Have you, like many others, set yourself a New Year’s resolution to get fit or healthy this year, but four months later found you couldn’t stick to it?
New research suggests there could be a scientific reason stopping you from changing your bad habits.
Dr Fiona Ling, a psychology lecturer at Bournemouth University, suggests the stress we put on ourselves to stop eating unhealthy food or start exercising is actually preventing us from reaching our goals.
She said: “Imagine you are trying to eat healthier, and whenever you see a piece of chocolate you keep thinking how you can’t have it.
“Well, every time you see something that is supposed to be pleasurable and you have to stop yourself, that is stressful.”
According to exercise app, Strava, most people give up getting fit within two weeks of New Year’s Day.
Dr Ling added that people respond to stress differently
She said: “One way some people cope is by rumination, which is constantly thinking about the negative side of the change.
“So in the chocolate example, those people who won’t change might be thinking over and over again about how they can’t have the chocolate but really want it.
“That’s probably the mechanism behind why some people can’t change their behaviour.”