness.

2) Instrumental Support

Providing tangible, practical help to others in their day-to-day lives.


  • Helping out with household chores.
  • Offering to babysit for a busy parent.
  • Assisting someone in moving to a new home.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Feeling overwhelmed with daily tasks.
  • Struggling to balance work and personal life.
  • Frequently feeling physically exhausted or burnt out.

3) Informational Support

Sharing knowledge, advice, and information to help others solve problems.


  • Sharing career advice with a colleague.
  • Recommending resources for a personal project.
  • Providing tips on managing finances.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Often feeling lost or unsure about how to approach problems.
  • Making decisions that consistently lead to negative outcomes.
  • Lacking trusted sources for advice or guidance.

4) Companionship Support

Providing a sense of belonging and social connection through shared activities.


  • Regularly meeting a friend for coffee or a walk.
  • Joining a club or group activity.
  • Engaging in social chats or gatherings at work.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Regularly feeling bored or idle.
  • Experiencing feelings of loneliness or social isolation.
  • Lacking motivation to engage in social activities.

5) Validation Support

Offering affirmation and understanding to others, acknowledging their experiences and feelings.


  • Congratulating someone on their achievements.
  • Acknowledging and praising effort, regardless of the outcome.
  • Reassuring someone during times of self-doubt.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Struggling with low self-esteem.
  • Constantly seeking approval or recognition.
  • Frequently feeling underappreciated or undervalued.

6) Motivational Support

Encouraging and inspiring others to pursue their goals and aspirations.


  • Sharing an inspiring story to uplift a friend.
  • Encouraging someone to pursue their goals.
  • Being a positive role model.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Lacking direction or purpose.
  • Feeling uninspired or unmotivated.
  • Having difficulty starting or completing tasks.

7) Financial Support

Providing monetary assistance or resources to help others with their financial needs.


  • Lending money to a friend in need.
  • Donating to a cause someone cares about.
  • Offering advice on financial planning.

Signs of Deficiency:

  • Experiencing constant stress about money.
  • Avoiding discussions or decisions related to finances.
  • Feeling unable to afford basic necessities or desired activities.

Next week, we'll look into effective strategies for increasing the support you give and receive in each of these categories.

Until then, best wishes for a Happy New Year!



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Written by

Casey Wright