Dubai: Did you make New Year’s resolutions and are you having trouble sticking to them? We are about six weeks into the new year and it’s the right ime to figure out what actually stands in your way.

A new study on the ‘Biggest obstacles people face when trying to overcome their New Year resolutions,’ showed that around 30 per cent listed anxiety and depression as their primary reason.

The study, which was conducted by, surveyed 500 people including 167 men and 333 women.

New Year resolutions made by participants in the survey involved keeping healthy food habits such as making the time to prepare meals, removing sugar and processed foods from their diets, and drinking more water. Other resolutions included fitness and wellness goals such as taking time to work out, meditate, care for yourself, and getting more sleep.

However, when considering maintaining these resolutions, 33 per cent of people referred to work obligations as their biggest problem, with anxiety and depression coming a close second.

Dr Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director of Lighthouse Arabia, said she was surprised to see that as many as 30 per cent link depression and anxiety to their failure to abide by their resolution.

“I am sure it is underreported and there are actually many more people who have anxiety or depression as a roadblock towards living a life where they feel in control, happy and proud,” said Dr Afridi.

With depression being the leading cause of disability worldwide, significantly compromising many individuals’ ability to care for themselves, the statistics on the prevalence and impact of poor mental health on people’s well-being are evident.

“Do not let depression or anxiety get in the way of you living your best life. You do not have to live with these disorders impacting you to such a degree where you feel out of control of your life,” Dr Afridi added.

She pointed out that learning coping skills, engaging in therapy, and using prescribed medications are proven and effective ways of dealing with anxiety and depression.

Without addressing the underlying issues and understanding the triggers of anxiety and depression, many people fail at their resolutions and make goals without understanding the purpose of the unhealthy habit.

“They also don’t understand habit change and what they need to do in order to develop a healthy habit and break a negative one,” she said.

She pointed out it is necessary to ask questions such as — are you eating sugar because it is a comfort food and your only source of pleasure? Is it to manage symptoms of depression? Are you not exercising because you don’t have the energy because you are overworking due to your anxiety about money?

“Unless we look at the unhealthy behaviours as serving a purpose and then find alternate methods to get the same purpose or need met — the behaviour will continue,” she added.

What have been the biggest obstacles in making your fitness or wellness resolutions regular habits?

* Work obligations: 33.20 per cent

* Anxiety and depression: 29.40 per cent

* Family obligations 18 per cent

* Injuries 4.8 per cent

* Social obligations 4.2 per cent

* None of the above 10.4 per cent