Data in Everyday Life – New Year New You

– by Kaetlyn Phillips

Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2024? How is that going?

In 2023, Statistics Canada found that common resolutions included exercising, eating healthier, cutting down spending, disconnecting from social media, and reducing alcohol intake. Out of these resolutions, cutting back on alcohol definitely gets the most media coverage as many Canadians partake in “Dry January” at the start of the year and “Sober October” near the end of the year.

According to an Ipsos survey of Canadians in 2023, Dry January is most popular among Gen Z with 46% of Gen Z respondents saying they participated in the event and slightly popular with Milennial (20%) and Gen X (19%) participants. There’s currently no openly available Canadian data, but in 2021 the US company Knit conducted consumer research asking Gen Z about why they participated in Dry January. The top reason for both male and female participants was health and wellness (71.4% for males and 50% for females). The next reason was to save money (71.4% males, 42% females). Number 3 was to cut back on consumptions (57.1% for males, 33% for females). An interesting statistic was 33% of female participants listed participating in Dry January “for the challenge.” Based on these reasons, Dry January as a resolution does align with the top concerns when people enter a New Year – get healthier and save money.

If your resolution has become a case of “best laid plans” then don’t worry! You aren’t alone. A 2020 study by Oscarsson, Calbring, Andersson, and Rozental found that one year after setting a resolution goal, only 55% of participants considered themselves to be successful. The study found that approach-oriented goals (e.g. “I will increase the amount of time I exercise”) were more successful than avoidance-oriented goals (e.g. “I will stop eating Takis”). Social support also plays a key role in goal success as being held accountable and receiving positive reinforcement and praise increase enthusiasm and motivation. So, if you are struggling with your resolution, try reworking your goal and considering telling others about it.

Happy New Year everyone!