Most Popular New Year's Resolutions
Love them, hate them, keep them, live up to them, forget about them, or just flat out ignore them – New Year’s Resolutions are back and the time is once again upon us to decide whether we’ll have any at all, and if so, which ones. When it comes to Americans, research indicates that approximately 60% of the adult population make resolutions, but only 8% (approximately one person out of twelve) actually live up to their resolutions all year long.
In fact, voluminous data collected by the social media fitness website Strava.com, collected from tens of millions of athletes spanning 195 countries around the world, last year predicted that the single most likely day that fitness resolutions would be abandoned was….January 18th.
Nonetheless, much like the myth of Santa Claus, the myth that New Year’s Resolutions are a worthwhile pursuit for many of us lives on. So, what are some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions? Let’s take a closer look.
Health is Wealth
Even though earning more money, spending less and saving more are generally mentioned near the top of the list for the most popular New Year’s resolutions each year, an altogether different trio typically resides at the top. Indeed, at the top of the list we’ve got the health trifecta of eat healthier (71% of those surveyed), exercise more (65%), and lose weight (54%).
When we observe that more than two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The three health related resolutions overlap significantly, and according to Inc. Magazine’s oft-cited Top Ten List of 2019 New Year’s Resolutions each one of them dwarfs the #4 ranked resolution of save more or spend less (32%) on a percentage basis of those surveyed.
Save Money or Spend Less
Here comes the personal finance related resolution. After our health and fitness, what do we resolve each year to improve most? Our personal spending habits. Particularly after the holiday shopping season, and after any work-related bonuses have registered into the bank account, the desire to alleviate any financial related stress or to simply set about the business of making things financially better on a personal level rings loudly at the New Year.
But, really, (and especially if you’re a regular reader of this blog) you should know that keeping our personal financial house in order is a year-round habit, not a resolution to be made once yearly that likely will be broken.
No way. It’s simply too important to have a clear, realistic, written monthly budget in place that you adhere to throughout the year that provides you with reasonable structure and peace of mind while keeping you out of trouble. If you need a resolution for “saving more or spending less,” you’re already bordering on getting into trouble.
There are numerous articles available on this website that speak to the importance of creating and maintaining a budget, as well as articles that address using any unsecured credit card debt responsibly and articles that discuss debt relief options if you find yourself already overburdened by debt. Take the time to browse this site and educate yourself further – it very likely will be time well spent!
Out With the Old
For many people, the dangerously unhealthy habit of smoking remains a burden. Because quitting smoking is so difficult for so many – the average “successful quitter” needs four attempts to kick the habit – it remains a popular New Year’s resolution year in and year out.
Unless and until smoking somehow gets eradicated from American culture entirely (about as likely as an asteroid hitting Earth), quitting smoking (21% of those surveyed) will almost certainly always make an appearance among any year’s most popular New Year’s Resolutions. On a somewhat similar note, 15% of those surveyed resolved to drink less in the upcoming year.
Like quitting smoking, quitting alcohol altogether (or drinking less) is best accomplished in stages, with proper tools and emotional support. Most of those seeking to drink less are men. Another popular resolution for men is to find another job (16% of those surveyed) in the upcoming year.
In With the New
The old expression, readers are leaders, still holds true today – and probably even more so than it did twenty years ago. Whether we choose to read books or not, technology and the internet allow for a virtually infinite library that allows for the learning and proper study of any subject – we truly are limited only by our imagination, drive, and time management.
The resolution to read more (17% of respondents) will likely become a mainstay on lists such as these, as well as the resolution to learn a new skill or hobby (26% of those surveyed). In fact, the growing popularity of internet offerings such as masterclass.com speak to the availability to actually fulfill such a resolution!
Regardless of geographical location, the internet makes it easier than ever for individuals everywhere to learn from successful practitioners in a variety of fields and creative endeavors, allowing for the possibility of lifelong learning to those who truly seek it.
Time is of The Essence
Rounding out this discussion of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, it would be remiss not to mention the intangible resolutions related to time and relationships.
Whether the resolution is to spend more time with family and friends, improve a certain relationship, or to simply set aside more time for oneself, resolutions that relate to how we manage our time and relationships are quite common and serve as valuable reminders for how we could live our lives better all year long.
The same can also be said for the final trio of resolutions that proclaim to get organized, stop procrastinating and manage stress better. All of these help us live happier and more fulfilling lives throughout the year – and like all New Year’s Resolutions – are worthy of our attention and proper habit formation – regardless of the date on the calendar.
About The Author: Steven Brachman
Steven Brachman is the lead content provider for UnitedSettlement.com. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Economics, Steven spent several years as a registered representative in the securities industry before moving on to equity research and trading. He is also an experienced test-prep professional and admissions consultant to aspiring graduate business school students. In his spare time, Steven enjoys writing, reading, travel, music and fantasy sports.
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