New Year’s Eve Resolutions 2016: Top 10 Most Popular Commitments For Self-Improvement

New Year's Resolution 2015
Military and civilians exercise during a spinning class. Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

It is New Year’s resolution season and millions will be saying goodbye to the 2015 version of themselves, committed to forging a better, stronger, faster version of themselves in 2016. What are the most popular New Year’s resolutions? Fitness and weight loss usual come on top, but there are mental and ethical pledges that are popular as well. The original New Year’s resolution came from the Ancient Babylonians who at the end of each year would make a vow to God that they would return all objects they borrowed and pay off their debts to others.

Originally, resolutions came from the Catholic holiday of Lent where one sacrifices something for 40 days. So whether you plan to make a resolution or your own or are just curious what the New Year’s promises are all about, here are most popular commitments that people often make ahead of Jan. 1.

10. Sleep More

Sleep science increasingly points to 8 hours as the gold standard of restful snoozing. Many schools are making a New Year’s resolution to let students sleep longer by starting the day later. For those of us who can’t lobby for a later start time at work or school, we’ll have to go to bed earlier. That means eating less sugar, turning of screens a few hours before bed and exercising more.

9. Volunteer to Help Others

Not all New Year’s resolutions are about personal indulgence. Self-improvement pledges can come in other ways. On the heels of Christmas cheer and the spirit of giving, many resolutions focus on volunteerism or giving to charity. Local organizations often advertise volunteer opportunities on their websites as well as places like Craig’s List, and skilled labor from accounting to carpentry is welcome. Charities push for donations ahead of tax season, so now is the perfect time to consider donating money or goods to charities you trust.

8. Travel

Another resolution targeting the mind? Travel. This category made the top 10 list in a Nielson survey as Baby Boomers are increasingly retiring. With working life in the rearview, many retired people are looking to take that dream trip right now as their free time opens up but they’re not too old to kiteboard.

7. Floss

You brush 2-3 per day. Good job. But you know that you should be flossing as well. This one might seem too simple and easy to make as your New Year’s resolution for 2015, but we know that this easy task can help improve overall hygiene and oral health. It’s a great habit to get into if you keep it up, we recommend traditional wax floss, but if you’re feeling adventurous try floss picks.

6. Save Money

In a recent survey of employees from different industries, one study found that more than a third of workers resolve to save more money. That is more than the quarter of workers who pledge to earn a raise in 2016. Whether you’re saving up for a large item like a house or a car, or simply just trying to get out of debt, a great New Year’s resolution can be as simple as getting wiser when it comes to your wallet. What’s the first step to skimming off those checks? Tracking your spending, which is easy if you make purchases with credit or debit cards and link them to finance apps like Mint.com

5. Accomplish Your Goals

This may seem broad, but sometimes the best New Year’s resolution can be a monumental goal or something you’ve been waiting years to try and accomplish. Whether it’s running a marathon, finishing a painting, writing a book or building a piece of furniture, 2015 is the year to get it done. We recommend setting a goal to run a marathon this year. Invest in a great pair of running shoes and hit the pavement. Running is a great way to stay in shape and shed the pounds (spoiler alert).

4. Learn a New Language

Along the same path as setting a goal for your New Year’s resolution and accomplishing it, learning a new language or skill could be a great way to improve your mind and overall quest for knowledge. There are plenty of free apps that can help you get started with this, as well as other great tools for language immersion: music, movies, television and news. For your best shot at learning a new language, go back to #8.

3. Go Green

If 2015 was the year that countries came together to tackle climate change, 2016 should be the year we all strive to reduce our own consumption and support those goals. Sure, one person won’t save the world with an efficient light socket, but consider these more effective and often fun ways to reduce your carbon footprint: travel by train instead of by plane, bike or walk when you can, fun dishwashing and laundry cycles  late in the evening (instead of at peak power times).

2. Quit Smoking/Drinking

The holidays are over, the rum is gone and after this glass of champagne there won’t be as much social pressure to drink. So why not go cold turkey starting Jan. 1? For some, quitting drinking or drinking less can be a great New Year’s resolution to incorporate many of the resolutions on our list. In addition to saving money, it can improve your health, as well as help you to lose weight. However, statistically, this is the one of the hardest resolutions to keep and it usually is thrown at the door by Valentine’s Day. On the other hand, and day is a good day to quit smoking. Whether you’re a pack-a-day smoker or just puff socially, it’s time to kick that habit to the curb for good or at least cut down.

1.  Lose Weight and Go To the Gym

Every year this is the most popular New Year’s resolution and every year it is the hardest resolution to keep. If you’re a gym rat already, you know it’s the beginning of the year when you start having to wait for machines and weights at your local gym. Most American’s New Year’s resolution in 2015 will be to diet, exercise, hit the gym and lose weight. We believe this is caused by the overindulgence during the holiday season. For calorie counters, January is a month of penance for weight gained during those Thanksgiving and Christmas day feasts. It’s time to get back into shape. We love using cold weather as an excuse not to hit the gym, so making this your New Year’s resolution could be just the motivation you need.

What do you think?
Michael Duarte

Michael J. Duarte is a Los Angeles based writer. Born and raised in the City of Angels, Michael did his undergraduate work at the University of California Santa Barbara and a graduate program at the University of Southern California. Michael was awarded the Paul Lazarus Screenwriting Scholarship Award in 2004 and the Corwin Writing Award for his feature screenplay, "Chasing 4:00" in 2005. In addition to Sports writing, Michael is an avid marathon runner and fan of the Magic Bullet blender.