Special Report

11 Most Popular New Year's Resolutions

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As 2017 draws to a close and a new year begins, tens of millions of Americans will use this time to reflect on the last 12 months and take stock of their lives. For many, a new year symbolizes a fresh start — a chance to take up new hobbies, eliminate some bad habits, or reexamine life’s priorities.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed survey data from Statistic Brain, a survey based research institute, to identify the most popular New Year’s resolutions going into 2018. Resolutions that pertain to education and money are most common. Also common are those that relate to weight loss and romantic relationships.

According to this survey, some 132.5 million Americans usually make a New Year’s resolution — or about 41% of the population. While Americans are more likely to make a New Year’s resolution than vote in a midterm election, few have the resolve to actually see their resolution through. New Year’s resolution success rates hover just above 9% — and over 40% of those who make a resolution will give up before the end of January.

The low success rates should not be surprising as many of the most common New Year’s resolutions are exceedingly ambitious. For example, many ex-smokers cite kicking the habit as the most difficult thing they have ever done. Yet, this year, about 7% of Americans have resolved to give up smoking in 2018 — more than one-third of the total adult smoking population. Similarly, 4.3% of Americans have resolved to meet the love of their life in 2018, with an apparent disregard for the fact that such a feat is largely out of their control.

Click here to see the most popular New Year’s resolutions.

To identify the most popular New Year’s resolutions, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed survey data on the subject provided by Statistic Brain, a survey-based research institute. Data is based on research conducted this year through both online surveys and direct mail questionnaires with a minimum sample size of 4,000 respondents.

Supplementary data in the bullets came from a range of sources. Physical inactivity, smoking, and obesity rates were sourced from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. Marriage rates and school enrollment were sourced from 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Workplace engagement, positive relationships, overall well-being, and interest level in activities on a weekly basis were all sourced from various Gallup surveys. The annual volunteer rate came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and average credit card debt among American families was sourced from the Federal Reserve System.


11. Find a better job
> Pct. of respondents: 4.1%
> U.S. employees actively engaged at work: 32.0%


10. Find the love of my life
> Pct. of respondents: 4.3%
> Adults (15+) who have never married: 33.7%

9. Do more good deeds for others
> Pct. of respondents: 5.2%
> Volunteer rate: 24.9%

8. Learn something new on my own
> Pct. of respondents: 5.3%
> Americans enrolled in school: 25.2%


7. Work out more often
> Pct. of respondents: 5.5%
> Physically inactive adults: 22.0%


6. Spend more time with family and close friends
> Pct. of respondents: 6.2%
> Americans deriving positivity from friends and family daily: 74.6%

5. Do more exciting things
> Pct. of respondents: 6.3%
> U.S. adults w/ little interest in doing things: 41.1%

4. Quit smoking
> Pct. of respondents: 7.1%
> U.S. adult smoking rate: 18.0%


3. Make better financial decisions
> Pct. of respondents: 8.5%
> Avg. credit card debt among U.S. families: $5,700


2. Life and self improvements
> Pct. of respondents: 12.3%
> Adults reporting high overall well-being: 61.5%

1. Eat healthier and lose weight
> Pct. of respondents: 21.4%
> U.S. obesity rate: 28.0%

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