The new year is a time to reflect and reset. It can be a great starting point to prioritise your health, wealth, and lifestyle. So, with the start of 2024, why not make some New Year resolutions and kick-start the changes you have been meaning to make?
Top 2024 New Year Resolutions
According to the YouGov survey1, Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 24 are most likely to set new year goals, and those over 65 are the least likely. Also, women are more likely to make New Year pledges than men. So, what are this year’s top New Year resolutions?
YouGov’s top five list of resolutions is dominated by health goals. These include doing more exercise or improving fitness, losing weight, and eating better. Topping the list, as it usually does, is the goal of doing more exercise or otherwise improving physical fitness (56%). Spending less time on social media has joined the ranks in recent years and is fifth on the list this year.
Taking up a new hobby is also a popular choice, scooping 19% of those making New Year resolutions in 2024. If we consider that a new hobby can include doing more physical exercise, then this pushes a new hobby even further up the ranks.
New Year resolutions to boost your health
The most popular New Year’s resolutions include getting more exercise, losing weight, and eating a healthier diet. Here are some steps you can take to achieve your 2024 health goals. You can read more about keeping to health resolutions in our blog, How to Keep Your Health and Fitness Resolutions.
1. Doing more exercise or improving fitness
Make your exercise and fitness resolution achievable. If you haven’t exercised for a while, suddenly doing high-impact exercise every day may not be realistic.
We recommend sitting less and moving more. Adding more physical activity into your daily life is often an easier way to do more exercise and improve your fitness. Consider parking further away from your workplace, taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to pick up some shopping essentials rather than driving, and exercising while watching television.
As you become more physically active, you’ll feel more energised. As you feel the benefits, you can then gradually step up your exercise activities.
2. Losing weight
This resolution is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Being a healthy weight can help improve and head off health conditions.
We recommend that you focus on small and realistic diet and lifestyle changes at first and build on this. Don’t try fad diets that help you to lose weight fast as you’re less likely to experience successful, long-term weight loss.
To achieve a long-term goal to shed pounds healthily, you should eat healthy foods and get regular physical activity. Learn more in our blog How to Lose Weight Healthily.
3. Eating better
The best way to maintain a healthier diet is to change a few things at a time. This prevents you from feeling deprived or overwhelmed by a major diet overhaul.
Perhaps add a salad to your diet once a day and substitute biscuit and crisp snacks for fruit. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre (which can help you feel full), vitamins, and minerals. Replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Healthier eating can make a huge difference in how you look and feel.
Eat slowly and chew each bite. Turn off distractions and enjoy your food flavours. Stop eating before you feel full as it can take up to 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full.
Why are people pledging to spend less time on social media?
Many people want to spend less time scrolling through social feeds.
There is substantial evidence linking social media use with mental health problems. A 2023 BMC Psychology article states that while there are benefits of social media such as connectiveness it can also “lead to tremendous stress, pressure to compare oneself to others, and increased sadness and isolation.”2
Long lists of celebrities taking a break from social media or deactivating their accounts and leaving altogether may also motivate people to reduce their time on social media.
The time not engaging in social media can be used in fruitful ways such as hobbies and better health. Reducing social media use can also improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of developing eating disorders and low self-esteem.
What hobbies are trending?
A hobby is any activity that is frequently done for leisure.
Statistica reports that reading (42%) and cooking/baking (38%) are the two most popular hobbies and activities in the UK for respondents aged 18 to 64 years in September 2023.3
Outdoor activities, doing sports and fitness, and gardening and plants are also trending hobbies.
Health benefits of hobbies
Finding time for hobbies can be challenging, especially when you have a busy schedule. But carving out time to enjoy the things you love can bring numerous health benefits.
Frequently pursuing an enjoyable hobby can:
· Promote mental health and physical well-being – leisure activities can relieve boredom, improve your life satisfaction, engagement and positivity, and lead to better sleep and less depression. They can also reduce blood pressure, cortisol levels, and body mass index (BMI).4 Sporting hobbies can improve your physical and mental well-being.
· Reduce stress - hobbies can be a perfect distraction and stress release after a busy day.
· Improve relationships - sharing experiences through sporting or musical hobbies enhances enjoyment of the activity and reduces feelings of isolation.
· Increase productivity – a hobby can help you better manage stress and think creatively at work. A Harvard Business Review article states that hobbies can make workers substantially better at their jobs.5
Make positive changes this new year
It’s good to make positive changes at any time of the year. But the new year brings an opportunity for a fresh approach to life changes you want to embrace.
Be kind to yourself and set realistic resolutions. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to keep to your plan perfectly. Remember, some positive change is better than no change.