What are the best cities for keeping a New Year’s Resolution?

Holidays

Fireworks atop Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas welcome the new year. (NBCDFW/NEXSTAR)

WalletHub – It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions. The hard part is keeping them. But before you blame yourself entirely for your previous lack of success, consider this: Your location may be setting you up for failure.

If you live in a neighborhood with no sidewalks or fitness centers nearby, for example, you may not feel as encouraged to exercise. The same goes if most of your restaurant options are limited to fast food – you may be less likely to eat healthily. These might sound like excuses to the boldest resolvers, but they genuinely can get in the way of self-improvement. That’s especially true if your motivation is low to begin with. Plus, with the COVID-19 pandemic throwing life out of sync and closing down or limiting the capacity of many public spaces, meeting New Year’s resolutions will likely be even harder than usual. To stick with the example of getting fit, the pandemic might cut off access to local gyms and lead to too much financial hardship for a person to buy home fitness equipment.

More than 7 in 10 people admit they have failed to uphold their New Year’s resolutions in the past, according to a recent WalletHub survey, but there’s no reason not to try again. As we set our goals for 2022, some of the biggest financial resolutions you might want to consider include paying off some of your credit card debt, adding to your emergency fund and paying bills immediately after getting a paycheck.

To determine where Americans are most likely to stick to their goals for 2022, WalletHub considered some of the most popular (and most commonly broken) resolutions to rank more than 180 U.S. cities based on their conduciveness to self-improvement. In each city, we looked at a total of 57 key metrics, ranging from exercise opportunities to income growth to employment outlook.

Main Findings

Source: WalletHub

Best Cities for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Overall Rank CityTotal Score Health Resolutions Financial Resolutions School & Work Resolutions Bad-Habit Resolutions Relationship Resolutions 
1Scottsdale, AZ65.736612528
2Seattle, WA65.6414571143
3San Francisco, CA65.5472594621
4Irvine, CA64.941403556
5San Diego, CA63.9849063176
6Salt Lake City, UT63.582444131614
7Overland Park, KS63.355012779
8Plano, TX63.312145660
9Fremont, CA63.195262483
10Austin, TX62.435146172410
11Atlanta, GA61.93615482811
12San Jose, CA61.882011107241
13Columbia, MD61.88313691107
14Raleigh, NC61.382720651229
15Huntington Beach, CA60.95288111585
16Madison, WI60.7370768832
17Orlando, FL60.69459768013
18Portland, OR60.4417221221364
19Virginia Beach, VA60.303539184431
20Chandler, AZ60.191114293769
21Tampa, FL59.693092247521
22Tempe, AZ59.61979574933
23Minneapolis, MN59.3364101464016
24Charlotte, NC59.115337475527
25Honolulu, HI59.072815587427
26Boise, ID58.954458125743
27Las Vegas, NV58.70101231051642
28Gilbert, AZ58.4313151036113
29Portland, ME57.6140131139149
30St. Petersburg, FL57.4516682313051
31Omaha, NE57.32798828439
32Lincoln, NE57.208917583850
33Denver, CO57.1826611581468
34Charleston, SC57.108086278225
35Pittsburgh, PA56.7662219716115
36Fargo, ND56.598766891354
37Chicago, IL56.5488231661195
38Washington, DC56.5349641681119
39South Burlington, VT56.372536929159
40Durham, NC56.277359442081
41Los Angeles, CA56.11421581366317
42Fort Lauderdale, FL55.9918151767348
43Phoenix, AZ55.616843787055
44Peoria, AZ55.5858331951122
45Sacramento, CA55.4155811108838
46Cedar Rapids, IA55.3912291039104
47Colorado Springs, CO55.2843106927852
48Chesapeake, VA55.2611053373563
49Houston, TX55.1996671268322
50Pembroke Pines, FL55.13291181639127
51Sioux Falls, SD55.1011955671086
52Albuquerque, NM54.9860601508637
53Miami, FL54.9139181304626
54Santa Clarita, CA54.77191137241115
55Spokane, WA54.5157101359777
56West Valley City, UT54.3298352134135
57Nashua, NH54.316618799099
58Boston, MA54.265211116113118
59Vancouver, WA54.15365713947111
60Dallas, TX54.1295126567440
61Oceanside, CA54.11314414726134
62San Antonio, TX53.99109130458734
63Warwick, RI53.90671240115136
64Grand Rapids, MI53.8883421144389
65Henderson, NV53.8433482615390
66Reno, NV53.83461373416046
67Jacksonville, FL53.8293943115436
68Rancho Cucamonga, CA53.7371781569126
69Garden Grove, CA53.69381457523116
70Santa Rosa, CA53.61811513431152
71Fort Worth, TX53.5912669425868
72Mesa, AZ53.4741655371123
73Glendale, AZ53.4659122857770
74Juneau, AK53.34635025107138
75Burlington, VT53.27321171425697
76Chula Vista, CA53.261512014418120
77Bismarck, ND53.23117279622119
78Rapid City, SD53.0911891772787
79Tucson, AZ52.845413513710053
80Kansas City, MO52.83160348112135
81Pearl City, HI52.81341024648163
82New York, NY52.76761661783020
83Lexington-Fayette, KY52.73923010914057
84Cincinnati, OH52.681158913015719
85Des Moines, IA52.6414724934575
86St. Paul, MN52.5482281707265
87Oakland, CA52.433711415919106
88Anchorage, AK52.40973812311074
89Columbus, OH52.311482614012530
90Huntsville, AL52.28146312093101
91St. Louis, MO52.25727711817923
92Oklahoma City, OK52.071431910411358
93Anaheim, CA52.052317212821112
94Cape Coral, FL52.0577732296153
95Nashville, TN51.96125809816824
96Arlington, TX51.8912184436794
97Tacoma, WA51.72945113512078
98Aurora, CO51.67471031566698
99El Paso, TX51.651121241156166
100Glendale, CA51.571216513250149
101Irving, TX51.51997632102114
102Cheyenne, WY51.30135476660133
103Billings, MT51.281203280128100
104Greensboro, NC51.261021005210495
105Modesto, CA51.18485695122157
106Aurora, IL51.181322913132124
107Long Beach, CA50.702217413364109
108Milwaukee, WI50.641287415212647
109Louisville, KY50.511244112017144
110Columbia, SC50.30136141869861
111Tallahassee, FL50.25133171916559
112Yonkers, NY50.10781161773158
113Tulsa, OK50.06159855410980
114Missoula, MT49.965617011613773
115Port St. Lucie, FL49.88114932876169
116Bakersfield, CA49.769070121117117
117Manchester, NH49.688675141114130
118Jersey City, NJ49.43698317553125
119Amarillo, TX49.401419514132129
120Rochester, NY49.401131331678171
121Knoxville, TN49.311061643917542
122Riverside, CA49.31911436085132
123Indianapolis, IN49.221304915114967
124Providence, RI49.1210114210614384
125Grand Prairie, TX48.90163724194143
126Buffalo, NY48.781118217311876
127Fresno, CA48.778512174124139
128Garland, TX48.73123625589156
129Casper, WY48.3713452124103155
130Worcester, MA48.32105119163105102
131Springfield, MO48.261271496114893
132Fort Wayne, IN47.931674548106145
133Chattanooga, TN47.731381085916396
134Santa Ana, CA47.677517710233161
135Lubbock, TX47.4815314638139108
136Nampa, ID47.331521407079150
137Wichita, KS47.3317016117135121
138Fort Smith, AR47.31129997165162
139Philadelphia, PA47.24816318018045
140Oxnard, CA47.186515416959178
141Salem, OR47.0813110990145144
142Wilmington, DE47.03107128164133110
143Norfolk, VA46.9916115912512772
144Corpus Christi, TX46.781621278315091
145Cleveland, OH46.581499614517464
146New Orleans, LA46.5814017916517312
147Fontana, CA46.2815114711292147
148Richmond, VA45.90104152155152105
149Las Cruces, NM45.8315516715468137
150Newport News, VA45.82150139100123148
151Mobile, AL45.8015413299151128
152Winston-Salem, NC45.781689864142140
153Birmingham, AL45.701651637316282
154Stockton, CA45.6684125153116170
155Bridgeport, CT45.647415318111182
156Akron, OH45.57157105148138131
157New Haven, CT45.4613916217454142
158Baltimore, MD45.421088717618162
159Little Rock, AR45.24144112101155154
160Laredo, TX45.031791074101168
161Ontario, CA44.891451698499165
162Columbus, GA44.8716413633141176
163Moreno Valley, CA44.3815815011195173
164Baton Rouge, LA43.9115615617215888
165North Las Vegas, NV43.70100148157167146
166Lewiston, ME43.6513771138172172
167Dover, DE42.78174157108108180
168Toledo, OH42.60142104171178118
169Memphis, TN42.2817316116016692
170Hialeah, FL42.2410318212752181
171Brownsville, TX42.1818213836112177
172Charleston, WV41.9617511051176166
173Fayetteville, NC41.81169173129147151
174Montgomery, AL41.76178129119144164
175San Bernardino, CA40.82166175149129174
176Jackson, MS40.36180134143134160
177Augusta, GA40.1317616088170167
178Detroit, MI39.91171131179177103
178Huntington, WV39.9117216849182141
180Shreveport, LA37.64177176162156179
181Gulfport, MS37.0018117850169175
182Newark, NJ36.29116180182159171

Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

artwork 2022 best cities for keeping your new years resolutions

Ask The Experts

For insight on the challenges in keeping resolutions and tips on overcoming them, we asked a panel of experts to share their thoughts on the following key questions:

  • What tips do you have for people to improve their financial habits in the new year?
  • Why do so many people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions? What can they do to increase their odds of success?
  • What age-appropriate resolutions can help kids build skills and habits that will serve them well into adulthood?
  • Without a doubt, the pandemic affected the majority of Americans’ financial plans. Given that paying off debt or saving a lot of money might not be feasible plans for a few years, what should people keep in mind in order to make – and keep – realistic financial resolutions?
  • Does using phrasing of “New Year’s Resolutions” deter people from making them? How else can we refer to them?

Methodology

In order to determine the best cities for keeping your New Year’s resolutions, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across five key dimensions: 1) Health Resolutions, 2) Financial Resolutions, 3) School & Work Resolutions, 4) Bad-Habit Resolutions and 5) Relationship Resolutions.

We evaluated those dimensions using 57 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for achieving one’s New Year’s goals. Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available only at the state level. For metrics marked with two asterisks (**), we used the square root of the population to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. In determining our sample, we considered only the city proper in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area.

Health Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Share of Obese Adults: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Share of Adults Not Exercising: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Access to Exercise Opportunities: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Access to Healthy-Food Stores: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Inadequate Fruit & Vegetable Consumption: Full* Weight (~2.00 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of adults who eat fewer than one serving of fruit or vegetables per day.
  • Share of Residents Who Say They Eat Healthy: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on Gallup and Sharecare’s 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating report which examines healthy eating across the nation.
  • Fitness Centers per Capita: Full** Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Weight-Loss Centers per Capita: Full** Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Average Monthly Fitness-Club Fee: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)

Financial Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Median Annual Income: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Income Growth (2015–2019): Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Median Credit Score: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Median Credit-Card Debt: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: “Debt” was calculated per person as share of median earnings.
  • Share of Delinquent Debtors: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Mortgage Debt: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: “Debt” was calculated per person as share of median earnings.
  • Non-Mortgage Debt: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: “Debt” was calculated per person as share of median earnings.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Share of Households with Emergency Savings: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of households that saved for unexpected expenses or emergencies in the past 12 months.
  • Homeownership Rate: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Rental Affordability: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Annual Price for Two-Bedroom Apartment Rental / Median Annual Household Income.
  • Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Median House Price / Median Annual Household Income.
  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Financial-Products Comparison: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the real intent of the population to compare “credit cards”, “mortgage rates”, “car insurance” and “car loans”. “Real intent” is measured using the average monthly search volumes for those specific terms.

School & Work Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Share of Public Schools Rated by GreatSchools.org with Above Average Score: Double Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Average Quality of Universities: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the average WalletHub College & University Score.
  • High School Dropout Rate: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
  • Job Opportunities: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Number of Job Openings per Number of Population in Labor Force – Unemployment Rate.
  • Median Annual Income: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Income Growth (2015–2019): Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Double Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Underemployment Rate: Double Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Job Security: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: (Number of Employees in 2021 September – Number of Employees in 2020 September) / Number of Employees in 2020 September.
  • Job Satisfaction: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
  • Sharecare’s Community Well-Being “Purpose” Index Score: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: The “Purpose” Rank is defined as “Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.”
  • Employment Outlook: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
  • Business Startup-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Large Cities to Start a Business” ranking.

Bad-Habit Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Binge Drinking: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the age-adjusted prevalence of binge drinking among adults aged 18 and older.
  • Share of Adult Smokers: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Marijuana Users: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of the population aged 12 and older who used marijuana in the past month.
  • Access to Opioids: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of opioid pain-reliever prescriptions per 100 residents.
  • Drug Overdose-Related Deaths: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Adults with Gambling Disorders: Full* Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Adults with Inadequate Sleep: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of adults sleeping fewer than seven hours per night.
  • Share of Adults in Fair or Poor Health: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Adults Who Visited a Doctor and/or Dentist in the Past Year: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)

Relationships Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Nightlife Establishments per Capita: Full** Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Restaurants per Capita: Full** Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Attractions: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: “Attractions” include, for instance, zoos, museums and theaters.
  • Park Playgrounds per Capita: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Parkland Acres per Capita: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Average Wedding Cost: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: “Cost” was calculated as share of median earnings.
  • Family-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family” ranking.
  • Fun Opportunities: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Most Fun Cities in America” ranking.
  • Singles-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Cities for Singles” ranking.
  • Sports Fan-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Sports Cities” ranking.
  • Sharecare’s Community Well-Being “Social” Index Score: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
    Note: The “Social” Rank is defined as “Having supportive relationships and love in your life.”
  • Share of Residents Who Regularly Talk or Spend Time with Friends and Family: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)

 
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Council for Community and Economic Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Wedding Report, County Health Rankings, Yelp, Numbeo, TransUnion, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, GreatSchools, Corporation for National and Community Service, National Council on Problem Gambling, Indeed, Chmura Economics & Analytics, ManpowerGroup, Google Ads, Sharecare, TripAdvisor, The Trust for Public Land, Gallup – Sharecare and WalletHub research.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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