How COVID-19 is Affecting 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s resolutions have always been an optimistic and somewhat controversial enterprise. Either you’re a “resolutions person” –– sure that the coming year will be different and you will finally get organized/lose weight/read more/try that new hobby/write that novel –– or you aren’t. But 2020 has not been a normal year… and it’s looking like 2021 won’t be a typical year, either.

Our team was curious how the events of 2020 might have impacted people’s outlook on resolutions this year, so we conducted a survey in early December for more information. Nearly 7,000 people responded –– and we learned some surprising insights.

The bottom line? The events of 2020 have made us really think about what matters most. 72% of respondents agreed that this year helped them realize what was most important to them, valuing physical and mental health and relationships with family and friends over anything else.

And evaluating what really matters has led more people to make resolutions this year, not fewer.

Over half of respondents (51.3%) said they would make resolutions for 2021, including 17.8% of respondents who don’t typically make resolutions. In contrast, only 6% of people said that the chaos of 2020 dissuaded them from making resolutions for the coming year.

Many respondents explained that they were taking a more grounded approach to their resolutions in 2021. Though weight loss typically rules the resolution scene, self-care and mental health take precedence this year. 86.5% of survey respondents intend to focus on self-care, and more specifically their own mental health, hobbies, interests, and wellness, whether that means “more balance” in their day-to-day life, connecting with their spirituality, or “healthier decisions” overall.

Health, weight loss, and exercise was the second-most common resolution, with 63.1% of respondents selecting this as one of their top priorities in 2021. Many of these respondents cited changes in their daily habits during quarantine this year and the related impacts — such as a greater reliance on grocery delivery –– as a reason to work on their exercise routine and physical health in 2021.

In third place, 49.9% of respondents are prioritizing their relationships with family and friends in 2021. Many respondents extended this to relationships beyond close family and friends as well, noting that they wanted to make a difference in their local community or on behalf of a good cause, such as social justice or environmental issues. Some voiced a goal to better support small and local businesses in the coming year. One respondent said that they felt “more focused on what I can do to help others from afar,” while another said, “I want to help the community around me, especially those in struggling/at-risk communities.”