As a new year begins, are you brimming with resolutions? If so, it’s likely that your feelings about resolutions might be a bit more complex than they are sunnily optimistic. At least, that’s according to a portion of an ongoing study by Liberty Mutual called the Responsibility Index, an exploration of how people define and imagine responsibility in their everyday lives.
The online survey of 1,770 U.S. adults revealed that while people are likely to make resolutions, they don’t necessarily believe that resolutions are effective. In other words, people are making resolutions despite realizing they may not be able to keep them.
According to the research, more than half (57%) of adults believe that New Year’s resolutions are not at all effective in helping people accomplish goals – and the older we get, the more cynical we become. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of adults 50-64 don’t believe resolutions are effective, compared with 39 percent of 18-34-year-olds. And only 6 percent of adults aged 35-49 believe that resolutions are extremely/very effective. More than half of fathers (54 percent) and 45 percent of mothers didn’t find resolutions effective; yet, 41 percent of fathers and 50 percent of mothers still planned on making them for 2013. All in all, a quarter of those planning on making a New Year’s resolution don’t actually believe in resolutions.
So what are the top resolutions, regardless of whether we believe we can keep them? Survey participants were asked to rank a series of resolutions, and the top resolutions people said they were likely to make include fitness/exercise goals (43 percent) and healthy eating (37 percent). But while people across every status (single, married, widowed) and age group ranked those wellness goals at the top of their lists, they diverged when it came to ranking their third resolution: Married adults and parents chose family-related resolutions (30 percent), while single, divorced, separated and non-parents were likely to choose resolutions related to career and managing personal finances.
Perhaps it’s the ritual of making resolutions that we love. Or the idea of starting a new year with a clean slate, ready to do better and be better people. Are you making New Year’s resolutions for 2013 – and if so, how optimistic are you that they’ll work?
 Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Liberty Mutual between September 24 – October 2, 2012 among 1,770 U.S. residents aged 18-64. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.