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Which New Year's Resolutions work the best for men and women?

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Do you have trouble keeping your New Year Resolutions?

What’s the difference between men and Women?

Men and Women Cartoon

Dr Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, has led a team of psychologists that tracked more than 3,000 people and their desired attempt to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions over the course of a year. You may be surprised at the differences between how Men and Women approach their goals.

Weight loss, working out at the gym more, quitting smoking or drinking less

The participants chose a range of things including: weight loss, working out at the gym more, quitting smoking or drinking less.

Confident at the start!

At the very beginning of the project, 52% of the participants were confident of success but, as Wiseman and his team discovered, only 12% actually achieved their goals.

Men Chose goals that were specific rather than general...

The results showed Men were 22% more likely to succeed when they set goals for themselves, such as losing a pound a week rather than losing weight in general. In addition, men tended to succeed when they focused on rewards, such as losing weight to become more attractive to the opposite sex.

Women found that sharing helped them more...

In contrast, Women were more successful at keeping their New Year’s resolutions when they shared their goals with close family and friends. Telling others about their resolutions increased women’s chance of keeping resolutions by 10%.

The differences between men and Women...

“Men may be more likely to adopt a macho attitude and have unrealistic expectations, and so simple goal setting helps them achieve more,” Dr Wiseman said. “Likewise, women might be reluctant to tell others about their resolutions, and so benefit more from the social support provided by friends and family once they have made their goals public.”

The resolutions that are most likely to succeed..

The resolutions most likely to succeed were:

Enjoy life more, which 32% of people stuck to;

Improve your fitness (29%);

Lose weight (28%);

Be more organised (27%);

Quit or cut down drinking (25%);

Quit or cut down smoking (24%).

If you would like to take part in Richard Wiseman’s new year-long experiment to study New Year’s resolutions simply go to: newyearscience.co.uk


The Top Ten Tips from the NHS website.

Here's the NHS Livewell website's top tips for making your New Year work for you...

Top 10 goal-setting tips

1. Make only one resolution. Your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.

2. Don't wait until New Year's Eve to choose your resolution. Take some time out a few days before and think about what you want to achieve.

3. Avoid previous resolutions. Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.

4. Don't run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.

5. Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable and time-based.

6. Tell your friends and family about your goals. You're more likely to get support and want to avoid failure.

7. To stay motivated, make a checklist of how achieving your resolution will help you.

8. Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, which will help to motivate you and give you  a sense of progress.

9. Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.

10. Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.

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