New Year, New You?

At the beginning of 2015, over 1,500 people were asked about the changes they were looking to make and here were the top 10:

1) Get fitter and healthier (63%)

2) Drink less alcohol (57%)

3) Lose weight (34%)

4) Get out of debt (26%)
5) Stop smoking (22%)
6) Find a new job/change career (18%)
7) Spend more time with friends/family (14%)
8) Start my own business (11%)
9) Travel more (9%)
10) Find love (7%) 

These are probably very familiar and are likely to have appeared on your list more than once. As hopeful as we are at the beginning of the year, apparently, only one in eleven of us will manage to keep our resolutions going for six months, and forty percent of us give up after just two weeks. 

We all know that these changes are good for us, but it's so hard committing to them. Does it mean we should forget about making resolutions as we know we’re going to fail anyway?


Let’s look at that list again, you might notice that some of those changes are quite significant. Take the top item that most people wanted to do, which was to get fitter and healthier. First of all, it’s very general, there are no actual goals and what do people mean by ‘fitter and healthier’? Try changing it to "I will start running two times a week and after six months I will sign up for a 5k run". When it's more specific it becomes something that you might actually do. 


Losing weight is also another common resolution and can require a number of habit changes like consuming less sugar, eating more vegetables, and exercising. Studies have found that immediate rewards like how good you feel after exercising are better motivators than the indirect ones like losing weight and getting fit. Break down what you need to do to lose weight and turn them into habits. Losing weight will become a by-product of these new habits.

Most resolutions are about forming new habits and research suggests that this can take between 2 – 9 months to form depending on the complexity of the habit. Read our blog post on how to form new habits to get started.

I’ve been thinking about the changes I am looking to make in 2016 and I’m going to share them with you, here is my list:

1) Read 5 non-fiction books 


I have been trying to read Daniel Kahneman’s "Thinking, Fast and Slow" since October 2015 and have been making little progress. I prefer fiction, but I want to expand my thinking and five seems like an achievable goal. I’m going to try to read at other times of the day rather than just at bedtime.

2) Keep walking at least 30 minutes a day and running twice a week


Last summer I started to do a daily 30-minute walk to work from the train station as I hadn't been getting on with running. After a few months, I found that it helped with my running. I wrote a blog post about it which you can read here. The only way I can make myself run is to change into my running gear straight away when I get home. It’s important for me to have this in my list as it’s too easy to give up on both.

3) Stop interrupting people mid-conversation


I’ve been working on this one for years. I often think of questions when people are talking as I have a genuine interest in what they’re saying. Sometimes I don’t stop myself in time and end up interrupting the person talking. I’m getting better, but it’s a working progress.

4) Spend an hour learning coding once a week


This one I’ve been meaning to do since the end of 2014 and I started but then my laptop broke and it totally grounded to a halt. However, I have a new one so I should be able to start learning how to code again. Once a week because I know if I put down any more time it’ll become off-putting.  

5) Spend an hour a week learning to make sugar flowers


My friends are getting married next year and I’ve been asked to make the cake. This is something I’ve wanted to learn anyway so I am looking forward to this one. I have about 8 months so maybe I need to do more than one hour a week!

6) Start meditating 5 – 10 minutes every day


I’m going to try and turn this one into a habit. Here is a video on how to start meditating which features an animated mouse if you’re interested.

7) Try to keep the house clean


I have left this quite open as you can probably tell it's not something I enjoy, it should probably be "I will spend one hour a week cleaning the house" but we'll see.

There, that’s my list so far, it’s not particularly ambitious and quite achievable. I might be adding to it throughout the year depending on how I get on. 

Not everyone feels the need to make resolutions, some people are quite content with things as they are. Don’t feel pressured to make changes but if you know there are ways you can make your life easier or happier, then give it a go.


Keep your goals small and manageable and stick with it. If you fail, start again. It’s far more common to hear the success stories, but there are way more stories about failure than we realise. Often success isn't possible without failure, it's a learning process. Just know you can do it if you try and remember, resolutions aren’t just for the New Year.

“Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.” - Ovid

If you would like more inspiration, here are 5 Resolutions That Will Change Your Life or you can try shaking up your life in 7 days. 


We'd love to hear about any changes you are planning to make and any tips you have on how to keep them going.

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