2014: To Resolve Or Not To Resolve: Facts About New Year's Resolutions

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2014: To Resolve Or Not To Resolve: Facts About New Year’s Resolutions

I was working at at the gym last week and took a moment to watch the television (okay, okay, okay, I mean watching the Washington Redskins getting creamed) and this guy comes up right next to me and starts gazing at the television.  He then points out all of the people in the gym and tells me how it will all get back to “normal” by mid-February.  He, of course, was referring to people new to the gym scene who were there because of  end of the year and new year’s resolutions. 

I am not much of a new year’s resolution person. It’s simple.  I find myself resolving to do or accomplish things quite a bit. I don’t use the new year to make resolution on a theme for the year.  Instead, I employ another ritual. I find it a powerful practice to identify all of the things I am grateful for in my life and to feel my inner knowledge for even better in the new year.

For those who have made new year’s resolutions in 2014. First, congratulations ! That’s a good thing.  Second, here are some significant facts behind new year’s resolutions according to some researchers.

The University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology has published statistics on the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2014.  They are (from top to bottom): (1) Lose Weight, (2) Getting Organized, (3) Spend Less, Save More, (4) Enjoy Life to the Fullest, (5) Staying Fit and Healthy, (6) Learn Something Exciting, (7) Quit Smoking, (8) Help Others in Their Dreams, (9) Fall in Love, (10) Spend More Time with Family. This list is another discussion all to itself.  I note #9 and #10 and ask: what’s up with that? The summary sheet has many other great statistics on this topic. Since apparently, only 45% of you are making a resolution this year, I won’t dwell any further.  Here is the link to those statistics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

Indeed, according to some researchers, the odds do not favor those who make new year’s resolutions.  Some researchers suggest that these odds increase when you generally: (1) Make Only One Resolution, (2) Plan Ahead and (3) Be Specific.  For more specifics, see http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_resolution.shtml There is also different advice for men and women.

Of all the other insights about new year’s resolutions, I recommend two more pieces worth reading.  The first is Carolyn’s Gregoire’s piece “This Is Why You Can Never Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions.”  It provides a good summary about the power of habits and their effects in our lives.  See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/01/the-psychology-of-making-_n_4475502.html  The second is Matt Hutson’s “Why We Form New Year’s Resolutions.” It summarizes the importance and the power of rituals in changing behaviors and charting new courses in our lives.

See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-hutson/why-we-form-new-years-res_b_4522280.html

A new year’s resolution is a commitment — to yourself.  May the power of your word and your commitment be ever so strong this year and may you realize the profound blessings of keeping such commitments.  Here’s to the very best of your desires for 2014.

 

Kirk Schroder / Food Advocate / foodadvocate@ellwoodthompsons.com