For more women than men, self-improvement is the name of the game
Women want to live their best lives in 2018.
Women are more intent on bettering themselves in 2018 than men are, according to a new survey from YouGov, which found that self-improvement-related resolution are more popular with women than men.
Indeed, when it comes to saving money (or saving more of it this year than last), 42% of American women ages 18 and up are pledging to stockpile their dough in 2018, as compared to 31% of men. And 41% of women say they plan to eat healthier, versus 33% of men; similarly, 41% of women want to get more exercise in the New Year, versus 33% of men. And lastly, 29% of women say they’ll dedicate more energy to “self care” — like getting more sleep every night — which is greater than the 20% of men who say the same.
Why is it that women are more likely than men to make resolutions focused on feeling their best?
One reason is because women are generally more comfortable openly discussing issues relating to their body, appearance, or opening up about personal struggles, says Jessy Warner-Cohen, a psychologist at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.
“There’s a pretty extensive body of literature showing that women are more help-seeking than men are, whether it be health-issues, mental issues, self-care issues… Men are still less likely to get mental health services when they need it [for instance], but we’re finding that the more people talk about it among their peers, the more they become comfortable discussing it,” Warner-Cohen told Moneyish.
Previous research has backed up Warner-Cohen’s views. Indeed, a 2014 study from St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science determined that women with chronic physical illnesses were 10% likelier to “seek support for mental health issues than men with similar illnesses,” according to a Time Magazine report, which could dovetail with the YouGov finding that women also have a greater interest in improving their well-being in 2018.
Behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva has conducted research in this arena, and says that it’s no surprise that women want to save more money, too. “In today’s dependent society, women are less financially dependent on men and less reliant on men for their sense of happiness,” Silva told Moneyish in an email, which could explain why they’re taking it upon themselves to craft money-saving or happiness-building resolutions. She says a previous study of hers also found that “women were more concerned about finances and less likely to want to take on a future partner’s debt.”
As far as losing weight and getting in shape, both genders are interested in this, says Silva, but Warner-Cohen believes that societal pressures on women could explain why they’re more inclined to set such priorities.
“A lot of it goes with stereotypes,” she said. “When you look at weight change and dietary consumption, if you think about the stereotypical person that goes to Weight Watchers, the stereotype is a female, not a male. It’s a really difficult first step for men,” to take the plunge into such a cause, she opined.
And lastly, Silva says that women may be resolving to take care of themselves more because they are more likely than men overburden themselves juggling domestic labor, family concerns, and their careers. She says that women often de-prioritize themselves over others, which can create “exhaustion” and lead women to “re-evaluate their routines.”
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