Everyone's Doing It

By Sharon Naylor

November 10, 2015 5 min read

At the start of the new year, you may notice your social media accounts awash with your friends' New Year's resolutions to eat more healthful foods, exercise more, stop smoking and create meditation practices. A few weeks later, the same people may be seen chowing down on triple-layer pancakes or ice cream sundaes and ranting about their co-workers. Those promises to eat better and stress less didn't last very long. You, too, may be a resolution-maker, harboring good intentions and a wish for the new year to be the best one yet.

A recent Marist poll says that 44 percent of U.S. adults claimed they would make New Year's resolutions for 2015. Statistics show that nearly half of them are likely to fall through on these plans. The same poll reports that 56 percent of resolution-makers are younger than 45.

Regardless of your age or your own personal history of giving up on resolutions, a fresh year offers a new start to make a commitment toward your own well-being and life betterment. You may be among those making multiple New Year's resolutions to improve your life across the board.

To help inspire you, here are the top New Year's resolutions made for 2015 as reported by the Marist poll:

--Lose weight: 13 percent.

--Exercise more: 10 percent. The Journal of the American Medical Association says that 34.9 percent of the American population is considered obese. This puts the individual at risk for multiple health deficiencies. Therefore, the combined 23 percent of individuals intending to lose weight or exercise more may reflect concern for health risks such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

--Be a better person: 9 percent. Within this category are promises to be more positive, more helpful and less critical of others, and to follow through on promises to family and friends.

--Improve health: 8 percent. This generalized promise often includes finding ways to de-stress, going to doctor's appointments regularly and getting more sleep.

--Stop smoking: 7 percent. Even with a 50 percent drop in smoking rates, people who do smoke find it difficult to quit.

--Spend less and save more money: 7 percent. According to the financial institution Bankrate, 29 percent of adults have no form of emergency savings. Here is where combining resolutions comes into play once more: With lowered financial stress, your overall peace and wellness can improve.

--Eat more healthful foods: 7 percent. You may decide to add more fish to your diet, increase your fiber intake, cut out processed foods and sweets and drink less soda. With a healthier diet, your energy levels will improve, giving you more motivation to work out.

--Get a better job: 5 percent.

--Go back to school: 4 percent. It could be for an advanced degree to help with your job prospects and income, or you may simply wish to learn a new language or art form.

--Get closer to God: 4 percent.

--Increase family time: 3 percent. It's a great thing to notice that you haven't made family time as much of a priority as you should, and it's even better to have the motivation to change that. You might create a new weekday morning ritual with your kids, commit to attending more family parties, take your parents out to breakfast once a month or even Skype with faraway family on a more regular basis.

--Use time more wisely: 3 percent.

--Enjoy life: 3 percent.

On the list of additional resolutions, 1 percent say that they plan to travel more, and less than 1 percent say they'd like to get more politically involved.

Resolutions that create lower stress levels can remove you from the 42 percent of Americans who say that their stress levels have increased over the past five years (a statistic reported by the American Psychological Association). And you'll notice a domino effect when you make multiple resolutions: When you get a better job, you'll want to get more fit, connect with family and celebrate your faith. One change can help you find strength to improve your life in other areas. It's time to create your best year yet.

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