As 2022 dawns on the horizon, the perennial New Year’s Resolution conversation is likely top of mind. But resolutions in the ongoing COVID age are far from “back to normal”––whatever that might mean. In fact, some surprising changes have occurred since the last CivicScience report on resolutions.
This year, the usual diet and exercise resolutions are still top of mind. However, the resolution to quit smoking and drinking has more than doubled–from 7% of U.S. adults setting a resolution for 2021, to 14% now setting this resolution for 2022. Similarly, the percentage of those who aim to improve their diet rose seven points this year. Also notable: the percentage of those resolving to manage their finances better has fallen in importance, with 10% focusing on this for the new year, down from 14% this time last year.
While it’s impossible to say that all of these changes have happened as a result of the pandemic and the habits that have ensued, it’s worth taking a closer look at potential correlations.
As the data show, remote workers–who are probably spending more sedentary time at home, with easy access to their favorite indulgences–are the most likely to want to improve their fitness and exercise, as well as to quit drinking and smoking. Those who are working in an office, on the other hand, are the most concerned about food and diet.
Notable correlations were observed when looking at gender and age: women and adults aged 18-24 taking the lead in wanting to eat better and quit drinking and smoking. Meanwhile, men and older adults are more likely to want to improve their fitness.
There’s a clear correlation between mood, finances, and stress among the higher percentage of those resolving to give up drinking and smoking. The data show this group are the most unhappy, more likely to be financially worse off than before the pandemic, and stressed compared to their counterparts.
So while overall health continues to be a major focus, now–more than ever–U.S. adults may be looking to kick the habits they may have formed to cope with the intensity and uncertainty of 2021.