A new year can lead to a wide range of possibilities. For some of us, one possibility will be to meet that special someone. For others, it may be a future in which they don’t smoke anymore. Whatever possibility you can imagine, people have probably made a New Year’s Resolution to do it. Extremely popular in the United States, a New Year’s Resolution is the one time where almost everybody is motivated to say “Today, I’m going to change my life.”
Whether or not this motivation lasts until the end of the year is another issue. According to research, 45 percent of Americans normally make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 8 percent of them are successful in achieving their goal. While 75 percent of people maintain their resolution through the first week of the new year, only 46 percent of people make it past six months. In addition, younger people (in their twenties) are 25 percent more likely to achieve their resolution than people 50 and older.
Listed below are the top 10 most popular new year’s resolutions of all time. The rankings come from statisticbrain.com, which in turn got them from the Journal of Clinical Psychology from the University of Scranton.
10. Spend More Time With Family
In this busy world of ours, finding time to spend with our loved ones is difficult. Even back in 1990, Americans were working an average of one month more per year than they were in 1970. Can you imagine what the numbers are today? With a fluctuating economy and a society in which being “on time” is late, it’s no wonder Americans feel so stressed out. With all of the work and none of the play, making time to see those loved ones is a hard task to accomplish. That’s why when the New Year comes around, many people vow to relax and spend some time with the ones who matter. Whether it be sitting around a table full of food or going out for movie, just being in the presence of your family is something many of us want to do.
9. Fall in Love
Whether we care to admit it or not, we all need to be loved. Be it from ourselves or another person, love is one of the only universal emotions all humans crave. It also just so happens to be the one thing we can never fully understand. Do I like him or love him? Is she Mrs. Right? With all of these questions and hormones raging through our heads and bodies, it’s no wonder we’re constantly thinking about love. According to a survey conducted in 2013, people fall in love (“true love”) twice in their lifetime. With this in mind, I’m not sure this is a good resolution. You can’t force love, right? When it happens, it happens. Regardless, many people want love and want it bad. So much so that they make a New Year’s Resolution out of it.
8. Help Others Achieve Their Dreams
This one surprised me. Honestly, most people focus on themselves when choosing their New Year’s Resolutions. But, the statistics show that a large number of people out there set out on January 1st to help others in need. There are many ways to accomplish this, such as giving moral support to your friends and lending a hand to those who are less fortunate. People can volunteer to help out their favorite charities or simply put in an encouraging word to a friend when they are down. I think this a great resolution to put on a list, and more people should do it.
7. Quit Smoking
In the United States alone, 42.1 million people smoke at least one cigarette a day. That’s 18.1 percent of the population. Though smoking campaigns have been banned from television and radio, the tobacco industry is still booming. People vow every year to quit. It’s hard. It’s difficult. Most people can’t stop forever. Only 4% to 7% of smokers actually quit on any given attempt. Being so challenging, creating a New Year’s Resolution to quit smoking adds an extra incentive for many out there that can’t do it at any other time. Everybody else is striving to achieve their goal, so why can’t smokers? The New Year is a great time for smokers to attempt to quit. If they get a little help from #8 (listed above), they may finally be able to give it up.
6. Learn Something Exciting
Coming from an education background, learning is fun! It’s an exciting process we go through when we learn something. There’s even science to back it up, telling us that humans enjoy the process of learning. So, with science at our backs, why not start off the New Year with a new skill? As our society continues to become more and more cross-cultural, a popular new skill to learn for a new year is a new language. In the United States, Spanish is gradually increasing in primary use. As businesses grow and connect with other countries, possessing the ability to speak a native language of a country you’ve never been to may help grow your clientele. Or, maybe you’d love to learn how to make a soufflé? Whatever you choose, it’s bound to make you a stronger person overall.
5. Stay Fit and Healthy
Did you know that worldwide obesity has doubled since 1980? 1980! That’s not that long ago, and it’s a frightening prospect to think about. Luckily, there are many clubs, programs, and support groups that can help you lose weight and stay fit and healthy. But, losing weight isn’t the hard part. Sure, you may swear that you will lose twenty pounds by the end of January, but can you keep it off? If so, are you really healthy? If you just make the resolution, you are already ten times more likely to follow through than those who don’t make the resolution. Another facet of this goal has nothing to do with weight loss. Staying healthy doesn’t mean being skinny. Learn to eat right and make sure you get a proper amount of exercise every day, even if the weight isn’t sloughing off.
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Here’s a goal I personally think everybody needs to be doing all the time. While other goals and resolutions on this list are pretty specific, enjoying life to the fullest boils down to what you like to do. Do you love books and want to become a writer? If that’s your way of living life, then do it. If you never take any chances in life, then start taking them. Stop thinking about doing things and start doing them, even if they’re baby steps. There’s a big, open world for you to explore. Along with this vast space of a planet we call Earth, there’s also experiences out there you can’t even imagine. My advice? It’s a new year. Live it up. You don’t know when you’ll have this chance again. Have fun and let it fly.
3. Spend Less, Save More
We’ve all been in this situation. The New Year arrives, and we often realize our wallets are empty. Or, maybe they aren’t as full as we’d like them to be. With a new year comes a chance for a fresh start, and many people try to crack down on their spending. It’s easy to do…for while. However, around the end of January or maybe into February, we forget our vows to stop eating fast food. We see a sharp pair of jeans and think “I’ve been good. Just this one time.” Slowly but surely, we begin to spend our hard earned money. Still, some people do keep this resolution. With the popularity of shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing, it’s becoming easier and easier to learn the art of less.
2. Getting Organized
With the crazy-busy world we live in, keeping our lives intact and in order is a feat as monumental as that of the gods. The house. Work. The car. We’re so busy “doing” that it’s challenging to keep all of this “doing” in line. While all of the resolutions on this list are great, getting organized is one of the hardest. Organization is one of the first things to vanish when one is too busy. We may not even realize how disorganized we are until the New Year arrives. Luckily, a new year means organization is back at the top of our lists once again. It’s the perfect time to clean the house, organize your books and Blu-Rays, and enjoy the happiness an organized life can bring.
1. Lose Weight
While staying fit and healthy (listed above) includes losing weight, this one deserves its own spot. Why? Simple: everyone wants to do it. This is the one goal everyone strives for. Even those that are skinny will often want to lose more weight. Given that the “skinny is beautiful” concept is such a main portion of our culture, it’s no surprise that the gyms are packed to the brim on January 1st. Fresh faces and bodies line up on the treadmills, looking to shed those unwanted pounds. A new year leads to a new future, and for many, that future begins with putting one foot in front of the other.