A new year means new beginnings, new opportunities, and new goals. Often, these shifting aspirations and attitudes, lead to shifts in behaviors. Granted, some of these shifts may repeat year after year — particularly as long forgotten resolutions are recycled after the holidays. Nevertheless, it’s always fun to take a look at our collective aspirations.

What portion of people set goals for the new year, what were the most common resolutions, and how long do people typically commit to their new behaviors? To answer these questions, we surveyed 14,602 members of the DISQO Audience, uncovering:

  • Popularity of New Year’s resolutions
  • Top resolutions for 2020
  • Maintaining resolutions
  • Attitudes towards New Year’s resolutions

Creating New Year’s Resolutions

How many people made resolutions for 2020? Interestingly, there was a near-even split, with 51% stating that they did in fact create resolutions for the new year and 49% claiming that they didn’t.

While many brands may tailor their Q1 campaigns around the popular belief that everyone is involved in building new habits for the year, such messaging may fall flat to half of the population who haven’t committed to any specific change this year.

Nevertheless, a majority of people (63%) find New Year’s resolutions to be helpful in guiding their goals, which may be good news for brands pursuing optimistic messaging in January. Of course, it’s important to remember that while most view resolutions in a positive light, optimism alone may not be enough to compel real changes in behavior. A collection of attitudes, moments, or experiences may be necessary to make real changes in a person’s behavior.

Top Resolutions for 2020

When people are motivated to make a new year’s resolution, what do they aspire toward? Unsurprisingly to anyone who enjoyed their fair share of holiday treats or was cooped up by inclement winter weather, exercising more (42%) and eating healthier (40%) come out on top, closely followed by saving more money (37%). Other popular resolutions noted by DISQO Audience members included giving up a bad habit (17%), increasing “me time” (16%), spending more time with friends & family (16%), and improving personal time management & organization (15%).

At the end of the day, what people aspire to and resolve to change in their lives are as diverse and dynamic as the people themselves. Indeed, respondents partaking in new years resolutions cited 3.1 categories of aspirations on average.

Maintaining New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are meant to be inspiring, uplifting, and motivating, but what’s typically associated with yearly resolutions is the idea that most people give up on them too soon. While 18% claim they do not give up on their resolutions at all, about 32% say they give up within the first month of the new year.

Overall, do people feel successful in holding themselves to their resolutions? More people (37%) feel successful in achieving their resolutions than not (33%), which is a positive sign, but also one that suggests a lack of follow through. Whether life gets in the way or motivation plummets, this concept is one that holds true and one that signifies the continual need for consumers to feel inspired in order to compel action.

Putting it All Together

Just like any goal, resolutions made for the new year need to be both aspirational and achievable. As people push themselves to improve various aspects of their lives, so brands should follow suit. As people strive to live healthier or spend more time with their loved ones, how can brands commit to fostering healthier relationships with their audiences? How can marketers spend more quality time listening to consumer wants and needs? Instead of peddling ad creatives that merely feed off of unrealized aspirations, how can brands help audiences make their resolutions a reality and foster meaningful growth in the process? The first step — and the first resolution marketers must make in 2020 — is to listen.

About the Study

The New Year’s Resolutions Survey was conducted in late December 2019 and early January 2020. It reached 14,602 members of the DISQO Audience and presented a series of questions that revealed the top resolutions for this year and the typical success rate in maintaining them.

Join the Conversation

Do you typically make New Year’s resolutions? What are your resolutions for 2020? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or Facebook.