The Most Common New Year’s Resolutions

  • 25-percent of Americans set New Year’s Resolutions and 8-percent actually accomplish them.
  • Exercising, losing weight, quitting smoking, saving money, learning a new skill, traveling, reading, relationships, and drinking less alcohol are among the most common resolutions.
  • The key to achieving your resolutions is by setting specific, realistic, and attainable goals that you can track.

The end of the year is a time for reflection. It’s when most of us reminisce about the year gone by and look ahead to a future full of limitless possibilities. About a quarter of Americans do more than just reflect. 25-percent of us head into the first week of January with New Year’s Resolutions and the determination to do things differently.

We share a lot of the same goals too. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the most common New Year’s Resolutions. We’ll also take some time at the end of this article to share a few tips on how to achieve your goals to help you be one of the 8-percent that actually accomplish them.

Get More Exercise

The global fitness club industry is valued at over $87 billion dollars, and those figures don’t even include the billions spent on at-home exercise gear, online classes, and apparel. We can always exercise more, which is why it makes for such a popular resolution.

Medical professionals recommend at least 150-minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75-minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, and strength training twice a week.

Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps a person can take to improve their overall health. Quitting can lengthen your life expectancy, decrease your risk of certain diseases, save you a ton of money, and a lot more.

Kicking smoking once and for all is also incredibly difficult. Nicotine withdrawal can cause irritation, an inability to sleep, and weight gain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that it takes between 8 and 11 attempts before a smoker permanently quits, so don’t be discouraged if the first few times don’t stick.

Save More Money

Modern life dictates that we spend the vast majority of our time earning, spending, talking, and thinking about money. The green stuff dominates our New Year’s Resolution lists too.

Just like hitting the gym more often, we could all benefit from saving more money. Whether you plan on cutting more coupons or spending less at the nail salon, it’s always important to first establish a concrete plan. But more on that later.

Learn a New Skill

Picking up a new instrument, learning a new language, or seeking professional development is another popular end-of-year aspiration.

The key to approaching a new educational pursuit is crafting a personalized approach. If you’re motivated by accountability, enroll in a class. If you perform more effectively when learning on your own, develop a plan to revisit your studies every week.

Travel More

Not all New Year’s Resolutions need to be a drag. Maybe you’re looking to squeeze more fun out of your life, see new things, meet new people, and generally mix things up.

A lot of Americans feel the same way, which is why setting out to travel more is such a popular goal. You don’t have to let your finances hold you back either. Visiting neighboring towns, even just for the day, can be just as rewarding.

Lose Weight

Commonly partnered with “exercise more,” the desire to lose some weight in the new year is a resolution staple. Maybe it has something to do with all that holiday turkey. In any case, losing weight doesn’t always require a health club membership.

In fact, much of the work comes in the kitchen. Ditching unhealthy food, using smaller plates, and weighing out ingredients can do a lot to lower the number on your scale.

Read More

Reading reduces stress, expands your vocabulary, exercises your brain, and increases your creativity. It’s an honorable goal but still one that gives most of us a lot of trouble.

The real trick to reading more is selecting a book that genuinely excites you. Don’t start out with centuries-old literary epics if that’s not your thing. You should also never be afraid to leave a book unfinished. Moving on to something more exciting is just more fun than fighting through something dull.

Friends and Family

It can be easy to get lost inside your daily routine at the cost of your relationships. Building strong bonds takes work, attention, and time. Maintaining an active social life isn’t without its positive health benefits either. Not only does it help keep feelings of loneliness and isolation at bay, but it can also reduce stress, and keep your mind sharp.

It’s also important to remember that you can’t do everything for everyone, or always be available. Finding the balance that works for you is the key to making this resolution stick.

Drink Less

You don’t have to be a habitual drinker to want to drink less. Cutting back on alcohol consumption is always a good thing. Building a new you that drinks less can be done in a variety of ways too.

Try journaling your drinks, set concrete limits, or designate drink-free days every week. Having a friend or partner to share the journey with may help too.

Resolution Tip: Be Specific

It’s one thing to make a resolution, but actually seeing it through requires a plan. Be specific with what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Generalized ambitions like “losing weight” or “drinking less” are great, but don’t tell you much.

Instead, be as specific as possible by establishing a goal weight, or a weekly reading page count quota. Ground your goals in a variety of simple, daily, or weekly tasks so that the desired end result doesn’t feel so daunting.

Resolution Tip: Make Sure It Matters

It may seem self-evident, but you’d be surprised how many people base their resolutions on what they think others expect of them. As such, they lack the internal push to see them through to completion.

When making your resolution, be sure to do it because it’s something that matters to you. It’s far easier to focus one’s energy on something that one cares about, so harness your inner passion by pointing it directly at something you deeply care about.

Resolution Tip: Make It Realistic

We’d all love to clear a billion dollars before the end of the year, but that’s about as realistic as winning the lottery. All goals must be attainable.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that your resolution should be easy. It can be important to push yourself. Only you know how far you’re willing to stretch, so be mindful of your time, energy, and willpower, and set a resolution that you can realistically accomplish.

Resolution Tip: Establish a Timeline

There is a lot to consider when setting out new things to strive for. Realism is important, as is passion, but in order to see a resolution through to the end, there has to be an end.

“Getting healthier” might be a lifelong journey, but tracking progress and process through date-specific benchmarks is the only way most of us are able to remain focused and stay on track. Timelines also create urgency, which may help keep you motivated.

The Takeaway

New Year’s Day may come and go, but the changes that it inspires you to make may indeed endure. Knowing what you want is the first step, but knowing how to get there is important too. So zero in on what you want, ensure it’s realistic, establish a timeline, and get after it!

And don’t stress too much if this year isn’t the year that you start that new business. The important thing is that you never stop self-reflecting, and find subtle ways to make your life, and the life of those around you, just a little bit better every day.

Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Chris is a Canadian who loves ice-hockey, espresso, and really long books. He’s an early riser that relies on a combination of meditation, yoga, indoor cycling, and long walks to keep fit. Chris is also a multi-platform content creator with a portfolio that includes terrestrial radio, television, the written word, and YouTube. For more content, check out his podcast, “Black Sheep Radio,” or follow @notTHATcb on Twitter and Instagram