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This Year’s Top New Year’s Resolution? Fitness!!
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This Year’s Top New Year’s Resolution? Fitness!!

Twice-a-year juice cleanse? Gym membership? Binge-watch the latest TV show everyone’s talking about? It’s January 2015, and that means many Americans are already several days into their New Year’s resolutions. But as each year brings its own personal goals and associated challenges, none ever carry as much weight (no pun intended) as the old standby: getting in shape.

So now that we’ve put the holidays and the leftover pumpkin pie behind us, how are we pledging to better ourselves and our lives in the New Year? Or have we simply thrown in the towel and opted to check our resolutions at the door?

As it turns out, old habits die hard, and Americans say they’re just as committed to getting fit this year as they ever were. Health and wellness are top priorities for U.S. consumers as January takes hold, as data from a new Nielsen survey highlight how “staying fit and healthy” is our top resolution, coming in at 37%, followed closely by “lose weight” (32%). And based on the survey results, just a handful of us are throwing in the towel and not making any resolutions (16%).

TOP 10 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Stay fit and healthy 37%
Lose weight 32%
Enjoy life to the fullest 28%
Spend less, save more 25%
Spend more time with family and friends 19%
Get organized 18%
Will not make any resolutions 16%
Learn something new/new hobby 14%
Travel more 14%
Read more 12%
Source: Nielsen

When we look at how consumers are planning to meet their health and fitness goals, what is surprising, is how this year’s resolutions stack up against last year’s behavior. For example, 43% of Americans say they plan to lose weight by making healthier food choices, but 76% said they did not follow a weight loss or diet program in 2014.

With weight and health atop everyone’s to do list, food will take center stage right along with exercise as consumers strive to meet their goals this year. And even though we love our snacks, American consumers say their preferences will be fruits and vegetables over more indulgent options. That’s not to say, however, that we don’t plan to find room for something sweet or salty from time to time as well.

Top Go-To Low-Calorie or Diet Foods

   
Fresh fruit 73%
Raw vegetables 50%
Popcorn 40%
Snack bars 31%
Diet shakes 19%
Source: Nielsen

While there’s often a disconnect between a desire for a healthy lifestyle and actual behavior, wellness is trending globally. In addition to jumping on the wearables bandwagon to stay fit, consumers are increasingly gravitating toward healthy, organic and preservative-free foods in their diets. Additionally, 65% of U.S. consumers say they plan to exercise more this year, while 33% and 31% plan to focus on portion control and calorie reduction, respectively.

When it comes to shopping to support our weight and wellness goals, grocery and mass merchandise stores are top preferences for both men and women. Men, however, are more likely to shop online than women are, coming in at 20% and 16%, respectively.

Tech to the Rescue

In addition to diet and exercise, consumers are steadily employing technology to help them achieve their health and wellness goals. Smartphones have single-handedly transformed us into an app-driven society over the past half-decade, and consumers now have more apps to choose from than ever. As a result, we spend more than 30 hours per month using apps.

So it’s no wonder that 34% of Americans say they plan to use smartphone apps to help them support their weight loss objectives. Calorie trackers, which have dramatically grown in popularity over the past few years, come in at a close second at 31%, followed by websites (24%) and watches with fitness capabilities (16%). While men and women view tech similarly when it comes to their health overall, they’re somewhat divided when it comes to tech watches.

Will Americans step up to the challenge so they won’t be afraid to step on the scales as the year progresses? To help them along the way, retailers would be well served to stock up on protein shake mixes and energy bars and hide the chocolate until Halloween.

Methodology

The insights in this article were derived from an English language online survey of 580 U.S. respondents between Dec. 29, 2014 and Jan. 2, 2015.