A Resolution’s for life, not just January!

A Resolution’s for life, not just January!


By James Clifton, Chief Executive, The MISSION Group plc

So, how did Dry January work out for you?  And Veganuary?  Still going to the gym?

Did you make it through or did you admit defeat with a burger and a beer on January 19th, named by research agency Strava as “Quitters Day” from their analysis of over 800m user-logged resolutions in 2019?

Just 12% of people manage to keep their new year’s resolutions to the end of the year, with 80% of us giving up by the end of the first week of February.  So, if you’re feeling like a total failure, you are. 

But at least you’ve got company.

The most popular resolutions remain pretty stable year after year:

  1. Lose weight/improve diet/exercise more
  2. Stop smoking/drinking/name your nasty vice here
  3. Save money/spend less/stick to a budget
  4. Get a new job/new skill/new hobby/be a better me
  5. Spend time more wisely (family, friends, hobbies etc.)

It’s this consistency that allows brands to benefit on both sides of the equation: either by helping the 12% keep those resolutions and/or by actively planning for the 88% who fall off the wagon along the way.

At a business level, brands need to recognise reality when planning their year.  Gym and health brands actively plan for the surge of revenue from well-intentioned people at the start of each year. And, similarly, again before the summer holidays when we want to get our beach bodies ready.

Those health brands equally actively plan for the recidivism that they know, statistically, will follow each uptick.  Nothing dark or Machiavellian about it, it’s just a known known, borne out by the data and it would be churlish not to recognise it when planning the year’s sales, marketing, staffing and investment strategies.

Other indirect brands are also well positioned to help resolution makers and thus boost their revenues.  Fitness trackers, digital personal assistants, time management tools and similar devices or service subscriptions can help make a real difference by giving gentle yet persistent reminders to help establish new habits, one of the key determinants of making a resolution stick for people.

Branded communication programmes, designed to give positive reinforcement, can greatly boost success in some challenging areas – nicotine replacement and diet programmes are two examples – that result not only in sustained sales but strong positive word of mouth recommendation. 

Brands can also help give a platform for customers to attest progress; evidence or ‘social proof’ being another key element in sustaining real behavioural change. Simply allowing your platform to host such messaging is an easy, smart way to attract people and to encourage them to stick with you and their resolution.  Mobilising your community to achieve a shared goal can make a huge difference in making those resolutions stick beyond January.