The COVID effect: 30 million brits vow to focus on their long-term health amid concern for NHS in 2021

  • 8 in 10 Brits (84%) believe individuals have a “responsibility to take better care of their health” to support the NHS in 2021
  • 50% hope their 2021 health and lifestyle resolutions could have a positive impact on the NHS and public healthcare services
  • 3 in 4 Brits (77%) would make small lifestyle changes now if they knew it would be beneficial to the NHS and the doctors and nurses in their community

30 million British people are taking on at least one health-related New Year’s Resolution this January to “do their bit” for their health, their community and the NHS, according to new research from Simplyhealth, one of the UK’s leading healthcare plan providers1.

2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on people’s attitudes to their health, with half of those surveyed (50%) hoping their 2021 resolutions could have a positive impact on the NHS and public healthcare services. 47% of those planning a New Year’s Resolution for 2021 want to lose weight, 46% want to improve their fitness and 28% want to improve their diet.

8 in 10 Brits (84%) believe individuals have a “responsibility to take better care of their health” to support the NHS in 2021.


New Year’s Resolutions to support the NHS and long-term health

2021 will hopefully see a big improvement in people’s attitudes to their health after a tough year. 2 in 5 (44%) Brits plan to take on at least one New Year’s Resolution for 2021; half of the people making a New Year’s Resolution (17 million people or 50%), want to take action to improve their long-term health, and 1 in 4 (23%) Brits made health resolutions for 2021 to benefit their families.

The pandemic and lockdown restrictions have brought strains on the NHS into sharp focus; with 3 in 4 (77%) agreeing that they would make small lifestyle changes now, if they knew it would be beneficial to healthcare services.

Simplyhealth’s research also found 1 in 5 (19%) of those planning New Year’s Resolutions admit the wider societal and financial impact of COVID-19 has encouraged them to take better care of their health and lifestyle.

Jo Hemmings, behavioural psychologist
Events over the past year have changed our psychological mind-sets and in the face of unprecedented challenges, we have broadened our perspectives. Many of us are much less inward looking now than we were 12 months ago and this has impacted our personal goals. We are now worrying less about whether we should lose a few pounds and are instead thinking about the much bigger picture of health responsibility, not just to ourselves, but for our families, our friends, our communities and our hugely overstretched but truly remarkable NHS.

By focusing on our long-term health we become more resilient and more prepared should we ever have to face such a health crisis again. We are less likely to impose unrealistic and often unachievable resolutions on ourselves, but look at small ways in which we can change our lifestyle for the better – whether that is eating healthily or appreciating the wider impact exercise has on our well-being and our ability to support others.
Jo Hemmings, behavioural psychologist
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive at Simplyhealth
2020 reinvented our relationship with our personal health, our communities and the NHS. As a result, 2021 is shaping up to be a year like no other. It is a unique chance to make real and lasting changes to our health and wellbeing, for the benefit of all – and of course to benefit our NHS. 

Our founding belief, nearly 150 years ago, was that good health is for everyone. It’s why we launched our free health and wellbeing app, SimplyMe in 2020; to harness the resurgent power of community spirit by unlocking charitable donations when a user makes daily steps towards improved health.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive at Simplyhealth

SimplyMe - harnessing the power of community spirit to encourage people to take control of their health

3 in 4 (75%) believe it is now more important than ever to support local communities and charities. In addition, 2 in 5 (43%) making 2021 New Year’s Resolutions said they would be more likely to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions if a charity or cause benefits.

Simplyhealth has recognised that people want to take control of their health and launched their free, SimplyMe health and wellbeing app in October 2020, which helps users to make small, easy changes to improve physical and emotional health, and build lifelong healthy habits.

The app’s dashboard analyses health across five categories: mind, heart, sleep, weight and activity, giving personalised insights and guidance.

For every new sign up to the app throughout January 2021, Simplyhealth donates £5 to Sported, a national charity which supports almost 3,000 community sport and youth groups across the UK. This motivates SimplyMe users to look after themselves by simultaneously helping others too.

By ‘checking in’ on your mood 10 times from your SimplyMe home screen in January 2021, Simplyhealth will add another £5, a total of £10 for Sported, per new user2.

To find out more about SimplyMe, visit or download the SimplyMe app via the App Store or Google Play Store. 



1 Data used is based on a survey, conducted online by the healthcare research company, Opinion Health, amongst 2,000 people between 09.12.2020 and 16.12.2020. Data were weighted to be nationally representative of the British population aged 18 and over with a confidence interval of 2%. The survey explored 2020 and 2021 New Year’s Resolutions, how they have been impacted by COVID-19, and how people’s attitudes to their health and the healthcare systems have changed over the past year. The survey was commissioned by healthcare plan provider, Simplyhealth.
2 Up to a maximum of 25,000 downloads and 25,000 check in donations in January 2021 only.
About Simplyhealth

Since 1872 we’ve been helping people get healthcare through our health plans, charity partnerships and by being a voice in healthcare. Today we’re delighted to be the UK’s leading provider of health plans and dental plans, which help individuals, families and employees to get support with their health when they need it.

We don’t have shareholders which means we are totally focused on making sure no one goes without the healthcare support they need, and why we are passionate about being a voice in healthcare and partnering with charities to reduce health inequality. We have a commitment to donate part of our pre-tax profits to charities or community projects each year and spread our donations across a wide range of healthcare-related charities.

In 2019 we became Official Healthcare Partner of England Rugby, a partnership that will help us deliver on our purpose and improve access to healthcare for the rugby community.

To find out more visit


About SimplyMe

SimplyMe is a free app which identifies small, easy steps that make a big difference to how you feel today and to your long-term health.

SimplyMe works by monitoring data that the user puts in, as well as synching information from a wearable device (FitBit, Garmin, Apple Watch or Apple Health app, or a simple pedometer) to track the user’s sleep, weight, heart health, emotional wellbeing, and activity. Using science-based algorithms to spot patterns, the app gives users personalised insights and ideas to help them readdress the balance and feel better and healthier.

The SimplyMe app is available to download now via the App Store or Google Play.


About Sported

Helping community groups survive, to help young people thrive.

Sported is a UK wide charity promoting fairness and equity for young people through grassroot sport and physical activity. Sported are the UK’s largest network of community groups supporting 160,000 young people to overcome barriers to reach their full potential.