Research Finds That New Year Resolutions to Better Personal Relationships With God Almost Top Resolutions to Better Health

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In January, Americans resolve to cut the carbs, hit the gym — and get right with God.

When Americans make New Year’s resolutions, a better relationship with God ranks almost as high as better health, Nashville-based LifeWay Research finds.

And for many groups, faith actually outranks health. Older Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Christians are all more likely to say they’ve made resolutions about God than about health.

Overall, 57 percent of Americans report making health-related New Year’s resolutions in the past, while 52 percent say they’ve addressed their relationship with God. Those are the top two responses in a LifeWay Research survey of 1,000 Americans.

“We don’t hear a lot of talk about it, but a relationship with God is still something people want,” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research.

“They have time at the holidays to think, and they realize what they didn’t do last year — things they value but are not living out. So they start the year with an aspiration to change.”

Topics of resolve

While health and faith are the leading topics for New Year’s resolutions, Americans also report addressing their use of time (43 percent), relationships with a family member (42 percent), finances (37 percent), work (33 percent), and relationships with a friend (31 percent).

Many of the issues overlap as people aspire to improve themselves, McConnell said.

“Use of time is probably the best measure of priorities,” he said. “And investing in a relationship with God may encourage people to address other priorities as well, such as spending time with family or fixing their finances.”

However, more than 1 in 5 Americans (21 percent) say they haven’t made New Year’s resolutions on any of the topics.

Men appear less resolution-minded than women, according to the survey. Fully a quarter of men report no resolutions, compared to 17 percent of women. Meanwhile, women are more likely than men to say they’ve made resolutions about their health (62 percent vs. 52 percent), relationship with God (58 percent vs. 47 percent), and use of time (47 percent vs. 39 percent). 

Resolutions of faith

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SOURCE: Facts & Trends – Lisa Cannon Green