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What are the most popular New Year's resolutions in 2024?

Last updated 5th January 2024

6 min read

As we enter a new year, many of us will be thinking about what resolutions to set ourselves for 2024. Google searches for ‘New Year’s resolutions’ usually peak between 20th December and 15th January each year, but if you haven’t decided on yours yet – don’t worry.

To help, we’ve surveyed 2,000 people to find out what the most common priorities are for 2024, and put together some helpful advice to help you achieve your goals.

How many of us will set a resolution?

According to our survey, the majority (75%) of us are setting ourselves at least one New Year's resolution for 2024, a big increase on recent years (21% in 2023 and 14% in 2022). The top ten cities where the most people plan to set at least one resolution in 2024 are:

  1. Belfast (90%)
  2. Bristol (81%)
  3. Leeds (81%)
  4. Manchester (80%)
  5. London (78%)
  6. Nottingham (76%)
  7. Newcastle (75%)
  8. Glasgow (75%)
  9. Cardiff (75%)
  10. Southampton (71%)

Nationwide, nearly eight in ten (80%) also say they are a lot more likely to set a resolution in 2024 than in 2023.

When asked why, ‘because I want to accomplish many things next year’, ‘because 2023 flew by and I didn’t achieve as much as I wanted to’ and ‘because I feel more confident about setting myself goals now life is back to normal after COVID-19’ were listed as some of the top reasons for the rise in resolution-setting.

More than a quarter (26%) also say that setting a resolution in 2024 is ‘very important’ to them, with 45–54-year-olds the most likely to state that they ‘want to see big change’ in their life next year.

The most popular resolutions in 2024

When it comes to choosing a New Year’s resolution, there’s really no right or wrong. But, if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, here are the top 10 most common New Year’s resolutions for 2024:

1. Exercise more (27%)

Overall, across all demographics, our research revealed that exercising more (27%) is the top priority for Brits heading towards a new calendar year. This is always a popular resolution but can be daunting if you don’t already exercise regularly. If exercising more is your resolution, take a look at our guide to staying active for help getting started.

2. Reduce stress (24%)

With the cost-of-living crisis weighing on everyone’s minds, it’s easy to see why reducing stress and getting out of debt are top resolutions for so many. As financial journalist and mental health councilor Jeff Salway explains in his article on money and mental health, there’s a strong link between the two, but support is available if you’re struggling.

3. Have a healthier diet (22%)

Having a healthier diet (22%) was also a popular choice for New Year’s resolutions. The right diet can give us energy, improve our wellbeing, help us to maintain a healthy weight, and even to live longer by reducing the likelihood of certain illnesses and conditions – so it’s no surprise that this makes it into the top three. For help and resources for eating more healthily in later life, take a look at our guide to eating healthily in your 50s and beyond.

4. Read more books (17%)

Is there anything better than getting stuck into a good book? As George R.R. Martin once said, “a reader lives a thousand lives before he dies”, but in our digital world, it can be hard to find the time. If your resolution is to read more in 2024, why not search online for book clubs in your area? These are great for motivating you to read, and you get to chat with others who have read the same thing. You could even find an online book club for less commitment and more flexibility.

5. Get more organised (16%)

When asked why they are more likely to make a resolution this year, some say they feel as if 2023 whizzed by in a flash. So, getting more organised in 2024 could help to ensure you fit in all those plans. You could start with a calendar or planner, and note down the things you want to do or achieve throughout the year. Be sure to check in on how you’re doing each month, and adjust your plans if they turn out to be too ambitious.

6. Drink less alcohol (14%)

Cutting down on booze can be good not only for your health, but for your bank balance too. And nowadays there’s no need to change your habits too much, with the wide variety of non-alcoholic alternatives available in pubs and supermarkets. The NHS has some great tips( opens in a new tab) on helping you cut down, including an app where you can track and celebrate your drink-free days.

7. Re-decorate/renovate (12%)

Renovating the home is another popular goal for many, especially people over 55. Research shows it could be a good investment too. In 2023, 83% of people spending on home improvements said they felt happier in life as a result. And it doesn’t have to break the bank, even a simple paint job improves happiness and gives your home a fresh lift.

8. See family more often (11%)

Sometimes our busy lives just don’t seem to line up with one another, and it can be hard to find a day where everyone can get together. If seeing family more often is one of your New Year’s resolutions, forward-planning is key. Let your loved ones know you’re keen to meet up more, and see if you can get a few dates in everyone’s diary throughout the year, before work and other things can get in the way.

9. Get out of debt (9%)

The new year can be a great time to get on top of your finances, especially after the Christmas period. Making a list of all your regular income and outgoings is a good place to start, so you can create a budget for food, essentials and treats that allow you to have some cash left over each month to put towards debt repayment. If you’re retired, you may find money expert James Daley’s guide to what to do if you’re retired and in debt a helpful read.

10. Book a dream holiday (8%)

USA, Brazil, Thailand, Australia… If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Almost 1 in 10 people say 2024 is the year for making that dream a reality. It might seem far away, but some research and planning can go a long way to achieving your goal. By looking up how much your dream trip would cost, you can make a savings goal that gives you an idea of when you might be able to go. For example, the average estimated cost of a dream holiday for people over 50 is £7,037. By putting away just £14 a week, this amount could be saved in less than 10 years. For some homeowners, releasing equity is another way they choose to make dream trips a reality.

Getting your affairs in order is also a common resolution. Organising a will was also a key consideration for those aged 65+, while arranging life insurance was a focus area for those aged 25-34. No matter what age you are, it’s never too early to start putting plans in place, or recording your wishes with a tool like My Perfect Send-Off.

Sticking with resolutions isn't easy

Despite good intentions, just 15% admit to having previously stuck with their resolutions all year long, with most giving up by the end of February (57%).

Nearly half (46%) give up by the end of January, and over a quarter of Brits (28%) last just two weeks – giving up by 15th January.

Almost half (43%) of people admitted that they will set the same resolution for 2024 as in 2023, because they didn’t stick to it.

When choosing your resolutions, try to pick things that feel achievable and aren’t too different from your current habits. Gradual changes are much easier to stick to than sudden big ones. If you do slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself – maybe reassess your goal to make it more achievable, and try again.

If you struggle to stick with your New Year’s Resolutions, rest assured that you’re not the only one. The reality is that only a small percentage of people will actually follow through with it for all 366 days of the leap year ahead. No matter your priorities for next year, we wish you the best of luck with any and all New Year’s resolutions for 2024.

Our research sources

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the page are those of the authors, intended to be informative, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SunLife. See our Terms of Use for more info.