Think small: Americans have ditched their ambitious New Year’s resolutions in favor of ‘micro-goals’

NEW YORK — Most people set ambitious and challenging New Year’s resolutions for themselves. Perhaps that’s why so few of us end up actually achieving those goals. This year may turn out different, though. A new survey of 2,000 Americans finds two in three people (67%) are ditching their ambitious health goals in favor of more manageable and realistic “micro goals.” On average, respondents say they’ve already set 12 micro goals for 2021.

It’s easy to see why so many people have had enough with New Year’s diets and exercise plans; 60 percent say they’ve never kept up with a challenging health-related New Year’s resolution.

What are people looking to achieve in 2021?

Health-wise, many Americans want to eat less junk or fast food (38%), maintain their current weight (38%), and eat more nutritious lunches (35%). Others are determined to drink more water (34%), start taking vitamins (32%), and get outside more often (28%). Other frequent goals include five minutes of meditation daily (28%), prepping meals in advance (25%), cooking with healthier ingredients (24%), and walking or biking more instead of driving (18%).

The survey, commissioned by FreshlyFit, also asked respondents why they’ve decided to go with more realistic micro goals. Most responded that such resolutions are easier on a day-to-day basis (32%) as well as over the long-term (29%).

The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in all of this. Many Americans tried to achieve some long-ignored goals during lockdown in 2020, but 57 percent say all of those projects were ultimately unsuccessful. Examples of failed lockdown initiatives include trying out a new exercise routine (44%) and attempting meal prepping (43%). Regarding meal prepping, 14 percent say they gave up on all that within just one month. Why? Well, 44 percent just couldn’t deal with the bland flavors and another 42 percent didn’t want to put up with all the extra dishwashing.

So, it seems many people are just tired of setting lofty goals for themselves that they know they probably won’t achieve.

Losing the ‘COVID-15’

Despite all this, weight loss is still a major goal on the minds of many Americans. Due to all the extra time quarantining at home in 2020, the average respondent reports gaining 14 pounds since February of last year. Two in three people say that it’s more important than ever to eat healthy since most gyms are still closed. Most Americans (72%) stopped working out at a physical gym location months ago. Another 28 percent have moved onto a home-fitness regimen.

What are Americans consuming post-workout? Just over a quarter (27%) go for a protein bar, 26 percent drink a smoothie, 25 percent have a protein shake, and 10 percent eat a normal meal. Those who go for quick fixes like a protein bar, 37 percent of respondents say they prefer convenience and 23 percent don’t have enough time to cook a full meal. Another 31 percent believe pre-prepared protein goods are the healthiest option for them.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.