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Byron Shire
January 30, 2023

World Vision study reveals how COVID-19 is influencing our New Year’s resolutions

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World Vision says Aussies will put family and friends first in 2022 after being torn apart during the pandemic, with less screen time and more face-to-face time among our top priorities.

That’s according to a new World Vision Australia survey, which has found we are making different New Year’s resolutions compared with pre-COVID, craving the experiences and connections denied to us for nearly two years.

Parents are most likely to choose more time with family and friends as their top resolution (54 per cent), while a better work-life balance is number one for those under 35.

Younger Australians are also planning to chase new adventures, spend less time on social media and get more involved in their communities in 2022.

Pandemic continuing to reshape people’s priorities

World Vision Australia spokesperson Noddy Sharma said it was clear the pandemic was continuing to reshape people’s priorities as we focus more on what matters in life.

‘The pandemic has been extremely tough for everyone, but this research reiterates that it has encouraged Australians to pause and think about what we most want out of life,’ he said.

‘A coffee with a friend, time with family, a steak with your best mate – we often took these moments for granted in the past. But the pandemic has revealed just how precious they are.

‘The research also supports what we are hearing anecdotally about people reassessing their careers, job satisfaction and work-life balance that is fuelling the so-called “Great Resignation”.’

Hope for an outpouring of compassion

Mr Sharma said his hope for 2022 was for an outpouring of compassion and unity to address urgent needs in countries hit hard by COVID-19.

‘I would love to see us press in like never before and unite to make the world a truly fair and just place.

‘Our staff are responding to some of the biggest need due to a deadly mix of COVID-19, climate change and conflict – such as devastating hunger in Afghanistan and parts of Africa. We must respond as a community with extreme urgency.’

Mr Sharma said that when asked to share their personal resolutions, responses included: ‘Stay healthy and clear of COVID, ‘Enjoy life more while you can’, ‘More focus on health/wellbeing – getting out of lockdown habits like drinking’ and ‘Get the most out of life and opportunities’.

Surprising positives for kids

The survey of more than 1000 people nationwide also found that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in some surprising positives for kids.

Post-pandemic kids take less for granted, are more grateful and are more globally aware, with their parents driven to help others in the lead-up to Christmas.

The survey revealed that more than 60 per cent of parents believe their children are more thankful for what they have, and nearly half (45 per cent) feel their children have a heightened awareness of global issues.

Encouragingly, it appears that in spite of experiencing the nation’s longest lockdowns, children in Victoria and NSW have emerged as some of the most grateful in the country (60 and 62 per cent).

World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth said it was heartening to see some positive outcomes from the pandemic for children – a group which, arguably, was hit disproportionately hard by lockdowns.

Children have done it tough during pandemic

‘We know children have done it particularly tough during the pandemic – cut off from friends, family and school communities, many for months on end – so it’s wonderful to see that they have taken away a few positives from the experience,’ he said.

‘For the first time in living memory, people have been globally united in the suffering caused by COVID-19 – and this research confirms children in Australia becoming more conscious of those less fortunate, whether that’s in their own community or overseas.

‘They are also more grateful for the blessings in their own lives. This is a beautiful thing, as we know a caring, thankful child becomes a caring, generous adult.’

The survey also found:

  • A majority of Australians want to help others this year at Christmas, with 55 per cent planning to do something for others.  Planned activities range from donating clothes and food, to buying charity Christmas cards and gifts
  • Parents are more likely to set an example by planning to help, with more than six in 10 planning to help
  • 70 per cent of Australians say the thing they are most looking forward to this festive season is being reunited with their friends and family
  • 36 per cent of Australian children are aware of the community/neighbourhood they are part of

Despite many parents having had to play the dual role of parent and teacher this year, more than half (54 per cent) hope to spend more time with their children in 2022.

Survey results: New Year’s Resolutions for 2022

Male Female Under 35 35 Plus Kids No kids
Q11. Thinking about New Year’s Resolutions are they any different for 2022 than pre-Covid?
Spending more time with friends and family 48% 43% 53% 43% 49% 54% 43%
Better work life balance 30% 33% 26% 44% 26% 39% 23%
More adventures and holidays 28% 25% 31% 44% 24% 32% 26%
Less social media 14% 14% 14% 26% 11% 16% 13%
More involved in local community 11% 13% 9% 16% 10% 15% 8%
Something else (please specify) 20% 22% 19% 9% 23% 11% 26%

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