What would the arrival of another New Year be without a few words about resolutions from the old Wrighter?
Here is a list of the top 10 New Years resolutions for 2016...You know, you've probably made and broken every one of them yourself over the years:
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
Now consider the following statistics on New Years resolutions.
-- Percent of those who usually make New Year’s Resolutions -- 45%
-- Percent of those who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions -- 17%
-- Percent of individuals who absolutely never make New Year’s Resolutions -- 38%
-- Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution -- 8%
-- Percent of those who have infrequent success -- 49%
-- Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year -- 24%
-- People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.
Rather revealing data, don't you think?
It’s well known that New Year’s resolutions don’t have a high success rate. While many people opt to ditch the annual goal-setting event, about 40 to 45 percent of adults set at least one resolution come New Year’s. Unfortunately for many, the results turn into a pattern: January 1, we start off determined to follow through on our goals. Excited and energized, we think that this year will be different from the last, when our resolutions went by the wayside. But come February or even mid-January, the majority of us have abandoned our goals altogether.
So why do we continue to make resolutions every year even though so few of us follow through? One reason is the allure of starting from scratch. I suspect that the beginning of the year offers a fresh start and a clean slate. The idea of bettering ourselves is another motivator. “Most of us have a natural bent toward self-improvement,” said John Duffy, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent: Radical Optimism in Raising Teens and Tweens. And even though the New Year is an arbitrary date, Duffy explained that it “gives us time and a goal date to prepare for the change, to fire up for the shifts we plan to make.”
Moreover, it may have something to do with “Tradition! Tradition! Tradition,” as the characters in the musical Fiddler On The Roof famously sing. Setting New Year’s resolutions is believed to go as far back as Babylonian times. It’s said that Julius Caesar started the tradition of making resolutions on January 1st as a way to honor the Roman mythical god Janus, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past year and forward to the new year. Romans mostly made morality-based resolutions, such as seeking forgiveness from their enemies.
To my way of thinking, wanting to make resolutions is a good thing. The fact that people keep making resolutions even when they don’t always follow through ultimately means that they have hope and a certain level of belief in their ability to change and be more of who they really want to be.
Some research confirms that setting a resolution can get you closer to your goals. One study found that 46 percent of individuals who made resolutions were successful compared to four percent who wanted to achieve a certain goal and considered it but didn’t actually create a resolution.
So, statistics aside, go ahead and make some New Years resolutions in the next few weeks. Who knows, for once you may actually keep at least one of them if you are sufficiently motivated. If you don't, at least your intentions were good. Nothing ventured nothing gained!
And there's always a new year in another 12 months.