19 Mind-Blowing New Year’s Resolution Statistics (2023)

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The New Year’s resolution statistics don’t lie…

Every year, millions of people set New Year’s resolutions – and many give up on them within the first week. 

So, how effective are New Year’s resolutions? 

And what do the people that set goals and achieve them do differently from everyone else?

With those questions in mind, I started researching.

Let’s dive in!

Summary of the key findings

  • 38,5% of US adults set New Year’s resolutions every year.
  • 59% of young adults (18-34) have New Year’s resolutions, which makes it the largest demographic that sets these goals.
  • 48% want to exercise more, making it the most popular New Year’s resolution. The top 3 are all health-related.
  • 23% quit in the first week, and only 36% make it past the first month.
  • 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions.

Research Methodology

I’ve analyzed every piece about New Year’s resolution statistics I could get my hands on. And I’ve compiled the most mind-blowing and credible findings into this article.

Note that most New Year’s resolution statistics originate from research in the US. However, I will mention in the findings below if the research subjects originate from another country.

Where do New Year’s resolutions come from?

Akitu New Years festival in Mesopotamia

The Babylonians made the first New Year’s resolutions about 4.000 years ago. Not on the first of January but in mid-March when they celebrated the spring harvest of barley, a 12-day festival called Akitu.

How many people make New Year’s resolutions?

Every year, 38,5% of US adults set New Year’s resolutions. Age predicts one’s likelihood of having at least one resolution, with younger adults being the most likely group to have such goals.

  • 38,5% of U.S. adults set New Year’s resolutions yearly, based on the average of five different studies over the past years.
  • 52,6% focus on one New Year’s Resolution, whereas the other 47,4% sets multiple ones.
  • 59% of young adults (18-34) have NY resolutions, making them the largest demographic with New Year’s resolutions.
  • People over 55 are 3,1 times less likely to have resolutions compared to younger adults. The older someone becomes, the less likely they will have New Year’s resolutions. 
  • 54% of parents with children have New Year’s resolutions, which is 1,6 times more than those who don’t have kids.
How many people make New Years resolutions-n

What are common New Year’s resolutions?

Health-related topics are the most common New Year’s resolutions among all genders. Exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight are the top 3 New Year’s resolutions overall.

  • 48% want to exercise more, making it the most popular New Year’s resolution.
  • Health-related resolutions cover the top 3, and a Swiss study found that 70% of all resolutions relate to physical health.
  • Men and women share the same top 4 most popular New Year’s resolutions, according to a study under Brits. 
  • Women focus slightly more on health-related topics than men in the UK, specifically regarding losing weight (44% vs 34%).
  • Men focus more on pursuing their career ambition (23%) or cutting down on drinking (19%) compared to women in the UK (16% and 11%, respectively).
  • COVID-19 impacted the type of resolutions for 75% of people who set them. After COVID-19, they focused more on mental health, eating healthier, and their finances.
What are common New Years resolutions

How long do New Year’s resolutions last?

43% of all people expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year’s resolution. Most people quit before the end of January, and only 9% see their resolutions through until succession.

  • 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions.
  • 23% of people quit by the end of the first week, 64% after the first month (according to a study with Australian and UK citizens), and 81% before the end of the second year.
  • Most people quit on the second Friday of the month, according to Strava, a Running and Cycling tracking app. They named this day “Quitters Day”.
  • 43% of people expect to give up on their goals by February, which explains the relatively high quitting rate in January.
How long New Years resolutions last

Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?

New Year’s resolutions fail primarily due to timing. Most people are not ready to commit to their resolutions and give up because they either lose motivation, have not prioritized their goals, or swap their resolutions for newer, more relevant personal goals.

  • 35% of people attribute losing motivation as the top reason for giving up, followed by being too busy (19%) and changing their goals and priorities (18%).
  • The main reason why people fail is the timing of New Year’s resolutions. While people want to achieve change, they have yet to be ready to commit fully.
  • Successful individuals reported more stimulus control and willpower. Social support and interpersonal strategies became important after the first six months of pursuing the goal.
  • Successful individuals are likely to experience 14 slip-ups during a 2-year interval, indicating that resilience or the ability to bounce back from setbacks is essential for goal success.
Why do New Years resolutions fail

How to keep your New Year’s resolutions?

Research shows that the best moment to start is whenever you are ready to commit to your goals. In other words, choose the most relevant and timely New Year’s resolutions.

If you have a New Year’s resolution that you want to pursue but feel unprepared for, make the goal smaller. For example, instead of setting a resolution to change your entire diet, start by changing what you eat for breakfast. 

Expert-cited tips to achieve your goals include:

  • Deeply understand why you want to change. What’s your big motivation? Why is it now necessary to change?
  • Set specific and challenging long-term goals (if you feel ready).
  • Consistently set small and realistic short-term goals.
  • Consider an accountability partner. Is a family member or friend pursuing similar goals who want to join you? Alternatively, find like-minded people online with the same goals.
  • Improve your sleeping schedule. That includes consistent waking and bedtimes and getting plenty of quality sleep every night. It may surprise you just how much sleep impacts goal success.

Good luck!

Summary

New Year’s resolutions date back 4,000 years to the Babylonians, who celebrated their first barley harvest. 

But those resolutions are still prevalent in modern times, with 38.5% of US adults setting resolutions every year. The three most popular goals relate to health; exercising more, eating healthier, and losing weight. 

Unfortunately, 43% of people expect to fail before February, and a mind-blowing 23% do so in the first week. The main reason seems to be the timing of New Year’s resolutions – people aren’t ready to commit yet.

The secret to becoming part of the 9% that succeed? Only set New Year’s resolutions that are highly relevant, timely, and specific to you.

Let’s improve these New Year’s resolution statistics!

Achieve your New Year’s resolutions

Success comes down to two things. 

The first step is acquiring knowledge in your specific area of interest and the tools to achieve self-mastery. Second, your ability to apply that knowledge and turn it into wisdom.

If you want to master those areas and create a more meaningful life without sacrificing joy, sign up below and grab your free guide to get started!

Hi, my name is Mick and I’m on a mission to inspire people like you to unleash their full potential and create a more meaningful life!

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