The curse of the New Year's resolution - more than half of Brits admit to failure before they even start

8 January 2017

It's no surprise that the top health resolution for 2017 is to lose weight, followed by exercising more and being less stressed.

However, in a poll of 2,000 Brits, Bupa found that of the people who said they would be setting a New Year's resolution, half were not confident they would stick to it.

In a bid to counter this trend, 52% said that setting small, more achievable goals will help them stick to their New Year's resolution.  Around one in five people also admitted to setting overly ambitious, potentially unsustainable goals.

More women (58%) than men (45%) say setting smaller and realistic goals will help them keep their New Year's resolutions, while more men (26%) than women (21%) say technology is the key to helping them keep their goals on track.

Dr Steven Lutrell, Interim Director for Bupa Cromwell Hospital, recommends the following tips to building will power and sticking to New Year resolutions:

1. Start small: Habits are challenging to engrain into everyday life; set smaller, more realistic goals and gradually build on them.  If you want to improve your fitness, start with easier exercises and work your way up from there.

2.  Plan:  Routine is the key to sticking to a goal.  When we're not in a routine, we have to make decisions quickly, which opens us up to weaknesses and temptation.  If your goal is to lose weight or eat healthier, plan your meals for the week ahead, write a shopping list and don't go shopping when you're hungry!  There are lots of health apps which can help you plan and track your goals.

3. Prompts and reminders:  Leave prompts that will remind you of your goals.  If your New Year's resolution is to walk more, leave your running shoes somewhere you'll see them, like the front door or in the kitchen.  Setting yourself reminders on your mobile phone or using apps that send you notifications will encourage you to stick to your goals.

4.  Change your environment:  Acknowledge your weaknesses and the things in your life that might have stopped you from reaching your resolution.  For example, if you want to eat less, use a smaller plate, if you want to cut back on snacking, don't put snacks near you and if it's the smell of a bakery on the way that triggers you to relapse, then think about taking a different route home.

5.  Address emotional stresses:  One of the reasons we adopt unhealthy habits is to help us cope with other issues in our life.  Look to see how you can address these underlying areas.  This will help build your mental strength to take on change.

6.  Social support:  Friends and family are some of the biggest influencers in our lives; sharing your goals with them can often help.  They will also often support you to keep on track and congratulate you on success which is also an important part of achieving your goals.

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