East Anglians have the best willpower in UK

eastanglia new years resolutionA survey of the nation’s willpower has revealed that people in East Anglia are the best at sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions compared to the rest of the UK.

The survey, commissioned by motorway services operator Welcome Break, revealed that a virtuous 60% managed to stick to their pledges compared to just 45% across the nation as a whole. Furthermore, Saturday 11 January has been identified as the day when most of us will break our New Year’s Resolutions this year.

According to the survey of 2000 people, the second Saturday in January is the day when our willpower is at its lowest. A combination of a stressful first week back at work after Christmas, loss of weekday routine, a big night out and pressure from friends and family were all given as reasons for why Brits will find it so hard to stick to their resolutions this weekend.

Lack of willpower was cited by 55% of respondents in East Anglia as the main reason they break their resolutions. Events such as travelling, tiredness, a big night out and a break from their usual routine also scored highly.

With millions of us making our well-intended resolutions just 11 days earlier, 40% of people in the region break them in the first week, with a massive 56% throwing in the towel before the end of January. A weak-willed 4% admitted they can’t keep them for even two days, with a further 12% not even starting the pledge they made on New Year’s Eve. Only 29% managed to keep their New Year’s resolution beyond the spring.

The survey also found a big increase in people in East Anglia wanting to lose weight, with 50% stating this as their main New Year’s goal in 2014, which is a rise of 10% from 2013. When looking at their dieting habits, 16% of those surveyed didn’t manage to stay on their diet for more than a week, whilst 3% admitted to lasting just one day. The average weight gain over the festive period for respondents in East Anglia is around 4lbs, with over 5% admitting to putting on over 7lbs.

Also surprisingly, when asked what they were planning to make their New Year’s resolution for 2014, more people wanted to give up social media than give up smoking. 24% stated the longest they’ve managed to go without using Facebook and Twitter was one week, whilst 10% admitted they can’t last longer than an hour without it. So bad is the region’s addiction to social media that an astonishing 17% even admitted to using Facebook and Twitter in the middle of their Christmas dinner!

Leading psychologist, Dr Simon Moore, Chartered Psychologist for the British Psychological Society explains why New Year’s resolutions are so hard to stick to:

“It’s important to understand that any resolution cannot be maintained with ‘willpower’ alone. Cutting out things we have grown used to requires a gradual process of change. We need to wean ourselves into new behaviour patterns slowly, giving our brain and body time to adjust. So, rather than cutting something out altogether, for most people a better strategy would be to reduce the intake week by week. My advice is to chaperone willpower with slow change, ask friends and family for their support and have a clear goal of what you’d like to achieve. Sudden changes are prone to failure as they cause psychological and physiological shock.

“So if you want to change a habit, such as diet, planning ahead is key. With a clear idea of what you intend to do, it’s much easier to stay on track and avoid temptation. With a planned gradual change our brain and body wont rebel and resist as hard, making it easier to substitute poor behaviour with more positive ones.

The survey was conducted by Welcome Break, which has pulled together a menu of over 100 meals under 500 calories to make it easier for customers to stick to their healthy eating New Year’s resolutions whilst on the country’s motorways this January.

Rod McKie, CEO, Welcome Break commented: “The survey clearly revealed a break in routine such as travel was one of the key factors in causing people to break their diets. We have therefore created a 500 calorie meal menu to help our customers make clear and simple choices from the range of well-loved brands available at Welcome Break such as Starbucks, Subway and Waitrose across the UK. There are a huge variety of delicious, low calorie options for travellers looking to kick start their healthy eating plan in 2014 and we look forward to helping our customers stay on track this year with the offering we have available.”

Information on the ‘100 meals under 500’ can be downloaded at www.welcomebreak.co.uk/500.


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