It is very common for people to strive for a fresh start each new year. Therefore, every year people across the UK pledge a New Year’s resolution in an attempt to change their lifestyle for the better. However, some resolutions are more likely to be achieved than others.
In 2016, YouGov conducted a survey which revealed that 63% of Brits planned to make a New Year’s resolution. Despite this, it was said that only 8% of people actually kept their New Year’s resolutions. In fact, 32% admitted that they usually break their resolution by the end of January. Here, we take a look at some of the most common New Year’s resolutions and investigate how achievable they actually are.
The Quest to Quit Smoking
In 2016, it was found that around 15.8% of adults smoked in the UK, which equates to around 7.6 million of the population. However, these figures do in fact show a significant decline in the number of smokers across the UK when compared to previous years.
Since the 2007 ban, which resulted in people no longer being allowed to smoke indoors, smoking has become less common and more people have made an effort to quit. Around half of the 2.3 million people using e-cigarettes say they use them to quit smoking, and 22% of them vape because they believe it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes.
According to an article by The Telegraph, 9% of New Year’s resolutions made across the UK are to stop smoking. However, the report also said that half of those who set New Year’s resolutions had their doubts about not sticking to it.
After spending a month celebrating many festivities, Dry January is a very common New Year’s resolution — and a New Year’s resolution that only needs to last one month sounds pretty easy, right? Dry January, or drinking less alcohol in general, has proven to be one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. According to The Telegraph, 12% of resolution-makers wanted to drink less alcohol in the coming year — and according to AlcoholPolicy.net, one in six Brits attempted to have a month off alcohol in 2016, which included 26,000 official sign-ups. The media provides plenty of exposure and encouragement to participants, with 1,549 media mentions of the initiatives in the UK in 2016, too.
Social media also helps to provide a stronger indication around the popularity and user engagement of the campaign, with the official Facebook page acquiring 46,000 likes. To date, Instagram has hosted 70,487 posts associated with #dryjanuary and 9,363 posts for #dryjan.
Drinking alcohol is linked to many health concerns, from diabetes and depression to weight gain and addiction, which are often key reasons why people decide to give it up for a month. According to AlcoholConcern.org.uk, 49% of Dry January participants said they lost weight during the month-long period, whilst 62% said they had better sleep and more energy as a result. 79% said they saved money!
New Year, New Physique
Again, after spending a month eating only good food, joining a gym in the quest to lose weight is a very common resolution. The Telegraph reported that this New Year’s resolution to exercise more was most common in 2017 at 38%. Come the New Year, many people want to get rid of the Christmas bulge fast, which is why many set new fitness goals and exercise more.
It was reported that as of May 2017, around one in every seven people was a member of a gym across the UK. However, January is said to be one of the busiest months for gyms across the UK. In fact, according to Google Trends, searches for ‘gyms’ and ‘gym memberships’ have peaked in January every year for the past five years. January 2017 exceeded every year previously, with 405,280 searches for ‘gyms’ and 120,760 searches for ‘gym memberships’ proving this to be a very common resolution.
Whether the aim is to bulk, build muscle, tone up, lose weight, or simply improve fitness levels, the New Year is usually a fresh start for those looking to work on their physique or even starting early to work towards their goals for their summer holidays. It is evident that January motivation is everywhere.
However, there is evidence that this motivation is only temporary. Looking at the months of February and March each year, interest seems to significantly drop. Now that social media has claimed such a large influence in the fitness industry through the likes of bloggers, those resolving to exercise more and reach their fitness goals have access to more inspiration and encouragement.
Diets, workouts and workout supplements are increasingly pushed out across social media through the likes of personal trainers, fitness enthusiasts and dieticians. They use Instagram and social media apps alike to encourage their followers, as public figures and fitness influencers, to shout about their favourite workout routines, diet plans and choice of protein shakes, drinks and supplements. This helps encourage people to achieve their goals and not give up.
Diets are trends that many of us can admit to trying at some point in our life, with two thirds of Brits admitting that they are on a diet ‘most of the time’. However, how successful are New Year diets?
It comes as no surprise that diet-related New Year’s resolutions are second on the list for the UK, with exercising and setting new fitness goals topping the list. In the same article from The Telegraph, 33% of resolutions made were to lose weight and 32% were to eat more healthily. This is significantly more common amongst women, rather than men. According to YouGov, 36% of women and over a quarter of men (26%) aim to eat more healthily.
Sticking to a diet requires a lot of commitment and motivation. Rather than a temporary fix, it is recommended that you choose a diet that becomes a lifestyle change. Veganism is just one example — supported by the Veganuary campaign that runs every January and encourages people to go vegan for one month. In January 2017, over 60,000 people signed up to Veganuary, a 260% growth on the previous year. This campaign looks to be achieving its aim too — with a 350% increase in the number of vegans now living in the UK.
Whatever resolution you decide to make, all resolutions require commitment and discipline. Whether it is to do with your health and fitness, or even improving your family, social and work life, always set out a realistic resolution so that you can make it a reality. Stay motivated and you’ll soon see the benefits of your lifestyle change. Even though, most people struggle to see their New Year’s resolution through, stay strong and become a part of that 8% that are successful!