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Top New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them

new year's resolutions

As the year ends, many people look forward to thinking about a New Year’s resolution and planning how to keep it.

Research shows that an astounding 80% of people do not ultimately stick with their New Year’s resolution. Most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by January 17th, as most people have already lost their motivation to keep pursuing their goals. However, a small percentage of people make it through to February, and an even smaller percentage see their resolutions through to the end.

Never really given much thought to New Year’s resolutions? With 2020 winding down – there’s never been a better time to start planning.

Why Do People Make New Year’s Resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions are a series of commitments that people make each year. It is a long-standing tradition to start the new year with a new set of priorities and aspirations for the year ahead.

Goal setting is important. The habit of breaking down a vision into a yearly plan or goal can help move individuals in a specific direction and help them to see the progress to keep them moving forward.

Top 10 Most Popular Resolutions

Many individuals make it a habit to make New Year’s resolutions to welcome the year. Here are the top 10 most popular commitments that people make.

1. Lose Weight

Losing weight is one of the most popular resolutions. Getting fit or eating healthy are the common phrases you would likely hear from most individuals.

2. Improve Finances

Saving money is always one of the top five New Year’s resolutions. In these scenarios, individuals often commit to earning more money, paying back their debts, or spending less.

3. Work Harder

Working hard is another popular New Year’s resolution. This commitment to performing better at their job can help with getting a promotion they’ve been wanting or simply just more recognition at work.

4. Spend More Time with Family

Spending more time with family can be essential to your mental and physical well-being. It often nurtures relationships and builds strong bonds. To preserve good ties between family members, committing to quality time with the family is a traditional New Year’s resolution.

5. Quit a Bad Habit

Breaking away from a bad habit, like smoking, is no easy feat. If you’re committing to quitting a bad habit, you’ll want to make sure you have a strong support system surrounding you to help you see this goal through.

6. Travel

Traveling is a popular resolution for the New Year.  While traveling is a lot more difficult during COVID-19, studies have shown that experiences tend to make people happier than those who choose material objects.

7. Spend Time on Yourself

Many individuals get caught up in work, studies, and family obligations, making it almost impossible to find time for themselves. To overcome stress and have the energy to accomplish other goals, planning “me” time throughout your week can be essential.

8. Eat Healthily

Surveys show that 71% of individuals who set New Year’s resolutions put diet or eating healthy food as one of the top 10 resolutions they intend to accomplish each year.

9. Get A Job

For those who have been out of work or looking for new opportunities, the new year symbolizes hope as they greet the year with new possibilities and career opportunities. Whether it’s getting a job or working your way up the ladder – new jobs are another standard New Year’s resolution.

10. Learn A Skill

According to research, 26% of individuals shared that they wish to learn a new skill or hobby in the upcoming year. The top skills people aim to learn each year include:

  • Drawing
  • Playing the guitar
  • Photography

Why Most People Don’t Keep Their Resolutions

Approximately 50% of the U.S. adult population creates a New Year’s resolution. However, the U.S. and World Report, says 80% of those with resolutions end up not fulfilling them.

Many people think that the non-accomplishment of resolutions is due to a lack of discipline. However, several reasons can explain why people fail to keep resolutions.

Unrealistic Goals

Be realistic – objectively assess your situation and set goals accordingly. Unrealistic resolutions may also lead you to compromise your other life goals.

Non-Specific Goals

Having a non-specific goal like  “losing weight” can easily cause you to lose focus. You can lose 1 or 2 pounds and say you have ticked off your resolution, but doing so may circumvent your goal.

Plan your goals in a specific manner. For instance, you want to lose 2 pounds a month for a total loss of 24 pounds in 2021, or you want to save $200 every month so that you can have saved $2,400 by the end of 2021.

Lack of Monitoring

Writing down your New Year’s resolutions is a great method to help you commit to them. Regularly keeping track of your progress allows you to follow them through completion. For instance, if you want to save $10,000, you must keep track of your deposits and expenses to avoid losing focus.


Feeling excited about accomplishing goals in the first three months of the year is understandable. Excitement is good, but be cautious not to let it drive you to push too hard or set too many goals. Some resolutions do take time. For example, quitting smoking may lead to suffering from nicotine withdrawal, which could make accomplishing the goal more difficult.

Lack of Purpose

It is easy to claim that you need to cut your carbohydrate intake or reduce your monthly expenses. However, you may want to ask yourself, “What is my purpose?” Having a clearly defined purpose behind a goal makes it easier to accomplish.

If you want to follow through with your New Year’s resolutions until completion, there is a simple method you can follow. Quantify your realistic goals, write them down, and monitor your progress. Above all, know your purpose. When faced with temptations, you can always go back to your purpose to draw encouragement.

What to Do If You Break Your Resolution

While you hope for a positive outcome, you must also prepare yourself for consequences. How do you deal with failed resolutions?

Avoid blaming yourself or others, as it is counterproductive. Accept that you have broken your resolution, then move forward. Afterall, you may be half-way through your $10,000 savings goal by December 31st, despite missing a few installments.Instead of being discouraged, assess the situation, and use it to try harder the next time you set out to accomplish this goal. Ask yourself what you did wrong to avoid falling into the same trap in the future.

More importantly, do not be too hard on yourself. When you fail to deposit in your bank account this month due to a health emergency, you can compensate for it next month or the month after. By the end of the year, being a thousand dollars short of your savings goal or 10 pounds short of your weight loss goal is still better than having no progress at all.

This is where tracking progress towards accomplishing your goals comes into play and can be effective. When you notice you are falling behind your goals by mid-year, you still have time to improve the situation and even fast-track your progress.

You do not want your resolutions to cause mental distress. Strive to accomplish your goals – financial, health, physical, or social, but honor your pace and celebrate small wins.

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The information provided in this article does not constitute financial advice and is provided for educational purposes only without any express or implied warranty of any kind. This article is not intended as legal, tax, investment, or any other advice, and Mariner Finance does not offer credit repair services. Consider talking with an appropriate qualified professional for specific advice. Blog posts are for informational purposes only.