New Year’s Resolutions: Under the Bonnet

Last week we gave you an outline of Brits’ 2016 New Year’s resolutions, courtesy of our YourVoice panellists and we’ll be following up with them in due course to see how they’ve fared. We actually asked the same question of our Future of Christmas respondents exactly one year ago and what has struck me most about the differences from then to now is the noticeable shift towards the positive.

Last year, there were many reactive and slightly embarrassed nods to lose weight, start exercising, or hide any other number of perceived sins. Last week there were fewer of these and instead declarations of a new, positive, mindful way of living. This wasn’t confined to urban millennial types wearing Lululemon with their kale smoothie in hand, either.

With a bit of help from our resident Semiotics expert, Denise; I started to map the codes from 2015 to 2016, and have noticed a significant shift from the residual areas of reactive transformation, to dominant codes of transcendence and preservation.

Code Mapping


In 2016 we have the emergent theme of acceptance (“I am happy with who I am and wish to continue in this vein”) – which is undoubtedly set to grow further. ‘Mindful me’ is now mainstream. The main points of improvement for our community?

  • Balanced lifestyle – sleep, career, family, social and health
  • Supporting others – whether it be family, friends, charities or other good causes.

The idea of being a more central part of a wider support network is surprisingly altruistic, however the more interesting concept for me is that of a balanced lifestyle. There are numerous stats out there about how we spend 312 hours a day consuming media; and articles declaring that we as a nation now from birth have smartphones glued to our palms and iPads for eyelids. Source: my head, but you see what I’m getting at.

According to the Future Foundation, 52% of Brits wish that they could better manage their mood and emotions. This starts with lifestyle. Recent studies have found that initiatives such as flexible working can have a counter-intuitive effect, actually making you ill. The always-on culture is doing our nervous systems and psychological functions no good (source: The Guardian). This is fuelled by our over reliance on smart devices and a fear of missing out that prior generations simply cannot comprehend. Add to this the common parenting/career guilt of many working mothers (source: Mail Online) and it is easy to see why many Brits are choosing to find balance in their lives this year. Brits are shifting the emphasis to improving life for ourselves, rather than improving ourselves for life.




New Year aside, this represents a change in the status quo. Brands can benefit greatly from considering the nuance between these areas and adapting their messaging to suit. We are already seeing this in the dieting and beauty worlds, but which other categories can follow?


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