This is how long most people stick to their new year's resolutions (and how to beat it)

People stick to their new year's resolutions for just 17.8 days before abandoning them. Here's how to beat the odds

New Year's Resolutions
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Regardless of whether you have a specific goal in mind, or it's something more generic, you're statistically unlikely to stick to your new year's resolution. In actual fact, one recent study suggested you're likely to give up around just 17.8 days into 2022. 

If you've decided to do more walking to lose weight, or stick to a healthy diet, or run a 10k, it's going to be tough to beat those odds, but you can do it. This information comes from research from several British universities and was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

The researchers wrote: "New Year resolutions focused predominantly on 'diet' and 'exercise' were predominantly the same resolutions previously pursued and tended to be relatively abstract. 

"Although goal flexibility predicted greater wellbeing, the findings overall tend to support the view that people are not particularly good at sticking with their New Year resolutions."

The research found most people who do make resolutions give them up within the first month, with 17 and 18 days being the most popular time to do so. January 17th is informally known as "ditch new year's resolutions day", but there's a few things you can do to ensure you don't fall into the same trap as so many others. 

Research from the British Journal of Health Care Management found your goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) in order to have the best chance of success. If your goal is "lose weight", it's a bit nebulous and formless, and has more chance of failing than "sign up for, and run, a 5k race by May this year". 

That goal hits the right notions of specific (run a race) measurable (you'll be able to begin walking the distance, then using the walk-run technique, then finally running the race itself), achievable (five kilometres in five months is a realistic target for many beginners), relevant (fits with your overall exercise and weight loss goals) and time-bound (May).

Whatever your goals, we've got resources on-site to help you out. Looking to adjust your diet or eat more plant-based foods? You can check our best vegan cookbooks guide or look at our weight loss content for tons of inspirational recipes and guides. On the other hand, if you're looking to build muscle or work out more, you can peruse our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells to help you tone up at home. 

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.