Promises, promises: New Year’s resolutions for 2018

December 22, 2017

Whether you make a New Year’s resolution or not for 2018, you are in good company: Each year, nearly the same number of Americans (41%) make a New Year’s resolution as do not (42%).

And the overall results for each group hardly vary: Just 9% actually succeed in whatever they have pledged to accomplish according to a report by Statistic Brain.

Indeed,the true winners are the gyms and diet plans and quit-smoking programs that all of us join at the beginning of the year, when we are committed to our plans. For example, according to Gold’s Gym, its traffic jumps by 40% between December and January. But just wait a few weeks – it won’t be long before all those good intentions die.

But we cannot resist trying and our goals are worthy: Being a better person and weight loss share the top spot as the most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2018, according to findings released by the Marist Poll on December 20.

.Among Americans who still plan to make a resolution, 12% report they want to be a better person, and the same proportion (12%) say they want to lose weight. Exercising more, eating healthier food, and getting a better job each were cited by 9% of respondents; while 7% want to improve their overall health.

Six percent of U.S. residents resolving to make a change want to kick the smoking habit, and another 6% plan to spend less and save more money. Another 30% came up with a different resolution altogether.

Last year, being a better person (16%) edged out weight loss (10%) and exercising (10%) to take the number-one slot.

Of note, the proportion of resolution makers who plan to look for a better job has nearly doubled from 5% last year to 9% currently.

Predictably enough, age and gender affect the goals people choose. The most cited resolutions among those under the age of 45 are being a better person (13%) and getting a better job (12%).

Among older resolution-makers, weight loss (16%) edges out exercising more (13%), being a better person (12%), improving one’s health (11%) and healthier eating (10%).

While being a better person (17%) is the leading New Year’s resolution among men, weight loss (15%) is the top resolution among women.

“With weight loss tying for the number-one resolution and exercise and healthy eating making the top five, health is top of mind,” commented Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “And, if the past is any indication, many Americans have a good chance at keeping their promises for at least part of 2018.”

Finally, how long do Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions? Among those who say they made a resolution for 2017, 68% said they kept at least part of their promise. Similar proportions of men (69%) and women (66%) remained true to their word for at least part of 2017. More men (75%) compared with women (62%) said they kept their New Year’s resolution last year.

Research contact: Daniela Charter (@DanielaCharter)

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