Are Americans Actually Making New Year’s Resolutions?

The New Year is a clean slate and an opportunity to take on goals and make resolutions to improve your life. But how popular is making a New Year’s resolution? Turns out, fewer people are making resolutions than you might think.   

According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2015 Food and Health Survey, just 29 percent of respondents made a New Year’s resolution for 2015. The good news is that those who did make a resolution were ambitious and stuck to them. By March, an impressive 92 percent claimed they were still following their resolutions. 

What did those New Year’s resolutions consist of? According to the survey, 84 percent of those resolutions pertained to diet or exercise and 16 percent pertained to neither diet or exercise.  

Millennials (18 - to 34-year-old respondents) were leading the charge when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions in 2015.  Millennials were nearly twice as likely to make a New Year’s resolution with 46 percent of millennial respondents saying they would make a resolution compared to just 29 percent of the general population.  The composition of resolutions regarding diet and exercise, as well as attrition of maintaining the resolutions, were similar. 

Here are some tips to help you feel confident in making resolutions and, more importantly, sticking to them.

  • Specific: Making a resolution to “lose weight” or “exercise more” won’t last long. Instead, focus on small, specific goals such as eating fruits and/or vegetables with every meal or running a 5K. 
  • Measurable: Add some numbers to your resolutions. For example, setting a resolution to eat 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies a day or run 10 miles per week are easy to measure and track. As you accomplish these goals, you will feel empowered and more likely to stick to your resolutions throughout the year.
  • Attainable: Set goals for yourself that are within your reach. Small goals are stepping stones to bigger accomplishments.
  • Realistic: Is getting up early to hit the gym five times a week a realistic resolution for a non-morning person? Probably not. Be honest with yourself about your values and how you can fit your health and wellness goals into your lifestyle. For example, start with one morning gym session a week. If that is manageable, work your way up from there. 
  • Timely: Make a deadline for your goals or incorporate resolutions into time increments to make them easier to manage. For example, “I will focus on going to yoga 2x a week in January” or “This week, I will focus on incorporating more fiber in my diet.”    

“Don’t be hard on yourself if you have trouble maintaining your resolutions,” said IFIC Foundation senior advisor for science and consumer insights Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, FAND. “Instead of giving up, take a step back, evaluate what went wrong and go after your resolution a bit differently. It is most important to keep your focus on the end goal!” 

And finally, make sure your goals are fun and bring you happiness. Try not to frame them like a list of chores. Filling your resolutions list with joyous and rewarding activities will lead to a better quality of life and a greater chance of success.


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The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit