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6 Best U.S. Cities for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Elliott Bay

A recent study finds that the six best U.S. cities for keeping New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • San Francisco, California
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Irvine, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Orlando, Florida

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The personal-finance Web site WalletHub recently ranked 182 American cities on their conduciveness to self-improvement.

Researchers looked at 57 metrics across five categories:  Health, Finances, Relationships, Bad Habits, and School and Work.  Metrics included things like Share of Adults Not Exercising, Median Credit Score, Family-Friendliness, Binge Drinking, and Average Quality of Universities.

WalletHub found that 61 percent of people reported making health-related resolutions, but 40 percent think these are the type of resolution they’re least likely to keep.  The site also found that 47 percent reported making financial resolutions, but 28 percent say that these are the type they’re least likely to keep; this year’s top money resolution is to earn 5 percent or more on cash.

The six best U.S. cities for keeping New Year’s resolutions are:

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is an especially good place for physical and financial well-being.  The Emerald City has a robust job market, a thriving tech industry, and a low percentage of people who are delinquent on their debt payments.  Seattle also offers easy access to fresh food, and it’s a pleasant walking city.  I spent several fun days in Seattle during a conference a few years ago.  I especially enjoyed eating oysters on the half-shell and strolling along Elliott Bay.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is another fine spot for financial and physical health.  The City by the Bay has the lowest median loan debt per person and the lowest percentage of obese adults.  San Francisco is one of my favorite cities.  I’ve enjoyed its temperate climate and beautiful natural surroundings many times.  I always enjoy walking around Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale ranked first in the health category.  America’s Most Western Town features the highest number of fitness establishments per capita.  It also ties for parkland acres per capita, along with Anchorage, Alaska; Honolulu, Hawaii, and Chesapeake, Virginia, and for highest median income, with Columbia, Maryland; Gilbert, Arizona; Overland Park, Kansas, and Fremont, California.  I’ve been to Scottsdale for reasons ranging from a great blog conference to a mileage run.  I love morning walks in the stunning Sonoran Desert.

Irvine, California

Irvine boasts a fast-growing economy and has often been used as a filming location for popular movies like Iron Man, Ocean’s 11, and Planet of the Apes.  I visited Irvine frequently when I lived and worked in nearby Newport Beach.

San Diego, California

San Diego’s spectacular setting and near-perfect weather make it ideal for outdoor activity.  It’s another of my favorite cities, where I’ve been many times, and recently spent five days before and after a Mexican Riviera holiday cruise (more on all that later!).

Orlando, Florida

Orlando ties for most restaurants per capita, along with Miami, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; San Francisco, and Los Angeles, California.  The Orlando area boasts 46 Michelin restaurants.  I have visited the central Florida city many times — from my first visit to Walt Disney World as a little girl to a fine food-travel bloggers’ conference before lockdown.  But my favorite trip was the one when my maternal grand-mother took the whole family — 26 of us — to Orlando for a week.

So, what can help you keep your New Year’s resolutions — aside from moving to one of these fabulous cities?

WalletHub found that 40 percent of people think that keeping their resolutions will be harder in 2024 than it was in 2023.  Only 51 percent expect to keep their resolutions throughout the year.

Brady Phelps, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Behavior Analyst, at South Dakota State University in Brookings, says you need “a clear definition of the resolution” in order to succeed.  “What exactly are you trying to change?  You cannot change your personality, which is far too general and vague, but you can change the frequency with which you say negative things,” he notes.

Deborah Bauer, Distinguished Senior Instructor of Finance at the University of Oregon in Eugene, suggests starting with small steps.  “If you begin to make small healthy changes to your diet, increase exercise in small increments, and practice yoga and meditation, you will feel better,” she says.

Michelle vanDellen, Professor and Chair in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program, Social Psychology, at the University of Georgia in Athens, recommends finding ways to make new habits “inherently rewarding”.  For example, if one of your resolutions is to eat out less frequently, she suggests enjoying cooking more or trying a new cuisine at home.

Happy New Year!

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