MORE than two-thirds of people living in Scotland have admitted to breaking a New Year's resolution.

Research released today by youth charity The Prince’s Trust highlights a tendency for people to give things up in January, with 65 per cent of respondents claiming that they have tried to give something up before. However, despite their good intentions, most people who try to give things up say they usually don’t get through the month without cheating or going back to their old ways.

Unsurprisingly, the most common things people in Scotland tend to give up in the New Year are chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol. Although most people deprive themselves in a bid to improve their health or to get back in shape after the Christmas break, their efforts often don’t have the desired effect – with almost two thirds confessing that they didn’t achieve their goals.

It seems that there are many drawbacks to giving things up. Nearly one in four people in Scotland (24 per cent) find the worst part of giving something up to be depriving themselves of something without seeing any real benefits, while 30 per cent struggle with turning down nice food and drink and over a third (36 per cent) grapple with feelings of guilt if they cheat on their resolution.

The temptation is often too much for broadcaster, DJ and Prince’s Trust Ambassador Neev Spencer, who has repeatedly tried (and failed) to give up chocolate for January.

Neev said: “I find it really hard to give up things like chocolate, even for a small period of time. Even though I tell myself every year that I’m going to be good this time, all it takes is a fleeting glance at a bar of Galaxy and I’m in a world of chocolate deprived-pain. It doesn’t take long before I crack and I don’t know why I put myself through the trauma every year.”

Although people in Scotland are much more likely to try to give something up than they are to take up a new interest in the New Year, those who take something up are more likely to be happy about their experience.

Jim McGhee had a string of broken resolutions to his name when he decided to switch his focus to giving something back. He now volunteers as a business mentor for The Princes Trust’s Enterprise programme through Prince’s Trust Online, which is a new platform that enables young people across the UK to access some of the charity’s services online.

He said: “I was never any good at keeping New Year’s resolutions; I tried to give up cake once, but lasted about a week before a slice of a Victoria sponge got the better of me. I decided I wanted to do something more meaningful instead, so started volunteering for The Prince’s Trust. I find being a mentor so motivating – the young people I support are so inspiring and it’s really rewarding to see their enthusiasm and energy as they create exciting new businesses and futures for themselves.”

Despite the benefits volunteering has to offer, people in Scotland are far more likely to consider taking up a form of exercise or a creative hobby in the New Year than they are to volunteer for charity. While 52 per cent of respondents would consider volunteering for charity, half of those who don’t do so currently (54 per cent) say they don’t have enough time for it, and almost one in five (17 per cent) feel there is a lack of volunteering opportunities in their area that they can realistically commit to.

Fortunately, the rise of initiatives such as Prince’s Trust Online, which makes volunteering more accessible by opening up roles that flex around busy lifestyles, is making these common concerns less relevant. The online availability of the platform means volunteers can now mentor young people remotely from anywhere in the UK, with a commitment of just two hours per week, making it easier for them to integrate volunteering into their lives.

With 2018 marked as Scotland’s Year of Young People, it’s the perfect time to give back to help transform young lives.

Jim said: “When I’m talking to people about my volunteering work they often say they don’t understand how I can fit it in around my other commitments. In reality, it’s really easy because I can engage with young people remotely through the Prince’s Trust Online platform, at a time and place that works for me. Having this flexibility has been the key to making volunteering a resolution I can realistically stick to.”

The Prince’s Trust is actively looking for people to volunteer as e-mentors to support the growth of Prince’s Trust Online, which launched in July 2017. The charity today launches its Don’t Give Up – Give Back campaign, which calls on people to ditch giving things up for January in favour of giving something back by volunteering for Prince’s Trust Online.

The Trust’s e-mentors provide invaluable one-to-one support for young people, enabling their mentees to learn the skills they need for self-employment or employment. In order to support one young person, e-mentors typically commit around two hours per week over a period of three months, and are able to schedule this time around any existing commitments.

To find out more about volunteering opportunities with The Prince’s Trust, visit