New Year’s Resolutions: Statistics, Fun Facts, and Tips for Making Them Stick

Posted by Chad Birt on Jan 5, 2021 8:00:00 AM
Chad Birt

New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect, celebrate, and look forward to what the future holds. It also presents an opportunity to set goals that you hope to achieve in the months ahead.


New Year’s resolutions are resoundingly popular. One study by the University of Scranton found that about 50% of adults set them. 


Resolutions are easy to make, but difficult to achieve. Change is hard and many people revert to old habits within a few days or weeks. It’s no wonder 80% of resolutions fail.


As a functional service provider (FSP), we regularly assist companies with clinical trials. Because statistics and data analysis help shed light on the path to successful outcomes, we thought it would be fun to highlight some facts about New Year’s resolutions and provide some tips for achieving them. 


Interesting statistics about New Year’s resolutions


In September 2020, commissioned a survey of U.S.-based adults. They asked various questions about New Year’s resolutions. Here are a few of the highlights:


On setting resolutions. About 14.1 million Americans have already decided on one or more resolutions for 2021. Another quarter of the population (25.98%) plans on starting the new year resolution-free. 


Resolutions by gender. Men and women are equally as likely to set resolutions. About 73% of men and 74% of women have at least one resolution in mind.


Setting resolutions tends to decline with age. 88% of millennials and 91% of Gen Zers say they’ll make a New Year’s resolution. Whereas 78% of Gen Xers and 60% of Baby Boomers say they’ll do the same. Of all demographics, The Silent Generation is least interested, with only 46% saying they’ll set a resolution.


A look at the most popular New Year’s resolutions


New Year’s resolutions are very personal. Some people want to quit smoking or lose weight, while others hope to make more money, land a promotion, or find a new job. Most resolutions fall into one of six categories:


  • Health
  • Self-improvement
  • Money
  • Family
  • Love
  • Career’s resolution survey found that 74% of Americans want to learn something new, make a lifestyle change, or better themselves in the coming year. That’s a 5% increase from 2019 when only 69% of those surveyed said the same. 


Optimist or pessimist - How mindset influences New Year’s resolutions


Of those surveyed, 12% believe their resolution is out of reach or impossible to obtain. Another 13% said they believe their resolution is attainable, but they aren’t sure if they can follow through. This data suggests that a small group of people set resolutions that are too far out of reach right from the start. Others don't create a plan breaking down their goals into actions and likely lose motivation because the goal seems overwhelming.


Even after a trying year, optimists far outweigh the pessimists. 74% of respondents said achieving their resolution isn’t just possible, it’s guaranteed. Those who are the most successful likely set resolutions that they can visualize themselves accomplishing, and they have a plan breaking down their goals into smaller, achievable actions.


Younger respondents have hope and optimism on their side, while older respondents might be feeling held back by past failures. 78% of Millennials and 84% of Gen Zers said they’ll achieve their resolutions, while only 69% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers reported the same.


Popular excuses for failed resolutions


There are various factors people attribute to failed resolutions, including:


  • Lack of willpower
  • Forgetfulness
  • Laziness
  • COVID-19


Sticking to your New Year’s resolutions requires willpower, focus, and time. Since these are all limited resources, success requires planning and realistic goals. 


Proven tips for achieving New Year’s resolutions


Here are a few suggestions that can help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions:


Be specific


It’s easy to set ambiguous goals like “exercise more,” “eat healthier,” or “lose weight.” While there’s nothing wrong with these intentions, it’s important to be specific. If you want to work out more frequently, choose a time and specific days of the week. Determine where you’ll work out and gather what’s needed the night before. The more organized and thought out your goal is, the more likely you are to follow through.


Start small


Changing your habits takes time and a concerted effort. It’s tempting to look at the big picture but to get there, you have to take one step at a time. You might have a goal of losing 30 pounds, but that won’t happen overnight. Break your goal down into manageable chunks. 


If you’re making big changes to your diet, try small shifts instead. Swap out indulgent snacks for healthier substitutes and replace sodas or other sugary beverages with water and lemon. Commit to one small change per week until they become habits. 


Even better, make your goal about actions, not outcomes. It’s important to feel successful on a daily basis. We can’t always predict the results of our work, but overshooting what we imagine is possible can sabotage what we’re actually achieving. Smaller, measurable outcomes can elevate your mindset and give you small wins to celebrate.


Build a support system


Setting and achieving your New Year’s resolution requires dedication as well as physical and mental energy. Instead of doing everything on your own, partner up with a friend or family member who can hold you accountable. It might sound silly, but the buddy system works. One study even found that people who told their friends about their goals were more likely to achieve them compared to those who didn’t.


Now that you know a little bit more about New Year’s resolutions and how to achieve them, we want to hear what yours are.  Submit a comment below and let us know. 


Good luck on achieving your goals in 2021 and Happy New Year from all of us at Harbor Clinical! 

Topics: new years, resolutions, 2021

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