Research Outline

New Year's Resolutions


Provide information surrounding New Year's Resolutions.
  • Specifically, provide data around how many people make New Year's resolutions.
  • Determine how long people stick to them and how many actually achieve them.
  • Provide information on whether people who have New Year's resolutions are happier or less happy compared to those who don't have them.
  • Determine whether people who have New Year's resolutions have more money than those who don't. Provide the average difference.
  • Determine whether people with New Year's resolutions have better jobs.
  • Depending on data availability, not all the subpoints need to be covered.
  • Data on other topics related to New Year's resolutions will also be helpful.

Early Findings

Data Availability

The initial round of research suggests that data is available on how many people make resolutions, how long they tend to stick to them, and the average success rate. However, it is unavailable for the correlation between New Year's resolutions and happiness, financial and professional success, or the quality of relationships.

Statistics Around Making New Year's Resolutions

  • According to a survey by YouGov, 27% of Americans said they had New Year's resolutions for 2020 at the end of that year.
  • 31% declared they would make resolutions for 2021.
  • Furthermore, 38% of Millennials planned to make resolutions for 2021, compared to 29% of Gen Zers and 24% of Baby Boomers.
  • Also, 34% of women intended to make resolutions for 2021, compared to 29% of men.
  • A different poll by New Urban Plates and Ipsos found that 38% of people in the US already had at least one resolution for 2021 in December 2020.
  • Also, 37% said that they had at least one resolution for 2020.
  • According to the survey, groups who were the most likely to make resolutions for 2021 included young adults, parents, and people who had resolutions for 2020.
  • Additionally, a survey by CIT Bank and Harris Poll discovered that 43% of Americans planned to make resolutions for 2021, while 35% had them for 2020.

How Long People Stick to Their Resolutions

  • Ipsos and New Urban Plates found that 11% of Americans who had a resolution for 2020 abandoned it in less than a month.
  • 19% stuck to their resolution for between one and three months, 14% — for 3-6 months, 11% — for 6-11 months, and 45% were either still working on achieving their goal or succeeded already.
  • However, a survey by Quicken found that in February 2020, 62% of people in the US who made New Year's resolutions had abandoned them six weeks into the year, while 86% expected to give up in the first quarter.
  • The top reasons for abandoning resolutions were "being too busy" (named by 44%), "trying to do too much all at once" (41%), and "losing interest" (40%).
  • According to Strava, which analyzed 800 million user-logged activities, the date the majority of people are likely to abandon their New Year's resolutions is January 19.
  • It is worth noting that multiple sources mention that 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by mid-February.
  • However, the figure can be traced back to a study by the University of Scranton. While it is hard to pinpoint the date of the study, it is likely outdated since it is already referenced in 2015 articles.

Success Rate for New Year's Resolutions

  • In a survey by VeryWell Mind, 11% of respondents said they never meet their New Year's resolutions. 25% responded that they meet them rarely, 60% — sometimes, and 4% — always.
  • All of the respondents were based in the US. The majority were female, white, and Baby Boomer or older, though there were also ones from different generations, ethnic backgrounds, and genders.
  • For reference, the most commonly mentioned success rate for New Year's resolutions is 8%. However, it also comes from the outdated study by the University of Scranton.
  • A scientific study conducted in Sweden found that the success rate for resolutions that focus on developing new habits or introducing new things is 59%. For resolutions that revolve around quitting or avoiding something, it drops to 47%.

New Year's Resolutions and Happiness - Helpful Findings

  • There doesn't seem to be up-to-date research on the correlation between happiness and New Year's resolution.
  • A 2018 article by Inc. references a study by Opinion Research Corporation, according to which the less happy a person is, the more likely they are to make New Year's resolutions. It is particularly true for those who make financial resolutions, among whom 41% are not happy.
  • The same study found that people who achieve their resolutions aren't happier than those who don't.
  • While the study is from 2005, there doesn't seem to be any other data available on the subject.
  • In relation to this topic, it is worth noting that according to a survey by OnePoll and Affirm, the COVID-19 pandemic changed people's priorities. As a result, they are looking beyond common New Year's resolutions, such as losing weight. Instead, some of the most popular choices are "improving overall wellness (named by 63%) and "having a more positive outlook on life" (named by 58%).

New Year's Resolutions and Financial/Professional Success - Helpful Findings

  • There is no specific data to illustrate whether people who make New Year's resolutions have more money and better jobs. However, we've compiled initial findings on the relative importance of financial and professional resolutions.
  • According to MagnifyMoney, 51% of Americans were planning to make a money-related resolution for 2021. Six-figure earners were especially likely to have such a goal, with 67% declaring it.
  • At the same time, 53% who had a money-related resolution for 2020 achieved it, while a further 36% have made progress on it.
  • In the survey by Urban Plates/Ipsos, financial goals were named by the highest percentage of respondents (51%) as their 2020 resolution and ranked third for 2021 (named by 45%).
  • There was no mention of strictly professional goals but skill development was named as a 2020 goal by 22% and as a 2021 resolution by 24%.
  • In the poll by YouGov, saving more money was the third most popular resolution (selected by 44%), while career-related goals ranked fifth (with 21%). In both cases, millennial resolution makers were the most likely to name them.
  • It is also worth noting that in 2021, 53% of Americans polled by OnePoll/Affirm worried that they wouldn't have the budget to achieve their resolutions.


  • Within the first hour, we were able to provide information surrounding how many people make New Year's resolutions, how long they typically stick to them, and the average success rate.
  • Since these topics were covered by multiple equally reputable sources, we have determined that the only way to provide an exhaustive answer is to provide several different figures for each of them. These figures have been presented above.
  • We've also provided helpful findings around the correlation between New Year's resolutions and happiness, as well as the importance of financial and professional goals.
  • According to our research through research papers, surveys, and media articles, there is no data available on the correlation between making New Year's resolutions and financial, professional, or relationship success.
  • However, we recommend continuing the research to provide data surrounding the topic, such as most popular strategies to keep pursuing New Year's resolutions, US cities where people are the most likely to keep their resolutions, and further data on the most popular reasons for failing.
  • We will assume a US scope, since most of the available sources provide US-specific data.
  • We can also provide data on the history of New Year's resolutions. In this case, we will assume a global scope, highlighting US-specific milestones to provide a complete overview of the subject.