New year aspirations: Aussies set sights on healthier lifestyles and improved savings

Dec 30, 2023
While people love setting goals, they often struggle to stick to them. Source: Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS.

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, the air is thick with resolutions and promises for a better year ahead.

Setting a New Year’s resolution has become a tradition, an inspiring way to embark on a fresh chapter. However, with statistics revealing that only about two-thirds of Australians manage to stick to their resolutions beyond January, the quest for self-improvement is not without its challenges.

According to a recent survey conducted by the comparison website Finder, a whopping 73 percent of Australians have set New Year’s resolutions for 2024, equivalent to 14.8 million people. The survey, which polled just over 1000 Australians, highlighted that the main areas where Aussies aim to excel are health and personal finances.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Rachael Murrihy, from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), explained that the new year serves as a “punctuation” in time, offering the motivation and drive needed to make resolutions.

However, she cautions that while people love setting goals, they often struggle to stick to them.

“Although we love setting goals, we’re just not that good at sticking to them,” she told AAP.

“I think the problem is people rely on the excitement of the moment to motivate them, but the excitement wears off.”

A healthier start to the year is a significant goal for many, with 39 percent resolving to eat healthier, 36 percent planning to improve their fitness regimes, and 33 percent pledging to lose weight.

Financial wellness is also at the forefront, with 54 percent aiming to save more money in 2024, while 34 percent intend to spend less. Additionally, 14 percent of respondents expressed a desire to increase their earnings, and 13 percent aimed to build an emergency fund.

Dr. Murrihy emphasises the importance of breaking lofty goals into smaller, achievable steps for success.

“As human beings we’re driven by the idea of mastery,” she said.

“Let’s say for the first month of training for a marathon you decide you’re going to train for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

“When you are successful at that, it brings you motivation and that keeps you going.”

For those aspiring to keep their resolutions this year, experts suggest some key strategies:

Be specific: You can’t achieve your goal if you don’t know what it means! Instead of saying you’re going to “eat better”, figure out what this means to you. Maybe your goal is to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day or replace soft drinks with sparkling water. Being specific will help you stick to your goal and track your progress.

Be consistent: Nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to fall off the bandwagon every once in a while. The important thing is that you get back on track and keep looking forward. Getting down on yourself or dwelling on your lost progress will only make achieving your goal more difficult in the long run.

Take it one step at a time: You can’t go from zero to hero straight away. If you’re struggling with the money basics, becoming a share trading whiz might not be the best resolution for you. Focus on learning how to budget, and set up a dedicated savings account if you haven’t already.

As Australians usher in the new year with resolutions in hand, the key to success lies not only in the determination to change but in the practical and achievable steps taken to make those aspirations a reality.

-with AAP.

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