New Year resolutions: Promising by yards, performing by inches

By Vikram Barhat | December 21, 2010 | Last updated on December 21, 2010
2 min read

To many Canadians, a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. And that’s perhaps why their health problems last longer than their New Year’s resolutions, as the recent Sun Life Financial study found.

One of the key findings from the online survey, which included 1,586 adults, revealed that Canadians want to start 2011 on a healthy note but lack the motivation to make it stick.

“Any resolution to improve your health is a step in the right direction and working together with a friend, loved one or professional to put together a plan which incorporates your changes makes them easier to stick to,” said Lori Casselman, assistant vice-president, health and productivity solutions, group benefits, Sun Life Financial Canada. “Look into wellness offerings that may be available at work that can keep you motivated and provide support, which we know is key to any successful change.”

According to the survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid, three-quarters of Canadians are resolving to improve something about themselves. As is often the case, health-based resolutions are by far the most popular. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they resolve to either increase exercise or lose weight in 2011. Another 31% resolution-makers promised themselves they’d eat healthier.

However, if making New Year resolutions is an annual ritual, the study bears out that breaking them is part of the cycle.

“When it comes to making permanent changes, eight out of 10 respondents admit they’ve failed to keep past resolutions with a lack of motivation,” it said. Willpower, or lack thereof, tripped 76% of those surveyed who identified it as the main barrier to maintaining new year lifestyle changes.

Making resolutions doesn’t cost money and takes very little time, but as the study revealed, lack of money (38%) and paucity of time (35%) can make many of these well-intentioned pledges come a cropper.

No doubt some are easier to keep than others, as the poll found. More than half of Canadians (58%) said the resolution success or failure depends on what the resolution is.

Those whose resolution involved travelling found the drive but the ones who wanted to quit smoking faced an uphill battle.

Those who have resolved to travel someplace special, save money and spend more time with loved ones in 2011 have had the most success keeping past resolutions, according to the poll.

People who’ve resolved to drink less and quit smoking, however, reported the least success in the past.

Here’s hoping the New Year will bring them another chance to get it right.

Vikram Barhat