It's that time of year again-Christmas is behind us, and we're thinking maybe we shouldn't have eaten that many sausage balls and sugar cookies. For those who make New Year's resolutions, exercising more and losing weight are often at the top of the list, but whether your goals are to improve your health, save money or travel more, it can be hard to actually keep the resolutions you've chosen.
So what causes some people to fail year after year when it comes to making resolutions, while others are successful? That's the question 23andMe-yes, the DNA kit company-set out to answer.
The company surveyed 75,000 consenting customers, asking them first: "Did you set a New Year's resolution this year?" Then, they asked: "How well have you been able to follow your New Year’s resolution until now?" Of the 21 percent who had actually made a resolution, only 41 percent reported they had successfully stuck with it.
The survey's results led to a fascinating insight: 24 percent of women reported setting a New Year's resolution, while only 18 percent of men had. They also found that women were less likely to make New Year's resolutions over time. But while women were more likely to set new year goals, men were significantly better at sticking to theirs, especially as they grew older. Among the participants, 51.5 percent of men met their goals, compared to 42.6 percent of women who reported meeting theirs.
By performing a genome-wide association study using the data from those who reported setting a resolution and keeping it, 23andMe hoped to find a genetic commonality that could better explain why some people are much better at sticking to their goals than others. However, the researchers were unable to find any conclusive links due to the limited sample size. "Our scientists will continue to send research participants the questions every spring and hopefully, as the sample sizes grow, we will begin to detect interesting variants," the company shared in a blog post.
While researchers haven't yet identified any gene variants that could explain why certain people keep resolutions more than others, there are still plenty of ways to set a goal you're much more likely to keep. If you've taken a 23andMe DNA test, you could use your results to help guide your New Year's resolutions. For example, if someone discovers they have a genetic predisposition to muscle composition widely seen among elite athletes, they may aspire to set a concrete fitness goal, like running a marathon. Those with a genetic link to lactose intolerance, on the other hand, could try giving up dairy to see how it makes them feel, suggests 23andMe. However, keep in mind that while DNA kits like 23andMe can be a point of guidance, you should always talk to a health professional if you have any questions or concerns.
There are many proven links between genetics and health, but at the end of the day, setting small, realistic goals with a sustainable plan of action is the only way to ensure your New Year's resolutions last from January to December and beyond. Feeling inspired? Try one of these simple resolutions with expert tricks for making them stick.
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