New study reveals the best excuse for breaking New Year promises

Did you make a promise to work out five times a week at a gym, only to regret telling your friends about your New Year's resolution? According to a new study from Bayes Business School at the City University of London, don't tell your friends that you don't have enough time to make good on your promise to get in better shape. If you want them to respect you, tell them the gym membership was too expensive.

"Many resolutions or commitments involve either time or money so the lack of one or the other seems to provide a good excuse for breaking it without adversely affecting how others see us. However, these two excuses are not equally effective," says Dr Janina Steinmetz, Reader in Marketing at Bayes Business School. "My six experiments involving around 1,200 people found that pleading a lack of money leads to better outcomes – in terms of perceptions about the individual – than citing lack of time."

From a University of London press release:

For example, in one experiment, 200 online participants read about people who failed to keep a commitment to eat healthier food. Some of those they read about blamed the cost of cooking good meals while others said they were defeated by a lack of time. Participants saw the first group as having better self-control and were more likely to consider them as potentially good gym partners.