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Lifestyle Behavior Demographics & Statistics Diet

Are Your New Year Goals Attainable?

6 months ago

4969  0
Posted on Jan 23, 2024, 2 p.m.

New Year's resolutions vary from person to person, which could be giving up smoking, being more positive, learning a new language, taking up a hobby, learning an instrument, or traveling somewhere exotic, but most of the time resolutions tend to revolve around self-improvement. However, according to a random double opt-in survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of  Egglife involving 2000 general population Americans sticking to those resolutions can be hard, with 29% of the respondents admitting that they last less than a month with health-related resolutions.

The analysis revealed that the average respondent reported that they would miss their favorite unhealthy food within 14 days. But is it possible that they are defining what is healthy and what is not incorrectly? It could be because 1 in 6 respondents believe that all high-calorie foods are unhealthy, 32% think that a healthy diet means committing to eating only certain foods, and 31% think that healthy eating requires eliminating certain foods from their diet completely. 

The topic of eating healthy appears to have many confused, 24% think that carbs should be avoided, 18% believe eating healthy means that their food will become bland and boring, and 36% said that it is important to focus on protein for healthy nutrition. 28% of the respondents said that the foods they prefer to eat don’t align with what they think is healthy. 34% reported that they would consider healthy eating to be a chore, and on the other hand, 34% reported that eating healthy is an easy part of their lifestyle. 

To be fair health and nutrition can look different to each individual, and to add to this, information can vary depending on the source. For example, social media is full of opinion-based, false, unfactual, inaccurate, and misleading misinformation that can influence public opinion which adds to the cluttered landscape, making it even more difficult for people to navigate their options when they are looking to make lifestyle changes

“Without a formal definition for ‘healthy,’ it’s no wonder you’ll find countless opinions on what constitutes a healthy food,” says spokesperson Melissa Rifkin, RD, nutrition expert for Egglife, in a statement. “Most importantly, healthy food isn’t about eating a restrictive diet or low-calorie count. Rather, eating healthy food means choosing nourishing options that provide an array of nutrients known to benefit the body while working within one’s specific dietary needs, restrictions and preferences. The good news is when it comes to choosing healthier foods, taste and nutrition don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

The confusion is evident as 57% of the respondents reported that they don’t know where to begin with health-related goals, and the challenges are more frequent when setting goals that may be difficult to attain. 34% of the respondents reported that over the past year, one-third of their health goals proved to be too extreme, with 40% reporting trying to eliminate foods/food groups from their diet that they enjoyed, 39% tried to reduce caloric intake, and 36% tried to drink at least 70 ounces of water a day. 

18% of the respondents had a particularly hard time achieving the goal of going to the gym every day, 26% struggled to eliminate a food group that they enjoyed, and 17% had a really hard time following a restrictive diet. As for success, many measure that in how long the goal lasts, with 78% preferring health goals that help them over the long term and 18% preferring health goals that help them more immediately in the short term. 

When the respondents reflected on the extreme goals they had set, many reported that making massive changes does not create a lasting change, such as completely eliminating food groups (23%) or losing weight too quickly (18%). Nearly half (47%) have realized that setting smaller goals and progressing incrementally makes them easier to achieve, 42% said that this leads to more sustainable lifestyle changes.

41% of the respondents reported that setting and achieving smaller incremental goals has made them feel more accomplished in their journey. 24% said that it is easier to cut down on eating food items over time rather than removing them completely at once, and 1 in 6 said that it would be easier if there was a convenient replacement for it. 

However, people are not letting past experiences with extreme goals deter them, with 91% of the respondents who exercise regularly setting health-related goals for 2024, of these respondents 68% want to exercise more often, 60% want to eat more healthfully, 36% think they should eat more protein, and 31% believe that they should eat less carbs. These respondents' specific health-related goals are focused on “having more energy”, “balancing overall health”, and “toning up” their bodies. 

“Attainable goals help build a sense of success that encourages continued behavior,” says Rifkin. “What makes a goal attainable is specific to your lifestyle and desire to change, and should allow you to make progress toward your long-term goals. Small, attainable goals can serve as stepping stones, allowing you to work toward your long-term objective, building your confidence along the way. We all feel more accomplished when we meet a goal, which is why small, attainable goals are more beneficial than extreme changes that aren’t maintainable. Choosing a long-term goal that is specific, measurable, and attainable within a given time frame allows you to achieve smaller goals that make progress against your larger goal over time.” 

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