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Most popular New Year’s resolutions in the Netherlands

When the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve, millions of Dutch will once again vow to embark upon a new and improved life by making their New Year’s resolutions. For although lifestyle changes can be undertaken at any time of the year, January 1st is traditionally regarded as the ideal moment for making that fresh start.

happy new year 2013. young man jumping and drawing 2013 by flashlight in the air on the beach before sunrise

According to a study conducted by the ING Economisch Bureau, 80% of Dutch people made one or more New Year’s resolutions in 2012. The research also indicated that a number of New Year’s resolutions were significantly more popular than others. Last year the three most common New Year’s resolutions in the Netherlands were:

1. Losing weight

Losing weight was by far the most popular New Year’s resolution in 2012, for both men and women. For some the key motivation was a desire to shed excess pounds gained during the indulgent Christmas period, yet most cited their long-term health as the main reason for starting a New Year diet.

2. Going with the flow

Although the Dutch aren’t exactly renowned for being hot headed, Dutch women in particular pledged to get less wound up about things in 2012. How they planned to do this wasn’t covered in the ING study, but of course this could be achieved through a range of simple measures such as trying to take things as they come, putting things into perspective and generally relaxing more.

3. Saving money

The on-going economic crisis is having a significant impact on the Dutch wallet, so it’s hardly surprising that living frugally featured high on the list of Dutch New Year’s resolutions in 2012. The main areas that respondents intended to cut back on were their holidays, car, grocery shopping, entertainment and clothing. Regarding the weekly shopping budget – most planned to shop around for cheaper supermarket products rather than reduce the actual amount of groceries purchased.

Yet despite the fact that such a large proportion of Dutch people make an annual New Year’s resolution, many find them extremely hard to stick to. The report from ING included some excellent tips on how to maintain your New Year’s resolution for the entire year, such as informing your friends, family and colleagues in order to enjoy on-going support for example. It’s also important to envisage upfront how you intend to implement your New Year’s resolution. A step-by-step approach is crucial, because if you don’t take concrete actions (such as preparing a healthier shopping list or joining a sports club), then your resolutions are apparently more likely to fail. So, if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution for 2013, but haven’t yet devised an implementation strategy, make sure you do so without delay, especially if you want to stand the best chance of success!

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