The new year is upon us—and that means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions! Every year, we hear about the most common resolutions (eat better, get fit, save money, drink more water) and how few people actually achieve them. We even have a term for the phenomenon: broken resolutions.
If you’re anything like us, your New Year’s resolutions will be broken within the first couple of weeks. But don’t despair, we’ve got you covered. Here are some great statistics to make you feel better about giving up on your resolution by mid-January.
We’re so excited to kick off the new year with a list of New Year’s resolutions statistics that will knock your socks off. We’ve done the research and compiled this list of data points that you’ll want to keep in mind as you move forward in 2023.
Not only will you see the common patterns in New Year’s resolutions, but you’ll also learn some fun facts to help you make your own goals this year.
Who Makes New Year’s Resolutions?
1. 16% of Britons said they would make a New Year’s resolution in 2021
The number of people committing to New Year’s resolutions in Britain is low, but increasing, according to a study conducted by YouGov. The report found only around 16% of Britons said they would be making a New Year’s Resolution going into 2022, compared to around 11% who said they made a resolution in 2020.
Younger people were more likely to make New Year’s Resolutions, according to the report, with around 32% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 saying they would do so, compared to only 10% of people over the age of 55.
2. 39% of US adults made New Year’s Resolutions for 2022
(Global Consumer Survey – Statista)
According to the Global Consumer Survey conducted by Statista for 2022, around 39% of American adults made New Year’s resolutions for 2022.
The report found that many of the people making resolutions were focusing on exercising more and eating healthier, but a handful had started to focus on more modern resolutions, like “spending less time on social media” (21%) and reducing the amount of stress they experienced at work (21%).
3. Younger Americans are more likely to make New Year’s resolutions
A poll conducted by YouGov America, and the Economist found around 1 in four Americans were planning on making a New Year’s resolution for 2022. Around 23% of adult citizens said they were planning on making a resolution in total, but numbers were much higher among younger Americans.
40% of people under the age of 30 said they were going to be making New Year’s resolutions for 2022, compared to only 14% of people over the age of 65.
4. Fewer Americans said they would make a resolution in 2022 than in 2021
According to a poll conducted by CBS News, the number of Americans planning on making New Year’s resolutions in 2022 dropped drastically compared to 2021.
Around 29% of the total respondents said they were thinking of making a New Year’s resolution for 2022, compared to 43% for 2021, and 42% for 2020.
Around 26% of Americans said they were discouraged from making a New Year’s resolution, potentially due to the unpredictable nature of the world at the time.
5. 20% of Americans focus on one goal at a time
According to a poll by Ipsos and Urban Plates, around two in five Americans said they had a resolution planned for 2021. Of those planning their New Year’s resolutions, 20% of respondents said they were focusing on a single goal, while 18% said they had multiple goals.
The most likely people to have a resolution planned for 2021 were younger adults. 59% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 said they had a resolution, compared to around 19% of people over the age of 55. Additionally, it was more common to have a resolution if you had children. Approximately 54% of people with children living at home made a resolution compared to 33% of those with no children at home.
Those who had a resolution in 2020 were also more likely to set one in 2021. 86% of people who had a resolution in 2020 also carried their resolution over into 2021, while 11% of people who didn’t have a resolution set one for 2021.
What are the Most Common New Year’s Resolutions?
6. Improving health is the main theme of resolutions in the UK
A YouGov study at the end of 2021 found health was the most common theme among New Year’s Resolutions for all those considering making one. For the third year in a row, Britons focused on things like improving their fitness or exercising more (49%).
Around 41% of people in the study said they wanted to commit to improving their nutrition and diet, while 40% want to specifically lose weight. Women were more likely to focus on weight loss than men, at 44% compared to 34%.
Around 39% of people said they wanted to put more money into their savings in the years ahead, while 19% said they wanted to pursue a new career.
7. About 50% of Americans made resolutions about getting in shape in 2021
According to the Statista’s Research Department, around 50% of Americans said they wanted to do more exercise and get in better shape for 2021. This was followed up by around 43.8% of Americans who said they wanted to lose weight.
Underneath the top themes of losing weight and becoming fitter, Americans prioritized things like saving more money (44%) and improving their diet (39%). Around 21% of Americans said they wanted to pursue a career ambition in the year ahead, while 18% went the other direction and said they wanted to spend more time with their family.
8. Women are more likely to make resolutions to live healthier
In a YouGov poll on Americans planning to make New Year’s resolutions in 2022, researchers discovered around a quarter of all participants were planning on resolving to live healthier. Notably, men and women were equally likely to say they had resolved to lose weight, while women were more likely to say they wanted to live healthier overall (28% compared to 18%).
Around 4 in 5 Americans n the study also said they were confident they would be able to stick to those goals, and around 57% said they believed their lives would be better in 2022 than in 2021.
9. 58% of Americans plan to make small changes with resolutions
A study conducted by OPTAVIA and reported by Medifast found around 49% of resolutions still focused on factors like improving financial health, while other common resolutions looked at improving holistic wellness (46%), and improving body positivity (43%).
However, to combat previous failures, around 58% of Americans were planning on incorporating small changes into their daily lives, rather than making huge changes immediately.
Around 42% said they were going to celebrate more small victories in their lives, and 49% claimed they would be setting goals to build healthier habits. 66% of the respondents in the study said they were focusing on losing weight through daily lifestyle changes rather than short-term diets.
10. The pandemic had an impact on New Year’s Resolutions for 2021
According to a poll by Ipsos and Urban Plates, the pandemic had a significant impact on which resolution they chose. 29% of the respondents in the study said the pandemic caused them to focus more on mental health. 28% said the events made them focus more on eating healthier, while 27% said the pandemic caused them to focus on more financial goals.
A total of 23% of respondents said the pandemic made them concentrate on other health-related goals, like quitting smoking, reducing their alcohol intake, or getting more sleep. Only 27% of respondents said the pandemic had no impact on their resolutions.
11. 74% of Americans said they wanted to make lasting positive changes in 2022
(N!CKS and One Poll)
A survey conducted by One Poll and commissioned by N!CK’S, found around 75% of people said they were less concerned about fulfilling typical New Year’s resolutions.
69% said they’re less focused on making major lifestyle changes, and are more concerned about ensuring long-term happiness. Around 74% of respondents said they wanted to make long-lasting positive changes to their lifestyle in 2022, which would make them happier.
79% of respondents said they wanted to make changes for 2022 that were good for both their health and happiness.
How Successful Are We at Keeping New Year’s Resolutions?
12. Around 75% of people keep a New Year’s Resolution for at least 1 week
(John C Norcross)
The Chair of Psychology at Scranton, Professor John C Norcross has produced numerous studies over the years discussing the nature of New Year’s resolutions and the science behind them.
Across various studies between the years of 1978 and 2020, Norcross found around 75% of people are successful at maintaining their New Year’s resolutions for 1 week. After two weeks, the number of people capable of maintaining their resolutions drops to around 71%, while after a month, the number plummets to 64%.
By the time 6 months have passed, fewer than half of all people (46%) will still be keeping their New Year’s resolution.
13. 31% of UK citizens say they’ve kept their resolutions for 2021
According to YouGov’s study at the end of 2021, around 31% of people who made New Year’s resolutions for 2021 were successful in sticking to those resolutions for the full year. Men were more likely to claim they had kept all of their resolutions than women, at around 38% compared to 26%.
Approximately 44% of the people in the study said that while they didn’t keep all of their resolutions, they were able to stick to some of them.
Around 19% of people said they didn’t keep any of the resolutions they made this year, balancing at around 15% of men, and 22% of women.
14. January 19th is the day you’re most likely to give up on a resolution
Using research into over 98.3 million user-logged activities, the Strava fitness app discovered people were most likely to give up on their resolutions entirely on January 19th. Strava now officially refers to this day in its marketing as “Quitter’s day”.
15. 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February
(US News Report)
According to a report by US News, around 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the time we reach February. According to the report, there are a number of reasons why we don’t follow through with New Year’s resolutions, including a lack of motivation, or inability to use self-discipline.
The US News Report team recommends strategies like developing critical awareness and starting with smaller goals to improve your chances of success.
16. Only 10% of US adults stick with their resolutions
A study conducted by OPTAVIA and reported by Medifast Inc found only 10% of American adults actually stick to their New Year’s resolutions as of 2021, and around 47% of all resolutions are broken in the first month of the new year.
The report also found the number of people setting resolutions decreased drastically, moving from around 50% of the respondents in 2021 to approximately 44% in 2022.
According to the report, the primary reason people gave for failing to reach their goals was a lack of motivation, at around 48%. Other common reasons included lack of a plan at 30% and limited support at 22%.
17. 55% of Americans don’t keep resolutions for a full year
A poll by Ipsos and Urban Plates found around 55% of people who make a resolution didn’t keep to their promise for the full year. 11% of people answering the survey in total said they kept to their resolutions for less than one month.
Another 45% of respondents in the study said they were still working on their resolutions at the time of the study, or had reached their goals already. The people who said they were still working on or had achieved their goals were more likely to be older, with 61% over the age of 55.
Lack of motivation was the main reason not to carry on with a resolution (35%), though some respondents said they were too busy (19%) or they changed their mind about what they wanted to achieve (18%).
18. Only 35% of people believe they’ll achieve their goals
(N!CKS and One Poll)
A survey of 2000 American adults commissioned by N!CKS and conducted by One Poll found only 25% of people believe they’ll achieve some of their goals, and 4% don’t believe they’ll be successful with any.
For the people who didn’t expect to reach their targets, February 4th was considered to be the most likely day when they’d give up on all their goals.
When asked why they felt it was so hard to stick to a resolution, 42% said they struggled to give up something they enjoyed, and another 42% said they thought they had been overly ambitious with their goal setting. 38% claimed they didn’t have a good support system to cheer them on, and 37% said they set too many goals.
19. Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals
A large-scale study into which New Year’s Resolutions were likely to lead to more successful results than others found participants setting approach-oriented goals were more likely to achieve their targets.
Approach-oriented goals involve aiming for something, rather than trying to avoid something. For instance, you would aim to lose five pounds, rather than aiming to avoid sugar.
58.9% of the people who used approach-oriented goals achieved their targets and stuck to their goals for the year, compared to 47.1% of people with avoidance-oriented goals.
20. Americans are more likely to achieve New Year’s Resolutions post-pandemic
A study conducted by Fidelity found 84% of respondents learned to “let go” of worrying about things they couldn’t control during the pandemic, and improved their focus on achieving smaller personal goals.
The percentage of respondents who said they stuck to their New Year’s Resolution as a result of the mindset change in 2021 was 71%, compared to 58% in 2020.
So: The odds are against you.
The thing is, if you make it to February, the chances of you making it through the year are much better.
Keep going, even if it’s hard. And if you need help, we’ve got your back! We’re here to support you every step of the way.
It’s been great digging into the data about New Year’s Resolutions with all of you, and we hope that you’ve seen some interesting data that’s made you think. Hopefully, you’ll keep these numbers in mind as the new year approaches and you make your New Year’s resolutions.
You can also use this data to create a New Year’s resolution of your own: Be there for someone who needs help keeping their resolution! OR maybe even make it your goal to help them achieve their goals.
Just remember: You can inspire someone else by talking about what you do to reach your goals. The struggle is real and sharing it makes the journey less lonely!
So go on—make this the best year yet!