SALT LAKE CITY — If you live in Salt Lake City, your chances of keeping New Year's resolutions are pretty good.
At least, that's what a recent study by WalletHub claims.
The personal finance website released results earlier this month on "the best cities for keeping your New Year’s resolutions."
Researchers compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities and at least two of the most populated cities in each state — in five types of resolutions: health, financial, school and work, bad habits, and relationships.
They measured cities by 56 key factors within these categories.
"If you live in a neighborhood with no sidewalks or fitness centers nearby, for example, you may not feel as encouraged to exercise," wrote WalletHub's Adam McCann. "These might sound like excuses to the boldest resolvers, but they genuinely can get in the way of self-improvement."
Salt Lake City ranked seventh overall, and West Valley City, Utah's second-largest population center according to homes.com, was 65th.
The top-ranked cities overall were, in order:
- San Francisco, California
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- San Diego, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Irvine, California
The bottom five, from worst, were:
- Gulfport, Mississippi
- Shreveport, Louisiana
- Newark, New Jersey
- Fort Smith, Arkansas
- Detroit, Michigan
WalletHub also shared expert opinions from five psychology professors from universities across the country.
Most of these experts advised readers to split their resolutions and see them in two different ways: what overall lifestyle change are they trying to accomplish with each resolution, and specifically what plan of action they will take to achieve it. Most suggested breaking goals into smaller, measurable segments.
Salt Lake City ranked 21st in likelihood of keeping health-related New Year's resolutions. West Valley City was 68th.
The top five cities for keeping health resolutions were all in California: Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco, Huntington Beach and Los Angeles.
Factors included in health ranking included obesity rates, share of adults who exercise, access to exercise opportunities, fitness centers per capita, average monthly fitness center fees and healthy eating habits.
Health and fitness goals are some of the most commonly set New Year's resolutions — but are quick to be broken, said Madison Perkins, a co-owner, manager and trainer at Ute CrossFit Sugarhouse.
Perkins believes CrossFit is the best way to get in shape — from seasoned athletes to elderly women to 400-pound men. The exercises can be "scaled" to all ability levels, he said.
Still, he said the most important thing is to get up, get out and get moving. All exercise and all forms of progress are worthwhile, he said.
"At the end of the day, enjoy what you're doing," Perkins said. "If you're not enjoying it, go do something else."
"It might be intimidating, but people are nice. Nobody's going to judge you. And especially here, it's like a family," said Nadia Grant, who is working her way back into CrossFit after having a baby.
Whether it's CrossFit, the gym, going outside or any other exercise, Grant added that the most important thing is to "just show up," and to not beat yourself up if you don't meet specific goals you set.
Financial ranking factors included median annual income, cost of living, credit scores, debt, savings, homeownership, housing affordability and poverty rate.
Salt Lake City ranked 24th financially, West Valley 19th.
The No. 1 city for achieving financial New Year's resolutions was Overland Park, Kansas. Other top contenders included Fremont, California; Columbia, Maryland; Plano, Texas; and Warwick, Rhode Island.
In part of the WalletHub study, Arizona State University psychology professor Adam Cohen gave advice on making and keeping both financial and general resolutions.
"We want to save better for retirement, but we soon go back to buying our twice daily lattes. I think one issue is that people often focus on how much they want to accomplish their goal, and imagining how great it’s going to be when they’ve achieved their goal — but they don’t make concrete plans on how to achieve their goal, or follow through. My suggestion is instead of really resolving to save for retirement, to automate that through automatic withdrawals," Cohen said.
School and work
Salt Lake ranked 25th, and West Valley 44th in school and work-related resolutions.
Factors included school ratings, quality of universities, dropout vs. graduation rate, job opportunities, median annual income, recent income growth, unemployment rates, job security and satisfaction.
Plano, Texas, was the best ranked in this category, followed by Scottsdale, Arizona; Irvine, California; Amarillo and Grand Prairie, Texas.
Salt Lake was the 35th ranked city in keeping resolutions to break bad habits. West Valley City was 60th.
The city most likely to keep these resolutions was Columbia, Maryland, followed by San Jose, California; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Pearl City, Hawaii; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Factors included the share of adults who drink or smoke, marijuana and opioid users, drug-related deaths, gambling problems, sleep problems, general health level of adults, doctor visits and dentist visits.
Salt Lake City was the 22nd best for keeping relationship resolutions, while West Valley ranked 156th.
San Francisco and San Diego, California, were the top two in this category, followed by Portland, Oregon; Orlando, Florida; and Seattle, Washington.
Factors included per-capita numbers of restaurants, parks, nightlife and other entertainment opportunities, as well as average wedding costs, family-friendliness and single-friendliness.