January 15, 2008

How Are You Doing on Your New Year's Resolutions?

Yes, yes, yes, January is unofficial resolution month, and approximately 40-45% of you out there have resolved to improve or change something in your lives.  So, why are resolutions such a big deal?  Well, it comes down to your overall chance of success. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions (46% success rate for resolvers versus only 4% for non-resolvers).  

So take for example, the most popular resolution of losing weight.  Let's say that you made an official resolution to lose 20 pounds in this new year.  Well, you have an almost 50% chance of meeting that goal this year.  Meanwhile, someone who just thought about losing 20 pounds, but didn't make a formal commitment to it, has a less than 5% chance of meeting the goal weight.  

That's a pretty big difference, and one that might make you think twice about making your resolutions official.  For some ideas on how to formalize your resolutions, click here.  

Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys , University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4 (2002).

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