Looking after your mental health, quitting social media - and getting a ‘Kardashian bum’ are among the nation's top goals for 2020

By Jamie Hill - 27 December 2019

Health and Beauty

A poll of 2,000 adults found one in 10 want to overhaul their diet completely, as three in 10 find themselves low on energy too often.

As well as improving their health and losing weight, a sense of adventure is inspiring Brits to take holidays with a third saying travel is a big goal for the year ahead.

Another 45 per cent want to cut down on their phone use to help them feel more connected to their friends and family.

Other goals people hope to achieve in the coming year include sorting out finances, joining a gym and taking steps to improve their sleep quality.

Changing their job, home improvements, boosting their sex life and trying for a baby also feature in the top 30.

Dr. Meg Arroll, a chartered psychologist working with Healthspan, which commissioned the research, said: “The year to come is set to see a move away from debates about mindfulness and mindlessness.

"2020 is the year of self-awareness - we’ve survived a year of turmoil and now is a time for action, no more sleep-walking through life.

"People want to make this year the time to figure out what's holding them back and then take definitive action to make their goals a reality.

"By increasing self-awareness and knowing our barriers - practical, emotional and social - we can overcome obstacles and truly reach our goals.

"Sometimes we are simply too hard on ourselves and set unattainable goals, particularly when it comes to health and well-being.

"When we don’t reach these unrealistic goals, we berate ourselves and fall back into our old, self-destructive habits.

"So even by taking a more self-compassionate approach, we’re much more likely to develop a positive mindset, which results in positive outcomes."

The study also found three quarters of Brits have set themselves a goal to achieve in 2020, with five each on average - though millions have 10 or more.

This is up on 2019, when Brits set themselves just three goals to achieve - although most admit they didn’t get to all of them.

And now the decade is coming to a close, less than a tenth have achieved all their goals for the last 10 years.

As a result,  more than a third don’t ever set themselves targets for a year ahead - because that way, there’s no fear of failing them.

Dr Arroll added: “Many people stick with the status quo rather than setting goals for fear of failure.

"When armed with good quality advice and info, it’s much easier to feel optimistic about your goals - and 2020 is the perfect time to do it.”

In fact, the research found one in three are optimistic that 2020 will be the year they finally achieve all of their current goals in life.

While one in five adults set themselves goals to improve their physical health, 15 per cent set them to make themselves mentally stronger.

Interestingly, 28 per cent set their goals just so they have something to work towards and give themselves some purpose.

More than eight in 10 also reckon a positive outlook is crucial to achieving your goals, whatever they are.

It also emerged it usually takes around three attempts at a goal or resolution to get it to stick, according to the healthspan.co.uk research, carried out via OnePoll.

Dr Meg added: “Now we have some political stability, it's time to take stock and decisive steps to reach our goals, no more excuses.”

Top 30 goals for 2020

1. Lose weight

2. Travel the world/go on holiday

3. Pay off debt/get back on track financially

4. Home improvements

5. Improve your sleep

6. Make some dietary changes

7. Look after your mental health more

8. Move/buy a house

9. Buy a car

10. Change your job

11. Cut down on alcohol

12. Study/do a course

13. Take up a new hobby

14. Say no more often

15. Cut down on meat

16. Learn a new language

17. Cut down on phone use

18. Pursue a business venture

19. Take supplements to support your health

20. Improve your sex life

21. Overhaul your diet entirely

22. Join a gym

23. Get into swimming

24. Learn an instrument

25. Have a baby

26. Get engaged

27. Get married/have a wedding

28. Opt out of social media

29. Become a toned Adonis

30. Go vegan/plant-based

Tips for achieving your goals in 2020:

• Be positive but also realistic about what you can achieve within your own personal life circumstances. For instance, if you haven’t exercised since school days, applying for a place in a marathon may be stretching it a bit but aiming for a 5k run would definitely be achievable.

• If there are some goals that you haven’t met in previous years, take some time to reflect on whether your mindset could be holding you back. Sometimes even with the best of intentions, our inner critics have their way of sabotaging our dreams. These are limiting beliefs that you have the power to alter into enhancing beliefs, so every time that niggling voice pipes up, capture the criticism and challenge it by looking back at all you have accomplished in the past.

• Align your goals with your talents by giving yourself a Personal Development Review. Write a list of everything you’re good at, no matter how big or small. If this feels challenging, ask a good friend what they think your strengths are. Then, design goals to champion these strengths. By working to your strengths, you’re not only more likely to reach your goals but you’ll be able to celebrate achievements along the way.

• Give yourself a detailed road map to meet your goals. We wouldn’t go on a long journey without a map or satnav, some sustenance and entertainment, so plan the same way for your goals. First, visualise your destination, i.e. how your life will look when you’ve reached that goal, and then ask yourself what you need to achieve this. This planning phase is an important first step for reaching your goals so don’t skip it.

• Finally, be kind to yourself. Life is a rollercoaster so it’s OK to tweak goals along the way. Be as compassionate to yourself as you would be to a dear friends and you’ll be able to approach goals in a positive, supportive manner, rather than adding to any life stress you already have.

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