Will the New Year’s Resolution Survive Month #2?
Last month, we posted a blog highlighting the New Year’s resolutions of people in the office, Winsper Commits to Employee Health. For our February blog post, I circled back with the office to see how everyone's new lifestyle was going in month #2.
I issued out a short survey to the office go-getters, asking them to summarize their 2017 goal and the ups and downs of their first month’s experience. In the study, I found that the top three goals for 2017 in the office are a commitment to a healthier lifestyle (i.e. eating healthier, quitting smoking, cutting back on drinking), becoming more fit, and increasing or picking up a hobby (i.e. reading more, following sports more closely).
These resolutions to become more fit and healthy were no surprise to me, in fact, I can likely pinpoint each person who chose these resolutions from the anonymous survey. I don’t recognize them because their lifestyles have always been healthier, or they’re the fitter coworkers of the bunch, but because it’s been the topic of many lunch discussions for the past month. The office chatter, which consists of these people discussing their new habits, weight loss, struggles to choose not to eat dessert each night are talked about over carefully prepared healthy salads or high-protein meals, that were prepped the Sunday before taken out of the fridge from the rest of the week’s matching lunches. Not only have people’s lunches got healthier, but also their lifestyle habits are healthier too. For example, each Tuesday and Thursday, if you don’t jet out of the office before 5:01, you will catch a couple of people doing an in-office workout.
Here's the breakdown of the team’s 2017 resolution choices:
The survey breakdown
It is now mid-February, but the survey was taken at the beginning of the month, just after the first full month of the results began. 62.5% of the office is still fully committed to their resolution, where 37.5% is still mostly sticking to their goal.
Although everyone in the office is either entirely sticking to their goal or at least mostly on track with their resolution, the survey did find that some challenges tempt them from straying off course, or have allowed them not to stay 100% on goal. The biggest setback in the office has been pressure from others to not stick to their goal, with 40% of respondents seeing this as a major issue. The following top difficulties are designating “cheat days,” and not having someone to do your goal with you.
On the other hand, the top four factors that have allowed the office participants to stay focused are setting a realistic goal, tracking their progress, having a buddy to do it with them and starting with a small, and realistic goal.
Through this study I found that the office works best when they feel accountable for meeting their goal. Whether it’s having a partner to keep them on track, tracking their progress through an app or weigh-ins, or only just sharing their results during watercooler chatter, doing it alone causes slip ups.
A closer look
Following the survey, I wanted to know more. I interviewed two of my coworkers more in-depth, to see what their particular highs and lows for sticking to their fitness and health improvement resolutions. Overall, they are pleased with the way things are going for them. Although there are a couple of days a week where they find themselves “cheating” on their resolution (not exercising as they planned to, going against their food restrictions), they found that on weekdays, in particular, it was easier to stay on track. Two huge factors that made this possible (or more difficult) are planning ahead, accountability and the pressure from others. One coworker found that when he meal preps with his boyfriend each Sunday night for the upcoming week, he’s not tempted to order takeout or eat the candy and snacks that are taking over one of our office kitchen counters. The other coworker I interviewed found that it was difficult for her to stick to her commitment not to drink when some of her coworkers are drinking in the office after work. On the other hand, she also found that it has been easier to stick to a resolution when she has people to do it with her. When she is alone on her couch over the weekend, it is simpler to pick up a bag of chips and ditch her plans to do a workout.
How to make it past month one
Through this survey, I found several overlapping factors that came with New Year's resolutions. Not surprisingly, most people want to better themselves. Choosing healthier lifestyles can come in many shapes and forms. However, most people envision a better them through regular exercise, healthier eating habits and eliminating bad habits and replacing them with hobbies. Most people can stick to these resolutions so long as they don’t feel temptation from others to cheat, and they feel accountable for their progress. My advice to all you readers who are feeling the “senior slump” of the second month into your resolution is as follows.
- Start small. Don’t make a resolution you know will be too difficult to start. Start with a reasonable plan and gradually work up to your ultimate goal. This will reduce your chances of feeling overwhelmed by your huge lifestyle changes.
- It’s ok to cheat every once in awhile. Don’t beat yourself up, if your resolution is to eat healthier, but you’ve got your eye on that slice of pizza, go for it! As long as you cheat in moderation, you’ll ultimately reach your goal.
- Make yourself accountable. Whether you tag-team, your resolution with a friend or use an app or journal to assist in your journey, track your progress! If you have something (or someone) reminding you to stay on track, you’re more likely to listen.
To my fellow Winsper 2017 self-improvers – I’m rooting for you! I hope to write another follow-up in December 2017 with some serious success stories. Until then, enjoy your salads and HIIT workouts.
-Daphne Fiske, Client Advisor and 2017 “stop eating fried food and so much cheese,” resolutioner.
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