As we prepare to say goodbye to the current year and welcome the new one, reflections on the goals we’ve set come to the forefront. It’s a fresh start, an opportunity to forge new routines that can enhance our daily lives and break free from any bad habits. In fact, a recent survey of 2001 UK residents found that over 3 in 10 individuals are committing to health and beauty resolutions in 2024 in pursuit of self-improvement for the new year.
The study, conducted by white goods and electrical retailer Currys, asked Brits about the aspects of health that they intend to prioritise the most in their resolutions. The top one, which 27% of Brits will prioritise, is to lose weight. Weight loss can not only boost your confidence, but it can also promote health benefits such as lower blood sugar and pressure levels, reduced stress on bones and joints, and decreased strain on the heart. Being overweight or obese can increase your chances of developing conditions that are risk factors for heart disease.
The second was exercising regularly; 18% of Brits said they wanted to be more active in the new year. It is recommended that adults incorporate regular physical activity into their routine, as it helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke while also contributing to improved mental well-being.
And in third place, 13% of Brits plan to incorporate a well-balanced diet in the new year. Our bodies require a well-balanced diet that includes all the food groups to provide the necessary nutrients for effective functioning and repair.
Sarah Spence, a personal trainer and online coach, advises on how to achieve success when it comes to your health goals, with simplicity and consistency being key. She said: “Personal trainers love to use SMART goals, meaning the goal should be specific, measured, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Let’s say your goal is ‘I want to lose weight’ Then ask yourself: how much weight specifically do I want to lose?, how can you measure this (will you weigh yourself or use photos?), when do you want to achieve this?, and is this a realistic time frame given how much I want to commit to it?
“I love to encourage my clients to make positive goals too. Rather than limiting yourself with goals like ‘no chocolate’, what about flipping these to more positive targets, for example, aiming to eat some protein in every meal or getting out for a 20-minute walk every day? Things that add to your life rather than restrict you.
“Dependant on the goal, three months of commitment and consistency is enough time to really see good change. Consistency is the key factor here! Ultimately, we want a healthy lifestyle, not a quick fix. So, make decisions that will help in the long term, not just for a few months.”
The data sheds light on the resolution landscape in the UK, uncovering that 15% of Brits have set resolutions in the past, with a regrettable pattern of these commitments lasting merely 1–2 weeks before reverting to familiar bad habits. Moreover, 30% of participants in the study have been unsuccessful at maintaining resolutions.
The top four factors leading to resolution abandonment are as follows: A significant 33% said a “lack of motivation” was a key challenge, closely followed by 31% pointing to a shortfall in ‘willpower’. Additionally, 16% encounter obstacles arising from the common pitfall of setting “overly ambitious and unrealistic goals”, while 14% admit they are ‘not quite ready to embrace the necessary changes’ for resolution success.
Sarah Spence, however, believes it is not motivation that is key to resolution success but, in fact, discipline. She said: “Keeping momentum and staying motivated can be hard, especially during colder and darker months. I really empathise with this struggle; it’s tough, and I talk about it a lot on my Instagram channel. It takes discipline, not motivation. Motivation will help you for about 10 days.”
“You’ve got to build the discipline; set your clothes out, plan your week, set your alarm, book your classes, do your food shopping when you’re not hungry, plan your meals, and show up on the days you don’t want to. If that’s still tough, book a class with a friend so you can’t let them down, or tell someone your plan for the week and get them to keep you accountable. Or sometimes just writing your goals down and sticking it on the bathroom mirror or fridge can help too.”