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Two thirds of UK adults making New Year’s resolutions

Caroline Hawkings Managing Director 23/12/2019

As the festive season ramps up — and with overindulgence seemingly unavoidable — we’ve been looking ahead to the new year, and the resolutions Brits will be making to kick off the next decade with a clean slate.

Perhaps, with age, our optimism for success wanes from the experience of past failures.

Overall, two thirds (67%) of Brits say they are making New Year’s resolutions in 2020, up on half (50%) who say they made one last year. For those who are making a resolution for the coming year, it’s the younger generations who are most keen — with the figure rising to over eight in ten (87%) for both 16-24-year olds and 25-34-year olds (83%).

Conversely, just over a quarter (27%) of those over the age of 65 say they will be making a resolution for 2020, while half of 55-64-year olds (50%) say the same; perhaps, with age, our optimism for success wanes from the experience of past failures.

Our data also points to Londoners as significantly more likely to have made resolutions for 2020 with eight in ten (79%) having made some, up on the two thirds (63%) of Londoners who say they made some last year.

Money, fitness and giving up smoking

But what are the New Year’s resolutions that Britons will be making?

More than half (55%) say they want to save money, with other popular resolutions including losing weight (46%), getting fit (39%) and reducing stress (34%).

Our data points to saving money as a particularly popular resolution with women, with nearly two-thirds (60%) saying this, compared with just under half of men (48%).

Likewise, approaching two thirds of 16-24-year olds (63%) say they have a New Year’s resolution to save money. This percentage drops with every age group surveyed, with just two fifths (41%) of 65+ year olds saying the same.

Overall, it seems health is a recurring theme in the New Year’s resolutions set by Britons for 2020. Almost half say they plan to lose weight (46%), two in five want to get fit (39%), one in five plan to quit smoking (20%) and one in ten intend to give up alcohol (11%).

Interestingly, despite these overall trends, it appears these health-based resolutions do differ slightly between men and women.

While women are more likely than men to have set an active resolution to lose weight (54% vs 37% of men) or to get fit (42% vs 36% of men), men are more likely to be trying to give up  habits such as drinking (15% vs 9%) and smoking (24% vs 18%).

Seemingly not put off by the eye-watering price of property in the capital, approaching two in five (17%) Londoners say they have made a resolution to buy a house in 2020.

This compares to just one in ten in areas such as the Midlands (10%) and the North (8%). Unsurprisingly, more than one in ten young people across Britain have made the same resolution, with 16-24-year olds (16%) and 25-34-year olds (15%) significantly more likely than older age groups such as 55-64-year olds (2%) and 65+ (4%).

Who kept their 2019 resolutions?

Despite two-thirds (67%) of Britons saying they have made a resolution for 2020, just half (50%) say they made one last year. Perhaps surprisingly, given how much is made of the difficulty in sticking to resolutions, of those who did make a resolution last year, nearly half (45%) say they stuck to it, while a similar proportion (47%) say they did not.

What may not come as a shock is when resolutions made last year were broken, with over half coming in either January (26%) or February (28%), and a further one in five (18%) lasting only as far as March.

Perhaps offering an alternate explanation for why the 65+ age group were much less likely to be making a resolution for 2020 is how long they were able to keep up resolutions made last year.

While just 35% of 16-24-year olds broke their resolutions last year in January or February, this rises significantly among 65+ year olds who broke their resolutions in the same period (39% in January, and 26% in February.)

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