With many Americans ready to leave 2020 in the past, New Year’s resolutions have a slightly different ring to them this year. CivicScience asked more than 1,500 U.S. adults about their intended resolutions to take the pulse on priorities for the 12 months ahead. 

As the data show, exercise and a better diet remain the top two resolutions, as they were in last year’s report. And while managing finances has once again come in at number three, that category is closely followed by those who are resolving to help others and give back. Charity is, in fact, one of only two categories to see an increase in interest heading into the new year. And of those two (the other being exercise), giving back saw the biggest jump. 

Similar to last year, commitment to resolutions do vary by age, with younger adults more concerned about improving their health and older adults more concerned with helping others.

Going into 2021, men continue to be more likely than women to be focused on improving their health. Women, however, have widened the gap when it comes to managing their finances.

Income is also a noteworthy factor. While lower-income earners are, understandably, focusing on their finances, they are also taking the lead when it comes to giving back–even more so than their high-income counterparts. This suggests that helping others could be an initiative that extends beyond the borders of income.

The data further supports this possibility. Out of a variety of different donation categories (i.e., to educational, religious, and arts organizations, etc.), a large percentage of U.S. adults are donating to health and human service non-profit organizations.

And those who are giving back are, in fact, giving greater dollars to health and human service non-profit organizations than those whose resolutions fall into other categories.

In the past year, higher donation amounts to health and human services organizations have slightly increased. Other donation categories have fared well, too – with the exception of religious organizations.

Arts and humanities donations saw a dramatic decrease in donations earlier this year. And although donations appear to be making a comeback, the drop-off suggests that COVID may have been part of the problem.

Education, religious, and environmental organization donations have stayed relatively the same year-over-year.

In a year when global health has been top of mind, it seems that New Year’s resolutions are following suit. While the majority of Americans will be resolving to improve their own health with diet and exercise, a small but growing group is choosing to give back–specifically to health and human services organizations– perhaps with the hope that 2021 will bring positive changes for everyone.