Why did 45% of Brits abandon their New Year’s resolutions?
We swaggered into 2017 with plans to become a better version of ourselves. To be fitter, thriftier, and nicer.
But we lasted about 13 days.
According to our research, of the 45% of Brits who have given up on their New Year’s resolutions, it took a little less than two weeks to revert to old habits.
Which got us wondering, why do we make these promises in the first place? And why are we so quick to abandon them?
We asked 2,000 Brits across the UK* about their resolutions and analysed our own card machine data to gain insight into the truth behind the ‘NYR’ struggle.
Falling at the first hurdle: fitness failures
The most common New Year’s resolution revolved around fitness: 53% of Brits told us they wanted to get in shape in 2017. However, our data revealed gym sales fell 5% from January to February, while takeaway restaurants celebrated a 6% increase in January and got a huge 21% boost in February. Sounds like we hopped off the treadmill early and consoled ourselves with our favourite cuisine.
So the question is: why did we quit?
72% of gym hopefuls said they simply lost willpower. However, two thirds of those who set themselves a fitness goal, such as running a marathon or climbing a mountain, haven’t given up. Maybe being specific is the key.
Struggling with self-improvement
Beyond physical appearance, some of us wanted to change how we live, resolving to save more money (37%), socialise more (16%) and be nicer to people (15%). Many of us wanted to improve our health by giving up certain foods (15%), quitting smoking (13%) and giving up alcohol (9%).
However, it seems we may have been a bit ambitious.
Our data says bars saw a 5% increase in takings from January to February. Perhaps those who vowed to socialise more were doing it at the pub! However, there’s a chance that some of this influx in business was down to those who tried to give up alcohol and later relented – a whopping 76%.
In addition to loss of willpower, common reasons respondents gave for quitting was that they were “too busy” or their resolution was “too expensive”. 20% gave up on being nicer to people because it was just “too hard”.
The race to quit
Our survey revealed women are slightly better than men when it comes to sticking to their resolutions.
Both genders shared the most popular resolutions: getting into shape and saving more money. Women were also focused on socialising, giving up certain foods and learning something new, while men wanted to be nicer to people, quit smoking and travel more.
Of those who have already give up on their resolutions, women managed to hold on for 14 days, while men could only handle 13. Looking at age range, 18–24-year-olds held out the longest – they lasted an average of 15 days before giving up on their 2017 goals.
Out of everyone, smokers got burned out the quickest – those who couldn’t kick the habit only made it 12 days before they abandoned their resolution to stamp out the habit.
A map of hope and failure: regional resolutions
Our data revealed there was a bit of a regional divide too. It seems Scotland failed first, waiting an average of 11 days before giving up. The East Midlands held out for the longest: 16 days.
The priorities of people in each region also varied. London wanted to be kinder: 21% of Londoners made the resolution to be nicer to people, while the South West was the most determined region to get into shape. In Northern Ireland, 1 in 5 respondents said they wanted to quit smoking, while 10% of those in Yorkshire were determined to stop being a pushover.
Are you still keeping your New Year’s resolutions? Tell us your secret! Or, if you’ve abandoned your goals, we want to know why. Share in the comments below or tweet us @paymentsense.