Are Americans resolving to make a change in the New Year? More than four in ten — 44% — plan to do so, up slightly from 40% last year. Once again, residents younger than 45 years old — 54% — are more likely than older Americans — 37% — to vow to improve an aspect of their lives in the coming year.
Similar proportions of women — 44% — and men — 43% — expect to make a New Year’s resolution this year. Last year, identical proportions of men and women — 40% — said they would resolve to make a change in 2013.
2014 Resolutions Run the Gamut
What are Americans resolving to change in 2014? There is little consensus. 12% of those who plan to make a resolution want to spend less and save more. 12% will try to be a better person while an additional 12% promise to exercise more. 11% say they resolve to lose weight while 8% plan to improve their health. An additional 8% resolve to eat healthier, and another 8% promise to stop smoking. For women, resolving to be a better person or to lose weight tops the list of intentions. Each is mentioned by 14% of women looking to use the New Year as an opportunity to change. For men, top goals include 12% who are hoping to spend less money and save more, and another 12% who intend to exercise more.
Last year, health improvements were top of mind. 17% of Americans who made a resolution for 2013 said they would lose weight, and 13% planned to quit smoking. One in ten — 10% — promised to be a better person while 9% said they would save more money and spend less. Eight percent vowed to exercise more.
More Americans Keeping Their Promises
72% of Americans who made a resolution for 2013 kept their word for, at least, part of the year. 28%, however, did not. The proportion of those who made a resolution and stuck to it has increased. Last year, 59% who made a resolution for 2012 kept their promise. More than four in ten — 41% — let their resolution slide.
Four in ten Americans — 40% — plan to ring in the New Year with promises to make 2013 better than 2012. Who are among those most likely to make a resolution? Americans who are younger than 45 years old — 51% — are more likely to promise to change than older residents — 34%.
60% of Americans are not likely to make a New Year’s resolution for 2013. Last year 62% said they did not plan to alter their lifestyle in any way, and 38% resolved to make a change. Fewer younger Americans plan to make a resolution compared with last year. At that time, 59% of those under 45 thought they would pledge to improve their lives and 28% of those 45 and older professed to do the same.
There is no difference between men and women on this question. 40% of men and the same proportion of women — 40% — report it is likely they will make a resolution for 2013.
Weight Loss Tips the Scales as Top New Year’s Resolution
Among Americans who plan to make a New Year’s resolution for 2013, 17% promise to lose weight. 13% say they will stop smoking while 10% would like to be a better person. Nine percent intend to spend less and save more money while 8% think they will exercise more.
Weight loss remains the number one New Year’s resolution. At that time, 18% said they would battle the bulge in 2012. 11% thought they would exercise more while 9% planned to save more and spend less. An additional 9% said they would stop smoking, and the same proportion — 9% — hoped to be a better person.
About Six in Ten Kept Their Word
Among adults nationally who made a New Year’s resolution for 2012, 59% kept their vow for at least part of the year. 41% did not. However, the proportion of Americans who kept their resolution has declined. 67% of those who made a resolution for 2011 stuck to it while 33% did not.
Nearly six in ten Americans younger than 45 years old — 59% — think they are likely to make a New Year’s resolution for 2012. This compares with just 28% of those 45 and older.
When further broken down by age, nearly two-thirds of Americans under 30 years old — 64% — believe they will make a New Year’s resolution. A majority — 55% — of those between 30 and 44 say they will do the same. 37% of residents 45 to 59 years old and 23% of those 60 and older plan to alter an aspect of their life.
Is there a gender gap? Similar proportions of women — 40% — and men — 36% — report they will make a New Year’s resolution going into 2012.
Looking at the population overall, 62% of adults nationally say they don’t plan to make a resolution going into the new year while 38% say they will make a New Year’s resolution.
This is the largest proportion of U.S. residents who say they are not going to make a resolution since 2004. At that time, nearly two-thirds — 65% — reported they were not going to resolve to change.
Last year, a majority — 56% — did not plan to make a resolution while 44% did.
Combating the Battle of the Bulge Tops List of New Year’s Resolutions
Weight loss is the top New Year’s resolution this year. Nearly one in five Americans who are likely to make a resolution — 18% — say they want to drop a few pounds. Exercise — 11% — comes in next followed by spending less money and saving more — 9%. The resolution to stop smoking, which was last year’s top resolution, also received 9% as did the overall goal of being a better person. 44% plan to make some other type of resolution.
Last year, quitting smoking — 17% — and weight loss — 16% — were the most cited resolutions followed by spending less and saving more with 13%, being a better person with 10%, and exercising more with 8%. 36%, at that time, offered a different resolution.
Women and men are on the same page. 18% of women and 17% of men are resolving to shed a few pounds. However, older Americans — 23% of those 45 and older — are more likely than younger residents — 12% of those younger than 45 — to promise to lose weight. In fact, among younger Americans who are likely to make a resolution, 13% want to save more and spend less.
Two-Thirds Kept Resolution This Year
Among those who made a New Year’s resolution going into 2011, 67% report they kept their word for at least part of the year while 33% did not.
Increased Pessimism about the Future
While a majority of Americans say they are optimistic about the world in 2012, there is increased pessimism. Currently, 54% are positive about the future while 43% are not, and 3% are unsure. Last year, six in ten — 60% — had an optimistic outlook while 38% had a pessimistic one, and 2% were unsure.
There is a growing pessimism among men. 48% have an upbeat view about the future while 49% do not. In 2010, nearly six in ten men — 58% — reported an optimistic attitude compared with 39% who were more pessimistic.
Those under 45 years old — 67% — are more optimistic compared with their older counterparts — 48%.
It was the best laid plans. Going into 2011, I planned to refrain from making a New Year’s resolution. And, I was in good company. According to the latest national Marist Poll, 56% of American adults said it was not likely at all that they would make a resolution for 2011. Ultimately, though, I caved.
As the hours ticked down to 2011, I questioned my decision. “There are definitely plenty of bad habits and personality flaws that I can work on correcting,” I thought. So, my ultimate decision was to resolve to worry less and enjoy life more. (No small task for the ultimate Little Miss Worry Wart.)
The ball fell, I ushered in the New Year with my loved ones, and I was on track to be more laid back. Think positively, I said to myself. This is the beginning of a whole new you. January 1st was a wonderful day, filled with family and friends. And, then, it happened. My brother, his fiancée, my fiancé, and I were gathered around my mother’s dining room table discussing our respective wedding plans. As my brother’s well organized fiancée ticked off their well-thought out arrangements, I started to panic. Granted, they are getting married before us, but that still didn’t stop my mind from racing. Are we behind? Does our more traditional style stink of boredom compared with their more avant-guard taste? Should we be doing more? I painfully held my concerns until later that evening. When I shared them with my fiancé, he stared at me and asked, “You couldn’t make it through one day, could you?”
He was right. And, so, I started anew with my resolution. But, here is the question that has been going through my mind: do resolutions do more harm than good? Think about it. Each year, many of us promise to make a change going into the New Year, but for those who don’t keep them, there is often a sense of self-disappointment and failure? In Marist’s holiday survey, nearly six in ten American adults considered the holiday season to be more stressful than fun. Is this yet another holiday tradition which ultimately stresses us out? It could be.
Mental note for 2012: resolve to stop over thinking.
Will Americans vow to make a change heading into 2011? A majority of U.S. residents — 56% — think it is not likely at all that they will make a New Year’s resolution this year while 44% believe it is at least somewhat likely that they will.
When Marist asked the same question last December, 52% did not plan to make a resolution for 2010 while 48% did.
Younger Americans are still among those who are most likely to make a resolution. 58% of those under the age of 45 say they will vow to improve an aspect of their life compared with 34% of those 45 and older. Last year, those proportions stood at 60% and 40%, respectively.
Men and women are currently on equal footing here. 44% of men and the same proportion of women — 44% — resolve to make a change.
Kicking the Smoking Habit Tops List of Resolutions… Losing Weight Follows
Among Americans who are likely to make a resolution, 17% say they want to quit smoking. 16% want to lose weight while 13% want to spend less money and save more. 10% plan to be a better person, and 8% say they are going to exercise more. 36% resolve to make another type of change.
Last year, weight loss topped the list of resolutions with 19%, and quitting smoking took the second place spot with 12%. Rounding out last year’s top five were exercising more which received 10%, being a better person with 9%, and getting a better job with 8%. Spending less came in seventh with 6%.
Men and women have different resolutions in mind this year. 22% of men who are likely to make a resolution plan to stop smoking while weight loss and spending less top the list for women who expect to make a resolution, each receiving 16%.
Age also comes into play. More than a quarter of those under the age of 30 — 27% — say they want to stop smoking. Weight loss (21%) and kicking the smoking habit (17%) top the list for those 30 to 44 years old. Those age 45 to 59 are on the same wavelength. 16% say they want to lose weight while 14% plan to stop smoking. Losing weight is also on the minds of 20% of those 60 and older.
True to Their Word?
But, will they keep their pledge? Of those who made a resolution last year, 60% report they kept their resolution for at least part of the year while 40% did not.
Six in Ten Optimistic About the Future
Americans maintain their optimism going into 2011. 60% are more optimistic about the world in 2011 while 38% are more pessimistic. Just 2% are unsure. In Marist’s December 2009 survey, 63% were more optimistic while 34% were more pessimistic. Three percent, at the time, were unsure.
Younger Americans are more optimistic about the future than are their older counterparts. 71% of those under 45 have a positive outlook compared with 53% of those 45 and older who share this view.
Nearly half of all Americans — 48% — say they are at least somewhat likely to make a New Year’s resolution this year. 52%, on the other hand, report it is not very likely at all.
The proportion of residents nationally who plan to wipe the slate clean has grown since last year. When Marist last asked Americans about New Year’s resolutions at this time in 2008, 40% said they were either somewhat likely or very likely to make a resolution.
There has been a change among men on this question. A majority of men — 53% — report they are at least somewhat likely to make a New Year’s resolution. Last year, 37% of men said they were planning to alter their habits. Women are consistent. 44% of women currently say they are going to make a change in 2010. The same proportion — 44% — made that pledge last year.
Looking at age, younger Americans are more likely to change their lifestyle compared with their elders. 60% of residents under the age of 45 say they are somewhat or very likely to make a resolution. 40% of those 45 and older believe they will do the same. In Marist’s 2008 poll about New Year’s resolutions, 55% of Americans younger than 45 years of age reported they were likely to make a vow to change while 29% of their elder counterparts said they were going to make the same promise.
Weight Loss Tips Scale of New Year’s Resolutions
Americans have health on their minds heading into 2010. The number-one New Year’s resolution is weight loss. 19% of residents who are likely to make a resolution vow to shed those extra pounds next year, and 12% plan to stop smoking. 10% say they want to exercise more. Other leading lifestyle changes include being a better person (9%) and getting a better job (8%).
Although weight loss tops the list of resolutions for both men and women who are resolved to make a change in the New Year, more women than men plan to fight the battle of the bulge. More than one-fifth of women — 22% — and 16% of men want to shed those extra pounds.
Older Americans reflect the top resolution of the overall population. About a quarter of residents age 45 or older who say they will likely make a resolution promise to lose weight. However, there is little agreement among their younger counterparts. 14% in this age group say they want to lose weight. 13% want to stop smoking, 12% resolve to get a better job, and 10% of these residents want to exercise more. 7% would like to be a better person.
Keeping Their Word?
33% of Americans recall making a New Year’s resolution last year, but how successful were they? Of those residents, 65% said they kept their promise for at least part of the year while 35% did not. Men were more steadfast than were women. 70% of men kept their resolution for at least part of 2009. This compares with 59% of women.
Dedication has grown among Americans who have previously made a resolution. While 65% of residents kept their resolution for 2009, 60% did so in 2008.
Optimism Among Americans Grows
Looking ahead to the next decade, more than six in ten Americans have a positive outlook about the future. 63% say they are more optimistic heading into 2010 while 34% say they are more pessimistic. When Marist last asked this question in December 2008, 56% of residents had a positive outlook toward the future. 40%, however, had a more dismal view.
Although men and women maintain a similar outlook about the future, optimism among men has grown. Currently, 65% of women and 61% of men believe the future is a bright one. Last year, 62% of women and 50% of men thought that way.
Younger Americans are also more positive about the future compared with their elders. 72% of those under 45 years old are optimistic about 2010 compared with 57% of those 45 and older. A year ago, 64% of those under 45 and 52% of those who are older held a positive outlook for the year to come.
While a notable number of Americans plan to make a New Year’s resolution this year, a majority — 60% — say it is not likely at all that they will pledge to change in 2009. That’s compared with 40% who report it’s very likely or somewhat likely they will turn over a new leaf. Those results are mostly unchanged from last year. Slightly more women than men are likely to adjust their way of life. 44% of women versus 37% of men say there’s a good chance they will make a New Year’s resolution this year. Compared with last year, though, the number of women wanting to revamp an aspect of their life drops from 49%.
This New Year Americans resolve to begin anew. Many Americans intend to turn over a new leaf this January. This New Year’s goals include losing weight, kicking the cigarette habit, being a better person, or spending less money in 2008. One in five women would like to lose weight and 18% of men want to quit smoking.
Improving habits and health are goals for people resolving to make a fresh start in the New Year. Many Americans hope to kick the smoking habit, spend less money, lose weight, exercise more, and look for that better job in 2005.
Finding a better job and just trying to be a better person top the list for people who intend to make a New Year’s resolution this year. Other major goals for 2004 are to lose weight, to stop smoking, and to spend less money.