The top 40 things that Brits have been proud to achieve

British Heart Foundation
A quarter of UK adults cannot think of a single accomplishment they are truly proud of in the last 12 months, research has found.

A survey of 2,000 people revealed a lack of confidence, money, and fear of failure hold them back from doing things they think would give them a sense of pride – while limited motivation, time, and an inadequate skillset were other factors.

However, 78 per cent can think of one or more achievements that made them proud in general – including raising a child, buying a home, and getting their first job.

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Meanwhile, exactly one in five looked back on taking part in a sporting event with pride – such as running a 10k, half marathon, or a distance bike ride.

The research was commissioned by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), to inspire those who are looking for a new challenge during the health-kick season.

The charity is running events such as its annual London to Brighton Bike Ride, as well as the Bournemouth Pier-to-Pier open water swim this year.

Dan Geneen, from the charity, said: “It’s easy to let external factors get in the way of pushing yourself to achieve more in life. Such moments are the things you can look back on in years to come with a sense of pride, whether they be personal or professional achievements. The new year is a time where many are thinking about their health and wanting a challenge to aim for to help drive them towards their goal – and signing up to BHF events such as runs, bike rides, and so on, are a great motivator to do so, while also driving a real sense of accomplishment.”

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Despite the tough year of 2023, many have found things to be proud ofDespite the tough year of 2023, many have found things to be proud of
Despite the tough year of 2023, many have found things to be proud of | British Heart Foundation

A sense of pride

Almost half (45 per cent) regret not having more moments they’re proud of in their life so far, while 28 per cent believe feeling a true sense of achievement can be difficult to find, and one in six (15 per cent) want to do something that pushes them to their limits, but they’re yet to take the leap.

Yet, 80 per cent think it’s important to accomplish things that give you a sense of pride in your life according to the data from Building confidence, character, and learning more about yourself were the top reasons why they believe it’s key, while 42 per cent reckon it forms resilience. 

And respondents reckon the typical person should achieve seven things they can look back on with pride in their adult lives. A third believed running a marathon would be something someone should be truly proud of, while 27 per cent think the same for a 10k. However, 31 per cent believe they’ve achieved less in the last 10 years than those before that with 63 per cent craving the sense of accomplishment again in the future.

Dan Geneen, at the British Heart Foundation, which is supporting more than 60 events across the country, added: “Clearly, there’s an appetite to feel that sense of pride and achievement, something that we have seen from all our amazing supporters over the years. In 2024 we want to continue to help people achieve these goals and have loads of events like our iconic London to Brighton Bike Ride and Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim that can help people across the UK feel proud of themselves. Big or small, it’s important to test yourself as well as to look after your health, so this way you can achieve both.”

Top 40 achievements Brits are most proud of

  1. Raising a child
  2. Buying my first home
  3. Paying off my mortgage
  4. Getting my first job
  5. Achieving an undergraduate degree
  6. Getting a promotion at work
  7. Travelling alone
  8. Learning a new skill
  9. Making something from scratch
  10. Completing a training qualification
  11. Doing some volunteering
  12. Moving out of my family home (away from parents)
  13. Saving my first £1,000
  14. Speaking out (e.g. calling someone out for doing something they shouldn’t)
  15. Feeling like I’ve made an impact on the next generation (e.g. as a teacher, volunteer etc.)
  16. Achieving A Levels
  17. Completing a complicated project at work
  18. Starting my own business
  19. Helping my community
  20. Learning a language
  21. Achieving a master’s degree
  22. Getting a pay rise at work
  23. Learning how to swim
  24. Organising a celebration for someone else (e.g. birthday party, anniversary, hen/stag do e.g.)
  25. Starting my own ‘side hustle’
  26. Winning an internal award at work (e.g. employee of the month/year)
  27. Organising an event to raise money for charity
  28. Learning to play an instrument
  29. Running a 10K
  30. Learning how to ride a bike
  31. Running half a marathon
  32. Getting into a local sports team
  33. Running a 5K
  34. Campaigning for change (e.g. taking part in a protest, writing to my local council, etc.)
  35. Winning money on a game of chance (e.g. a scratch card, in a raffle, etc.)
  36. A long-distance bike ride
  37. Completing an endurance challenge
  38. Running a full marathon
  39. Doing a skydive
  40. Growing my social media following

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