New Year’s Resolutions

December 21, 2009 by Experian Marketing Services

New Year’s is a time for inner-reflection and self evaluation. And many of us, not happy with what we see, resolve to make important changes in our behaviors, attitudes and lifestyles in the coming year. Losing weight and stopping smoking are certainly some of the most common New Year resolutions, but over 6 million Americans also make plans to remodel a bathroom and 6 million more resolve to make a trip down the aisle. Experian Simmons examines Americans’ behaviors as they relate to some of the more common resolutions drawing upon findings from the Summer 2009 National Consumer Study.

Using Experian Simmons Waistband segments, we know that 61% of American adults are overweight and more than half of all adults (52%) say they are watching their diet. Fifty-five percent of overweight or obese adults say they are watching their diet, but so are 46% of those who are underweight or normal. The Waistband Segments are created by using respondents’ self-reported height and weight to determine their Body Mass Index (BMI). Using guidelines set by the CDC and NIH, Experian Simmons then classifies respondents as either underweight, normal, overweight or obese.

Among those adults who say they’re watching their diet in order to lose weight, diet clubs like Jenny Craig, NutriSystem and Weight Watchers are the most common non-prescription method adopted regardless of body condition. Eighteen percent of normal or underweight dieters have diet clubs as have 20% of overweight or obese dieters. By contrast, 9% of all dieters have tried meal replacements.

Smoking is a vice that many Americans say they are going to address in the new year. Presently, 18% of adults say they smoke cigarettes and 22% say they use some sort of tobacco product (cigarettes included). Last year, 14.4 million adults tried to quit smoking and 4 million even tried 2 or more different methods. Going cold turkey was the most popular method tried by more than 6.9 million adults, but at the end of the day 82% of those who say they tried to quit still use some sort of smoking tobacco.

New Year’s resolutions are not always related to personal improvements. Sometimes, they’re focused on improving the things around us, like our homes. Nearly one-in-seven U.S. households have plans to undertake a home remodeling project in the next year. Based on those who completed remodeling projects in the last year, about 61% of those projects will be done either all or in part by the homeowner themselves and 49% will call a professional for at least some help. The most common projects planned are shown below.

In the new year, many Americans will tie the knot and others will decide they’re better off on their own. Nearly six million unmarried adults say they expect to get married in the next year. At the same time, there are 1.6 million married or separated Americans who say that it’s time to call it quits.