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Almost 1 in 10 (9%) New Year’s resolutions last at least 6 months but almost 4 in 10 (39%) will be over in 2 weeks. More than 4 in 10 (45%) say lack of willpower is to blame for why we fail . Almost 1 in 4 (23%) will try and make a resolution for 2013. Of those planning to make a New Year’s resolution, almost a fifth (19%) plan to cut down on alcohol.

Go dry for January and raise money for Cancer Research UK's Dryathlon challenge

Over half (55%) the nation has made New Year’s resolutions in the past but new figures show almost a quarter (23%) of people are planning to make a resolution for 2013.

When asked how long previous New Year’s resolutions had lasted, almost 1 in 10 people (9%) said they stuck to them for at least 6 months. However, almost 4 in 10 people (39%) had given in within 2 weeks.

Of those that plan to or are thinking about giving something up for 2013 almost a fifth (19%) said they would cut down on alcohol. Other popular New Year’s resolutions were to spend less money (34%), cut down on chocolate (21%), and go to the gym (22%).

Results were revealed in a survey conducted by Cancer Research UK who are looking for volunteers to sign up for its new fundraising campaign, Dryathlon™, which is encouraging people across the UK to test their willpower and take the challenge of staying off alcohol for January, raising money for a good cause at the same time.

More than 4 in 10 (45%) say lack of willpower is to blame for why we fail our New Year’s resolutions, so Jon Lipsey, editor for Dryathlon partner, Men’s Fitness, offers five top tips on how to stick to your guns when the going gets tough:


To start, pick one habit that will have the biggest impact on your life if changed and focus on it. Planning to hit the gym, give up Facebook and eat better all at once is taking on too much, according to research carried out by BJ Fogg, a psychologist and author of Persuasive Technology. Do the first thing for a month, then you can add more changes.

2.      MAKE IT EASY

Don’t start by planning to train for an hour every day or eat nothing but meat and veg if that’s a huge change in your habits. It won’t happen. ‘If you’re working out, aim for five to ten minutes a day,’ says Leo Babauta, author of The Power Of Less. ‘If you’re planning to de-clutter your home, start with one drawer rather than your whole house.’ The positive feedback from these tiny goals will help you tackle bigger tasks later.


Focusing on what you’re not going to do can lead to a ‘behavioural ironic rebound’ – or, more simply, if you resolve to stop eating cake, you’ll eat more cake. According to research from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, you should focus on positives rather than negatives, such as resolving to eat more veg and protein.


Programme your brain as you would a computer and you won’t need to wrestle with temptation all the time, says Professor Mark Conner of the University of Leeds. ‘Set up cues that prompt your planned behaviour,’ he suggests. For instance, ‘if I feel hungry before lunch then I will eat an apple, not a chocolate bar’. Conserving willpower in this way also means you’ll have more left over for other things.

5.      GET HELP

Joining forces with a partner boosts your chances of sticking to your resolutions, according to Conner’s research. When groups were told to make if/then plans with and without the help of friends, those who used a support group saw vastly increased chances of success. And besides, you’ll need someone to spot you on the bench.

Ed Aspel, Head of Dryathlon™ at Cancer Research UK said:

“We wanted to find out how good the great British public are at sticking to those fabled New Year’s Resolutions, which it turns out we find harder to stick to than we might think. We’d encourage the fifth of us who already plan to cut down on alcohol to go one step further and give Dryathlon a go  – by raising some much needed cash to help beat cancer, you’ll have an even better reason to make it past the two week mark and stick to the Resolution for the whole of January.”

Those that think they’ve got the willpower to go dry for an entire month can sign up to Dryathlon via the website”

Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon™ is asking the UK to ditch alcohol for January



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