New year new me: let’s swap weight loss goals for healthier, greener resolutions

New year new me: let’s swap weight loss goals for healthier, greener resolutions

There’s only a few days left of January – have you managed to keep to your New Year’s resolutions?

According to our research, the most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2023 amongst Brits are 1) to lose weight, 2) eat healthier food and 3) save more money, with 15% of respondents committing to one or more of these goals. 

Gen Z are more enthusiastic about New Year’s resolutions than older generations, and their aims for 2023 are very different from their elders. 3 in 10 16-24-year-olds hope to spend more time with friends and family this year, making it the most popular resolution for this age group. Maybe this is due to them experiencing a fair chunk of their younger years in the pandemic – denied of these social connections. Or could it be an effort to counter how much time they spend socialising online instead of in-person? 

A resolution that did not make the top 5 for any other age group but polled as number 4 for Gen Z was to learn a new skill/ hobby. This coincides with trends seen on platforms such as TikTok over the past few years, where younger people have taken up crafts such as crochet and tufting, often turning them into “side hustles”. Also, reflecting the mental health crisis in the UK, at least one fifth of Gen Z and young Millennials (25-34-year-olds) have set the goal of focusing on their mental health in 2023.

Unfortunately, as generations age, the goal “to lose weight” creeps higher and higher up the leaderboard of resolutions. Whilst this may be because older people are more prone to health conditions associated with obesity, it does feel that the “new year, new me” mantra and all the dieting campaigns launched *immediately* as the clock strikes 12 on the 1st of January often encourage us to change our lifestyles in order to look better rather than feel better. And maybe after years of seeing these, older generations are feeling the pressure to be slimmer? There is at least some hope that across all age groups, the resolution to eat healthier food in the new year is consistently popular – a lifestyle goal that is detached from body image. 

One food-based movement in January that is more than a dieting campaign is Veganuary. 1 in 5 Brits are interested in Veganuary (cutting out animal products for a whole month). Amongst those who are interested, the top reasons that attract them to the idea are: 

  1. Health reasons (49%)
  2. For environment reasons (43%)
  3. To support animal rights/ welfare (43%)
  4. Try something new (35%)
  5. As a personal challenge (32%)

Younger people are more interested in Veganuary than older people and, like with their resolutions, 16-24-year-olds have different priorities when it comes to the movement. 25% of those in this age group are interested because they want to be part of a community compared to only 10% of those interested in general. 60% of those interested in Veganuary say that helping the environment is important to them, compared to 45% of the total population. Plus, for Gen Z, environmental reasons are the most popular driver to take part in the campaign. 

And rightly so! In terms of food production, the meat and dairy industries are not friends of the Earth. A 2021 study found that meat is responsible for nearly 57% of greenhouse gas emissions from food production. Meat lovers out there might be saying, ‘well that makes sense if it’s the main thing we eat’. However, a 2020 study found that only 17% of the global caloric intake comes from animals, but of the 51 million kilometres squared of land dedicated to producing food, 77% is used for livestock or livestock feed. Cutting down meat by being vegan for one month a year, or even one day a week, has positive effects for not only animals who will be spared but for the planet we share with them.

So, although it’s not the responsibility of individuals to solve the climate crisis, it’s no surprise that the young people who will have to deal with its consequences are interested in making their own changes for 2023.