12/28: Majority Not Likely to Make New Year’s Resolutions

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.



Click Here for Complete December 28, 2010 USA Poll Release and Tables

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.

Table: Likelihood of Making Resolution
Table: Likelihood of Making Resolution (Over Time)

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Click on the table to enlarge the image.

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.

Table: Top New Year’s Resolutions
Table: Complete List of New Year’s Resolutions

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.

Table: Kept 2010 Resolution?
Table: Kept Resolution? (Over Time)

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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.

Table: Optimism for the Future

Marist Poll Methodology