For many, the new year is a time for a fresh start. With the holidays fading into the rearview mirror, there is no better time to set intentions for what 2020 will hold. To understand the appeal of New Year’s resolutions, CivicScience asked more than 3,300 U.S. adults about their plans for the next 12 months. 

Of the 61% of Americans who are making a resolution this year, plans for improving diet, revamping fitness routines, and better managing finances are at the top of the list. 

Resolutions for Every Life Stage

Different life stages have different priorities. Food and diet become increasingly important with age. However, fitness becomes less of a focus for the 55+ crowd. Attention to finances peak in young to middle age, while giving back is a bigger priority for the later-life years. 

Notably, relationships take precedence earlier in life, a statistic that is echoed in the fact that singles are the most likely to make resolutions for the new year. While there are countless reasons why this could be the case, it is possible that those who are single feel greater flexibility and opportunity to make changes in their lives. While improving relationships is most important for single people, it is not their main focus. Instead overall health takes center stage. 

Gender-Specific Resolutions

In 2020, men are resolving to eat and exercise better. While women are committing to helping others, men are prioritizing their relationships. It’s an interesting dichotomy–one that illuminates the gender-specific pressures, expectations and experiences that continue to exist. 

Healthy and Helping in 2020 

Speaking of exercise and eating, the data show that those who said they are resolved to help others visit the doctor 1-2 times a year, suggesting they are consistent with regular check-ups. Those focused on improving health and diet are also more likely to visit the doctor throughout the year.

Although it makes logical sense that to help others you have to be healthy yourself, the data further supports this by showing that those who want to help others are also the most frequent exercisers and vitamin takers. 

CivicScience data also shows people who are focused on health and relationships are more likely to be currently in talk therapy, or have been before. And the greatest interest in trying talk therapy is from those working on relationships and personality this year.

All of this indicates that there is a strong correlation between health and help. However, when it comes to health insurance, the helpers are outliers. Those who are committed to giving back in the new year are the most likely to have a combination of coverage or government assisted coverage. 

As we see general resolution themes evolve in 2020, what is most evident is that overall health through fitness, food and finances will be on the table. And although there is no knowing how faithfully these resolutions will be upheld, it is, ultimately, a hopeful start to the new year and the new decade.