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2017 New Year's Resolutions: The Most Popular and How To Stick to Them

Getting healthy, organized and living life to the fullest were among the phrases most searched relating to New Year's resolutions.
Woman working out in gym
Woman working out in gymPeathegee Inc/Blend Images / Getty Images/Blend Images

It's time to make good on those New Year’s resolutions. If you’re still deciding, take some inspiration from the most popular Google searches for self-improvement.

iQuanti, a data-driven digital marketing company, compiled a list of the most popular resolutions based on Google search terms occurring from January 2016 through October.

Health and Organization Beat Out Travel and Reading

According to the data pulled from Google by iQuanti, these are the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  • Get Healthy: 62,776,640 searches, a 13.77 percent increase over last year during the same time period, when it was searched 55,177,290 times.
  • Get Organized: 33,230,420 searches, dipping by 7.41 percent compared to last year’s tally of 35,888,700.
  • Live Life to the Fullest: 18,970,210, spiking by 13.04 percent from last year, when it maxed at 16,782,030.
  • Learn New Hobbies: 17,438,670 searches, up 4.72 percent from last year’s total searches of 16,652,950.
  • Spend Less/Save More: 15,905,290 searches, up 17.47 percent from 13,539,500 in 2016.
  • Travel: 5,964,130 searches, down by 0.82 percent from 2015’s 6,013,550,
  • Read More: 4,746,560 searches, down 5.63 percent from last year’s 5,029,790.

Grand Total: 159,031,920, up by 6.67 percent from last year’s searches, which numbered 149,083,810.

Not Just Healthy, But Fit

That fact that getting healthy tops the list is no shocker — it’s among the most tried and true New Year’s resolutions. But this year, people are specifically interested in gyms fitness, rather than simply improving their health.

"There was a 315 percent increase around the search term ‘gym’ and a significant increase around fitness-related searches, which shows just how important people are taking physical fitness," said Sastry Rachakonda, CEO of iQuanti.

Better Googling Makes For Better Marketing

Googlers were more specific and direct in their searches this year than in previous years, Rachakonda noticed, reflecting that they’ve become more adept at searching online, or perhaps more decided in what they want.

"People are searching in a more targeted way, which gives us the impression that people have a better idea of what they want are searching for," said Rachakonda.

"For instance, general search terms like 'bucket list,' which tends to be somewhat of an unclear search intent have gone down whereas specific searches [wherein] consumers ask detailed questions have risen. We feel that this is due to consumers having a better understanding and knowledge of what they want, which in turn allows brands the opportunity to better connect with their customers."

Fitness Retailers Seize the Day

Taking note of the surging interest in fitness aspirations are gyms and other fitness-affiliated retailers. In this vein, consumers can expect a deluge of marketing from all sorts of brands.

"The 'get in shape/fitness' resolution impacts not only the obvious gym memberships, fitness app subscriptions, and the purchase of fitness equipment but also categories like activewear, athletic footwear, fitness trackers, etc.," said Lisa Walters, co-founder of the independent equity research and consulting firm Retail Eye.

"From our store checks, we see fitness goals drive purchasing in January at activewear/footwear retailers including Lululemon, Athleta, Dick's Sporting Goods, Target, Foot Locker, Finish Line, Champs, department stores, DSW, etc."

"For some of these retailers, January is almost a second Christmas in a sense that we see high shopper purchasing of activewear and footwear to kick off these resolutions. And despite January being a clearance month, these retailers are able to sell activewear/athletic footwear at full price or with little discount.”

Cashing in on Savings Goals

Gyms and fitness retailers may have a clear advantage given that consumers are actively seeking them out via their Google searches, but now is an ideal time for virtually any brand that can connect to New Year’s resolutions.

Take Poshmark, for example: the mobile and online marketplace, where users can sell fashion wares, sees a spike this time of year. This is thanks in part to consumers maximizing an “out with the old, in with the new” philosophy, as well as a desire to earn some extra cash.

"Poshmark sees rapid growth from December to January, which is definitely unusual for traditional retail," said Kate Franco, senior director of merchandising at Poshmark. "The first quarter of the year is by far Poshmark's best growth quarter, as people sell gifts they can't return or clean out their closets for the New Year, Poshmark typically sees listing volume increase by at least 50 percent in January alone."

Staying Resolute Throughout 2017

There’s a reason the same resolutions come up every year. Overall, we’re terrible at seeing them through.

"[Research shows] that only about 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals," said Dr. John Agwunobi chief health and nutrition officer for Herbalife. "After the holiday tradition of over-indulgence, we set out to rid our cabinets of junk food, hit the gym and start fresh, [but] some people tackle the problem too aggressively, with overly restrictive diets, or exercise regimes that they can’t commit to, and soon give up their efforts."

Not only should we not be too hard on ourselves when acting on our resolutions, we should also focus on making small, incremental changes to whatever it is we wish to improve.

"Think about what it is that you want in life and how is it that you can achieve it by taking baby steps," said Didi Wong, an integrative wellness and life coach. "If it is to lose weight, could you simply take out all sodas from your diet? If it's to get back in shape, could you go for a walk or run beginning with just once a week?"

Wong also recommends keeping track of your progress.

"Make it a habit to write down your resolutions or goals and put an action associated with the goal in your calendar," said Wong. "For example, 'I need to lower my cholesterol so I will walk just a mile a day and eliminate seafood from my diet.' If it is in your calendar, you are more likely to do it."