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Millennials and Gen Z were more likely to prioritise money, while Baby Boomers are inclined toward spending time with friends and family IMAGE: UNSPLASH/@TIMMOSSHOLDER

Singaporeans' Top New Year's Resolutions in 2024: Getting Fit, Money, And Mental Health

Feeling the New Year's resolution struggle? Maybe a sneak peek into your neighbours' game plan for 2024 will give you the boost you need. Our writers discuss Singapore's top resolutions this year, according to YouGov's latest survey.

A whopping 61% of Singaporeans say their New Year’s resolution is to improve their physical health

Nicholas: Every January, Punggol Waterway Park turns into a fitness fiesta. Joggers, walkers, and cyclists taking over. I've noticed this since I moved here years ago. I’m not surprised at all that we want to get better physically, or that it’s been the same top resolution for two years running.

Diane: 61% sounds suspiciously low, given the amount of people I see at the gym and the park in January. Maybe the other 40% have realised that “improving physical health” is an exercise in futility (at least it always is for me, with Lunar New Year just around the corner).

53% of Singaporeans want to better manage their money

Diane: Again, I’m surprised this number isn’t higher! Maybe 47% of Singporeans are better at managing their finances than I am, since this is something I want to do better with every year. I’ve found that it’s more helpful to frame this as a measurable goal though - so instead of saying “better manage my money”, maybe “save 20% of my income every month”.

Nicholas: If I didn’t have my wife, confirm I’ll be one of the 53%. Yeah I’m wondering what the 47% do! You know what, your idea is great - gonna set aside more of my income for savings.

Other resolutions: 45% are planning more hangouts with friends/fam, 42% want to improve their mental health, 35% want to travel more, and 24% want to reduce their time on their phone and scrolling through social media.

Nicholas: Hold up, only 37% are craving to travel more? Seriously? I got friends sharing their Instagram stories about their overseas trip or planning their next great escape. I figured everyone would be screaming to travel more.

Diane: Maybe this number is related to the “managing money” resolution. I did something similar - my husband and I decided to skip out on long-distance holidays this year to increase our savings toward big life transitions: expanding our family, moving house, that kind of thing. Europe and the US can wait till 2025!

More women said that they want to cut back on social media (7% more than guys), and to use their phone less in general (6% more than guys), and make sustainable purchases (5% more than guys).

Nicholas: Shh, don’t tell my wife, but between you and me, I always catch her glued to her phone. Not for the usual Instagram or TikTok mindless scroll, though, it’s all about doing surveys. How about you? Agree with these results?

Diane: 100% me. I’ve actually spent the last month on a Reddit fast. Based on my observations alone, women don’t necessarily spend more time on their phone than men do (the amount of time my husband spends playing mobile games is more or equal to the time I spend on social media!), but I do wonder why more Singaporean women in particular want to reduce their screen time.

Generation showdown – baby boomers want to spend more time with friends/fam, while Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X are all about money management. Interestingly, more Gen Z and millennials want to improve their mental health and reduce time in front of their screens in 2024.

Diane: In between mortgage payments, car payments, preparing for children, removing their first homes, and financing their weddings, millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X are dealing with a boatload of urgent expenses! As a millennial, spending time with family and friends feels more like an existential need, while paying off loans is something I can’t escape from. Hence the money management resolutions.

Nicholas: Agreed here, I need to better manage my cash flow. Probably when it comes to our parents, they’ve already near the end of the rat race and want to catch up with the kids and their friends.

Diane: Maybe there’s some wisdom there - spending time with our loved ones will help us achieve two of the most popular resolutions amongst millennials and Gen Z: improving mental health and reducing screen time.

Nicholas: It’s hard not to be glued to my phone screen in the MRT or on the bus, but I hope to stop using the phone more when I’m at home. I feel like I can do so many other useful things. So yea, I definitely want to cut down.

How about our own New Year's resolutions?

Nicholas: For me, if I push for a big resolution like learning a new language or getting fit, I know I’m going nowhere. I’m aiming for small goals this year; I’m going to pick up and learn many new things. It can be something small, whether it’s cooking a new dish or mastering the high-level skills of model kit construction. Baby steps, and hopefully I come out a better person. Although, let's be real, my secret ambition is mastering Japanese.

Diane: After years of failing my New Year’s resolutions, I finally fulfilled one in 2023: reading 52 books in a year! What helped was making my resolutions specific, measurable, and fun. I love reading, but I’m constantly distracted by my phone, and “read more” is too vague a goal to pursue. Adding a number and a timeline - and going on the occasional TikTok fast - helped me to follow through for once. That being said, we’re two weeks into January, and I have yet to make any resolutions (I just came back from a two-week family holiday, bite me), so let’s revisit this conversation in 2025.

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