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Majority of New Year's Resolutions This Year Will Focus on Healthier Diets

Despite concerns about the ability to follow through on New Year's resolutions, people are not giving up hope, resolving to lead healthier lives in a number of areas — some for the first time, according to an exclusive online "Healthy Commitment Poll" by Wellness Junction.

More than 86 percent of those responding to the poll said they planned to make a resolution this year, compared with the 13.6 percent of individuals who have no intention of making such a commitment. Moreover, of the individuals who indicated they are not making a resolution this year, two-thirds said they "never make a resolution," but intend to focus on an area of healthy living anyway.

And, perhaps indicative of the growing emphasis on wellness and health promotion, more than one-third of those responding to the online survey said their efforts this year mark the first time they have made a New Year's resolution.

The most popular area of focus, respondents indicated, is diet and nutrition; nearly seven out of 10 (68.4 percent) respondents making a resolution this year plan to focus on this area, Wellness Junction found. The next most popular resolution concerned fitness and exercise, cited as a focus by more than a quarter (26.3 percent) of those making resolutions this year.

Other popular resolutions, according to Wellness Junction, included those focusing on weight control, stress management, time management, smoking cessation, marriage and spiritual life. Each of those areas was cited by just over 5 percent of the respondents as an area in which they'd be focusing this year.

In addition to polling site users about their New Year's resolution plans, Wellness Junction asked respondents to identify any strategies for helping keep those resolutions. The responses were varied, Wellness Junction noted, with focuses on goal-setting, short-term emphasis, perseverance and keeping things simple.

"I am looking for some good ones myself," one respondent admitted. "All I can say is, you must plan the work and work the plan. I need to be the first one to heed my own advice."

Setting specific goals and having an accountability partner work well for another respondent. Also in the area of goal-setting, respondents cited such strategies as a focus on three-month short-term goal-setting, with self-rewards; having a goal to work toward such as fund raising treks; and being very specific (for example, one respondent planned to focus on a goal of running a marathon in a year).

"Keep them simple and realistic and share them with [your] spouse," added another respondent. "And, tie them to something much bigger than yourself — the health of your entire family of work area."

Other strategies cited include:

Eat only healthy foods.

Keep an exercise and diet diary. Schedule quarterly evaluations/check-ups.

Participate in contests conducted at the worksite.

Focus more on the health benefits of diet and exercise, rather than the weight loss and aesthetic benefits.

"Watch what I eat and exercise regularly at least three to four times a week."

One respondent is looking to a little outside help as well, taking dance and stretch classes at school — "and I bought a new steamer for veggies."

In another instance, timing was considered as a factor for a respondent who said resolutions about fitness and exercise don't usually last too long: "[I] think this year I will aim at a program for fitness in place by Jan. 15 — the first week of January has too much competition for the time; early failure is discouraging."

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing

© 1999 Health Resources Publishing