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Be Better This New Year with Resolutions in Swedish Posted by on Dec 31, 2019 in Culture, Current Events, Holidays, The Swedish blog team

As we say hej då to 2019, some folks will ring in the New Year by making lofty goals and striving to be a better person. Ett nyårslöfte is Swedish for a New Year’s Resolution. Swedes and Americans alike share in this tradition of making goals and promises for the upcoming year. In this blog, I touch on the idea of New Year’s Resolutions while integrating personal characteristics as a grammar point. Want to be more punktlig (punctual) with your deadlines or tålmodig (patient) with family?  Or perhaps your New Year’s Resolution is just to study more Swedish?! Well then, let’s go! 

Tina Stafrén “The Edible Country” Image Bank Sweden

First, if you’d like to wish someone “Happy New Year” you say Gott nytt år! 

Why the gott, and nytt forms of these adjectives?  Swedish grammar has adjective agreement, which means that the adjective changes form depending on the thing it is describing. If you need a re-cap, read this blog article here.

Essentially, ett år pushes adjectives into their t-form, so Gott and nytt pair with år in the phrase “Gott nytt år.”  

Another ett-noun is ett nyårslöfte, or New Year’s Resolution. Plural form is nyårslöften.

-Har du några nyårslöften?   -Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?
-Nej, det struntar jag i.          -No, I’ve given that up. 

According to amelia.se, Swedes had these top nyårslöften going into 2018: 

  1. Resa mer                           Travel more
  2. Stressa mindre                 Stress less
  3. Träna/motionera mer    Work out more
  4. Spara mer pengar            Save more money
  5. Gå ner i vikt                      Lose weight

Hans Strand “Fireworks over Stockholm” Image Bank Sweden

It seems that these top 5 echo some of the most common resolutions from year to year. But do people really keep them up? 

att hålla dina nyårslöften    to keep your New Year’s Resolutions

Har du lyckats hålla dina nyårslöften? 
Have you succeeded in keeping your New Year’s Resolutions?

Sometimes it’s less about the things you want to do and more about the type of person you are striving to be. Therefore, I have included some characteristics used to describe people in Swedish.  Some have negative connotations, and other are more positive:

Egenskaper – Characteristics

beredd                    prepared

kompetent             competent

pålitlig                    reliable

handlingskraftig   energetic

självstående           independent

punktlig                    punctual

ansvarsfull               responsible

lyhörd                        perceptive

stark                          strong

envis                          stubborn

effektiv                      effective

långsam                     slow

snabb                         quick

försiktig                     careful

tålmodig                     patient

hjälpsam                     helpful


And lastly, one of my favorites although it is not an adjective, rather a noun, en tidsoptimist. We say a procrastinator, but in Swedish, you’re just a “time optimist.”  That’s a rather generous way of putting it, don’t you think?

Vilka är dina bästa egenskaper?     What are your worst characteristics?

Vilka är dina sämsta egenskaper?  What are your worst characteristics?

Below I have made some fill-in-the blanks using professions. Pair the profession with an egenskap that would suit it. Remember that people are en-category nouns, so use the base form of an adjective when describing yourself, professions, etc. 

1. En bra lärare är ______ och  ______.

2. En politiker måste vara  ______.

3. En frisör måste vara ______ eftersom många personer inte säger vad de vill ha. 

4. Journalister brukar vara  ______ och ______.

5.  Det krävs att vara _______ om man är advokat. 

6. En kock är ______.

7. För att bli chaufför måste man vara  ______. 

8. Superhjältar är  ______, ______ och  ______. De brukar vara  ______ också.


Do you strive to be more beredd, or handlingskraftig this year? Have another New Year’s Resolution? Write it below in Swedish! 


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About the Author: Chelsea B

Chelsea is a Swedish language instructor and translator living in Minnesota, U.S. She has a degree in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College and has experience living and working in Sweden from north to south! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, listening to music, and practicing slöjd, the Swedish word for handcraft.