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New Year's Resolutions: Religious Americans say they want to do this more in 2024

1685512801/iStock
1685512801/iStock

About 60% of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions are aiming to increase their engagement in religious activities in 2024, a CBS News/YouGov poll has found. This surge in spiritual commitments ties with the desire to lose weight, ranking seventh among other popular resolutions.

Only 37% of Americans typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but among these, 59% express a desire to “pray or attend religious services more,” says the poll, conducted between Dec. 4-7, 2023, involving 2,182 adults.

“Those who already attend religious services at least weekly are overwhelmingly likely to say their resolution is to pray and attend services more,” says the survey, which highlights a broader sense of hopefulness among Americans as they step into the new year.

Around 47% of Americans feel hopeful about 2024, contrasting with 22% who feel discouraged and 31% experiencing mixed feelings, the poll results say.

The leading resolutions for 2024 focus on personal health and well-being. Topping the list are goals to improve health (94%), followed by exercising more (88%), spending time with loved ones (84%), better diet (81%), acquiring new skills or hobbies (73%), and quitting bad habits (70%). Other notable resolutions include spending less time online (51%) and engaging more in community volunteer efforts (50%).

The CBS News analysis of the poll results underscores a notable age disparity in both hopefulness and resolution-making.

Young Americans under 30 are the most hopeful, with 64% looking forward to 2024 with optimism. This sentiment gradually decreases with age, dropping to 51% among those aged 30-44, 37% among those 45-64, and 39% in the 65 and older bracket. Similarly, 60% of young adults under 30 make resolutions, compared to just 15% of those 65 and older.

The analysis suggests that older Americans might feel more content or set in their ways, or perhaps they’ve learned that resolutions are often unkept, the survey says.

Americans, while acknowledging challenges, are expressing a collective desire for improvement, both personally and nationally, the poll notes. “There is an overall emphasis on relaxation: they'd urge people to take more time off, while fewer say work harder. They'd urge others to spend less time online (at even higher rates than they're resolving to themselves) more than getting more online connections — all well-meaning, but perhaps easier to say than do,” it adds.

The “What’s Good?” series by CBS News, of which this poll is a part, aims to balance the often tough news landscape by exploring positive perspectives and aspirations.

The survey, representing a diverse cross-section of the U.S. population, was weighted according to gender, age, race and education. The margin of error for the poll is ±2.8 percentage points, providing a reliable snapshot of the nation’s mood and aspirations as 2024 begins.

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