Healthy New Year’s Resolutions: Easily Made, But Easily Broken

Sun Life Financial study finds Canadians want to start 2011 on a healthy note but many lack the motivation to make it stick

TORONTO, Dec. 21, 2010 – Making a New Year’s resolution is easy, but for many Canadians sticking to one is the tricky part. According to a Sun Life Financial survey conducted by Ipsos Reid, with the new year quickly approaching, three-quarters of Canadians are resolving to improve something about themselves. Health-based resolutions are by far the most popular with over two-thirds of those making resolutions (74 per cent) stating they resolve to either increase exercise or lose weight in 2011. Eating healthier (31 per cent) rounded out the top three choices.

However, when it comes to making permanent changes, eight out of ten respondents admit they’ve failed to keep past resolutions with a lack of motivation and willpower (76 per cent) identified as the main barrier to maintaining new year lifestyle changes. Thirty-eight per cent also cited a lack of money followed by lack of time (35 per cent).

“Any resolution to improve your health is a step in the right direction and working together with a friend, loved one or professional to put together a plan which incorporates your changes makes them easier to stick to,” said Lori Casselman, Assistant Vice-President, Health and Productivity Solutions, Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial Canada. “Look into wellness offerings that may be available at work that can keep you motivated and provide support, which we know is key to any successful change.”

More than half of Canadians (58 per cent) say resolution success or failure depends on what the resolution is and the study found that some are easier to keep than others. According to the poll, those who have resolved to travel someplace special, save money and spend more time with loved ones in 2011 have had the most success keeping past resolutions. People who’ve resolved to drink less and quit smoking reported the least success in the past.


These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between December 1 and 3, 2010, on behalf of Sun Life Financial. For this survey, a sample of 1586 adults from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2010, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of CDN$455 billion. For more information please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.