New Year’s resolutions: unlocking the secrets of success

To get the inside scoop on how we really approach New Year's resolutions, Zing Coach surveyed 2,000 adults about all things self-improvement.

New Year’s resolutions: unlocking the secrets of success

It’s the final tradition of the holiday season: the New Year's resolution. The parties and the presents are over, and it’s time to think about what comes next – for better or worse.We’ve all seen the social media posts – new year, new me, and all that – but how many of us actually stick to our promises? And what influences whether we succeed or fail?To get the inside scoop on how we really approach New Year's resolutions, Zing Coach surveyed 2,000 adults about all things self-improvement.

New year, new me?

Given the calorific nature of the festive season (not to mention the booze), it’s perhaps no surprise that many of us start off the year with a pledge to get in shape.

Indeed almost three-quarters of us wanted to get healthier this year: with 46% of respondents saying they wanted to spend more time exercising, and 27% saying they would eat better.

That’s a lot of promises. But did they work out? As you might expect, the answer to that is more complicated.

First the good news: 67% of people said that they made significant progress in improving their health. Perhaps we should be less cynical, then, about those social media statuses.

A further 27% said they made some progress, just not as much as they wanted to. So at least all those shiny new gym memberships didn’t go to waste entirely.

As for the others, 4% said they saw no change in their health, while 2% confessed that their eating and exercise habits actually got worse throughout the year.

What went wrong?

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, most of us know what it’s like to concede defeat. But what exactly is it that causes us to throw in the towel?

Our survey threw up some interesting answers, with everything from work commitments to unhelpful spouses getting a share of the blame.

The most common answer was stress, with 30% saying that it was the strain from their personal life that led them to break their resolution. A further 10% blamed a stressful job.

Money proved to be another fly in the ointment. 20% of people said that eating healthily was too expensive to maintain, while 10% said they struggled to afford the costs of working out.

One in five said they were just too busy to get healthier, while 10% said their partner was to blame for them lapsing back into bad habits.

Better luck next time?

New Year’s resolutions might not be easy to keep, but at least you get to try again next time. So what sort of health resolutions are we planning to make this time around?

Of those planning to make a fitness resolution in 2024, 20% said they were looking to improve their health in general – rather than pursuing any specific goal.

The next most popular option was working out, with 18% of respondents saying they wanted to push themselves to exercise more.

17% said they will improve their diet and eat better, with the same amount saying their main goal was to shift some pounds (whether that means exercising more or eating less).

Around one in three of us are taking a more holistic approach to health, with 15% saying they will prioritize their mental health in 2024 and 13% saying they want to improve their sleep.

Turning to technology?

Technology can do a lot of things these days – just ask your nearest AI chatbot. But can it help us stick to our New Year’s resolutions?

Some of us clearly think so, with 37% of respondents saying they were putting their faith in technology to help them stick to their fitness goals.

22% said they would be trying new apps, online platforms, or memberships to help them improve their health, while 15% said they would be using a habit tracker. These kinds of tools can help you stay on top of your health by recording and visualizing your progress. Think Duolingo, but for fitness.

26% of respondents said they would be taking up a new sport or workout (spin class here we come…) while 7% want to run a race (or undertake another exercise challenge) for charity.

And who said fitness has to be a chore? Not the 12% of respondents who said their first step to a healthy 2024 would be creating the perfect workout playlist.

Meanwhile, 9% will be kicking off their New Year's resolution by buying themselves some new activewear, while 5% say they will join a support group to help them get in shape.

Going the distance?

We all know how it goes: the gym is never busier than it is in those first few weeks of January. But what happens after that?We asked our survey subjects just how long they managed to stick to their last New Year's resolution. And the answers were very interesting indeed.

36% of respondents said they managed to go the whole mile, making their resolution last until the end of the year (or at least up until the time of the survey).

By contrast, another 29% told us they were done with their resolutions within the first months of the year, or even by the end of January. At least they were honest...

Others managed to do a bit better, with 25% saying they gave up some time between April and the end of June, and 10% saying they fell off the wagon later in the summer.

Still, these experiences clearly haven’t knocked our confidence, with 90% of us feeling confident that we can stick to our resolution this time around.

So will 2024 be the year that we all achieve our fitness goals? It won’t be long before we find out whether that optimism is justified…

Methodology: To create this study, researchers from Zing Coach surveyed 2,000 adults aged over 18 years old. The study includes participants of all genders and ethnicities.

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