Data Journalist

It’s that time of year again. 

As the clock struck 12:01 on January 1, many people resolved to make a change in their diet, exercise habits, or personal finances. Others are committed to improving their relationships, spending more time doing what they love, or learning something new.

According to a survey conducted in December 2019, nearly three in 10 (28%) Americans said that they plan to make New Year’s resolutions for 2020.

Among Americans who are making New Year’s resolutions, the most common ones are exercising more (50%), saving money (49%), eating more healthily (43%), and losing weight (37%). 

Other popular resolutions for 2020 are reducing stress (34%), getting more sleep (30%), sticking to a budget (30%), and focusing on spiritual growth (28%). A quarter (25%) of Americans are resolving to travel more, while an equal number have resolved to learn a new skill. 

For almost a quarter of Americans, 2020 will be all about improving their relationships: 24% have resolved to improve relations/spend more time with their family, while 24% also have resolved to improve their relationship with their partner. 

Nearly one in five say their resolution is to make more friends (19%). A similar number (18%) are resolving to spend more time volunteering in their community. 

Millennials are among the most likely to say they plan to make resolutions: 39% of this group has plans to do so, while 29% of Gen X’ers and 19% of Baby Boomers say the same.

Many millennials are turning an eye towards their personal finances in 2020: the most common resolution among this generation is to save money (55%). 

Most Americans, it seems, are optimistic about their ability to stick to their resolutions. 

Among those who are making 2020 resolutions, 29 percent are very confident they’ll be able to stick to them. Nearly half (48%) are somewhat confident. However, one in five is not very confident about sticking to their resolutions, and 2 percent are not at all confident. 


However, many Americans also admit that they haven’t had complete success with resolutions in the past. Just 7 percent of US adults say that they stuck to all of their 2019 resolutions. Meanwhile, 19 percent say that they were able to stick to some of their resolutions, though not all of them.

As the adage goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Many are taking a second go at their 2019 resolutions. 

Among US adults who made 2019 resolutions, and are also planning to make 2020 resolutions, 12 percent say their 2020 resolutions are identical to their 2019 ones. Almost two-thirds (64%) say that some of their new resolutions are repeats of their old ones, but they also have new resolutions this year. About one in five (21%) say that none of their 2020 resolutions are the same as their 2019 resolutions. 

Overall, Americans are optimistic about what 2020 could hold for them.

Roughly one in five (21%) says they believe life will be much better for them in 2020, compared to 2019. Another 27 percent expect their life in the upcoming year to be somewhat better. Just 12 percent say they think their life will be somewhat (7%) or much (5%) worse next year. Another 28 percent don’t anticipate that 2020 will be significantly better or worse.

See the full survey results and sign up to be a part of the YouGov panel. 

Related: From pets to presidents, here’s what we learned about America in 2019

Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,174 US adults, which included 332 US adults who intend to make New Year’s resolutions in 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (ages 18+). Interviews were conducted online between December 18 - 19, 2019.

Image: Getty 

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