A quick Google search for the UK’s most popular New Year’s resolutions reveals something that will surprise none of us: they are almost all related to health. One in three of us wishes to exercise more, lose weight or improve our diet. Indeed, according to this Telegraph article, only two of the top ten are concerned with something else.
The top ten New Year’s resolutions, according to ComRes:
1. Exercise more
2. Lose weight
3. Eat healthily
4. Take an active approach to health
5. Learn a new skill or hobby
6. Spend time on personal wellbeing
7. Spend time with family and friends
8. Drink less alcohol
9. Stop smoking
An obvious theory behind this is that resolutions tend to be made, hastily, towards the end of our Christmas breaks. At this most gluttonous time of the year, resolutions are often made out of guilt in the knowledge of our recent consumption of things like chocolate and alcohol.
According to the latest ComRes polls, only 37% of adults who made New Year’s resolutions kept them throughout the course of the year. Of the remaining 63%, 43% of their resolutions didn’t make it past January and 80% of them didn’t make it past March. Which raises the question: what causes this failure?
It’s a combination of things. The worst resolutions in the world are unspecific, unrealistic, can’t be measured and aren’t exciting. When creating any sort of goal, these ‘qualities’ are to be avoided and their opposites embraced. Make them specific. Make them realistic. Make them measurable and make them exciting. There might not be anything exciting about saving money each month, but there certainly is about the holiday in Italy at the end of it.