Brits’ most common excuses for skipping healthy habits – including ‘I’m tired’

Brits find two excuses a day to keep themselves from doing something good for them – and spend time cleaning up or playing video games instead

Playing “just this level” in a video game is one of the best avoidance tactics to avoid something

The most common excuses Britons give for bad habits are “I don’t have time”, “I’m tired” and “It’s too cold”.

A survey of 2,000 adults found that two excuses are made every day to justify skipping healthy habits – with half admitting they spend more time making up the excuses than it would have taken to complete the task they are doing want to avoid actually doing.

Some of the far-fetched excuses were “needed to spend time with her hamster”, “her dog ate her shoes” and “they washed her hair”.

“Keeping busy with the kids” and “her favorite TV show is on” were also among the top excuses for not leading a healthier lifestyle.

And it turns out that more than half of adults admit they will find things they “need” to do other than the healthy chore at hand, like going to the gym.

Avoidance tactics included cleaning up, completing “this level” in a video game, and blaming a hard day’s work.

But more than a third (39%) felt disappointed, anxious, or sad after giving an excuse for avoiding something healthy.

Research was conducted by Bassetts Vitamins to learn more about forming healthy habits – which led to the development of a motivation generator tool to encourage people to take on these tasks.

Neuroscientist Katherine Templar-Lewis said: “Healthy habits are harder to form than unhealthy ones because they feel more complex and take longer to feel the rewards.

“Bad habits become unconscious ‘short cuts’ that we take. We use our brain’s “confirmation bias” ability to find excuses, to justify why we’re not sticking to the healthy habits—to make the bad excuses make us feel better and adjust the facts to our own agenda.

“Negativity biases convince us that our good habits are harder than they really are.

“However, once a habit is formed, it is like a muscle – the more practice you get, the easier it gets.

“Small steps can be taken so that healthy habits don’t feel like a chore and just become part of our usual routine.”

The study found that young adults aged 18 to 24 are most likely to be less motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle because of the pandemic. 68% of this age group feel this way, compared to 40% of all adults in general who have problems.

As a result, young adults make up three excuses a day to avoid something healthy.

More than half avoid going to the gym


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And 22% of this age group included wine as one of their “fives a day,” compared to one in 10 adults who also listed a fruity cocktail like a daquiri or mojito as part of their recommended intake.

It also found that one in ten adults started taking vitamins in January – but haven’t managed to keep up.

And one in five people start and stop taking vitamins regularly, the main reasons being that they forget about them or find them boring.

But while trying to pick up a new healthy habit on your own can be difficult, over half (57%) said they were more likely to be healthy when someone else was with them.

Rachel Fox of Bassetts Vitamins, who have launched their new range of fruity gummies for adults to make daily supplement use more fun, said: “Supporting your health doesn’t mean going to the extreme or living your life massively have to turn inside out.

“There are many small steps you can take to develop a healthy habit without it feeling like a chore.

“Our vitamins are designed in a delicious, chewable, one-a-day format, so it’s one small step in your daily routine and therefore one small thing you can tick off the list without excuses.”


  1. Start Small – A simple, small achievable step, like taking a daily vitamin that you can do every day, will strengthen your willpower and lay the foundation for a long-term new habit. Once you start with one, others become easier and begin to integrate.
  2. Instant Reward – Make sure those small achievable steps are positive actions. A positive action results in a dose of “dopamine,” a chemical feel-good reward because we know we did something good for ourselves right away.
  3. Positive Motivation – It is important to focus on the positive benefits of the habit we are forming. This will help counteract our negative biases, which can focus on the negative, and help us find excuses and justify ourselves.
  4. Start of the day – Our willpower is always much stronger at the beginning of the day when we are less tired – this will have a positive impact on your whole day.
  5. Understanding – We ALL struggle with forming good habits, especially in light of the last few years. Acknowledging this helps instill a sense of community. Stop beating yourself up and start with the little habits.

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