One might think that since my professional life orbits in the galaxy of helping people change their habits for good that I might be a fan of New Year’s Resolutions.
One might think that. However, one would be wrong.
Don’t misunderstand; I believe that any time one wants to make a change for the better it’s perfect. Should the passing of another year be the inspiration for that alteration, I’m all for it. However, the swing side of this first-of-the-year obsession is that each January, everyone and their brother is mouthing, “This year, I promise to…” – yet, they don’t. Blah, blah, blah. Moreover, the whole “New Year’s resolution thing” provides cover for the whole “over indulgence thing” that runs from each October through December. After all, one can fall back on the rationale; “I’ll get back in control next year. Give me another serving please; don’t be shy with the gravy.”
Anyway, I’m riding a little high on my horse. I apologize. Bottom line is that the best time to make a resolution is when you’re actually committed to doing it, whether that is January 1, March 22, or October 5. As the ad says, “just do it.”
Yet, as long as I’ve taken us this far down the road, let’s drive on and see what there is.
According to Nielsen Ratings, last year the top five were, in order: stay fit and healthy, lose weight, enjoy life to the fullest, spend less and save more, and spend more time with family. Number seven on the list was the most successful as it was “not to make any resolutions.” Odds are that the 18 percent of respondents who made that their resolution were the only folks who probably achieved what they said they would do.
By the way, for those of us “of a certain age”, the next time you’re inclined to put down the “younger generation” as less ambitious or lazy, it might be a good time to resolve to be quiet. According to the University of Scranton Journal of Psychology, only 14 percent of people my age (um, that would be over 50) achieve their resolutions compared to 39 percent of folks in their twenties. Of all respondents however, one quarter will give up before the first week fades, and 73 percent will throw in the towel overall. Their stated reasons? Too busy or they weren’t committed to it in the first place.
I’m not quite sure how to interpret this next fact.
As it turns out, people who do fully commit to making a resolution were ten times more likely to achieve them than those who did not. Isn’t that akin to saying, “people who got in cars with an endpoint in mind were ten times more likely to get to their destination than those who didn’t.” Head scratching; maybe I’m just reading it wrong?
It did get me thinking about what some of the more humorous resolutions people came up with were and, after digging through the interwebs, I found some that were worth sharing, especially if your resolution is to find more humor in life.
Many were tech related, such as “I will think of a password other than ‘password’ or ‘hello,’” or “I will stop sending e-mail and text messages to someone who is in the room with me.” Health related amusing pledges included: “I will do less laundry and use more deodorant” and “I will start brushing my teeth with the bristly end of toothbrush.” Finally, a few others that stood out included, “I will figure out a way to be more imaginative,” “I will commit to working with neglected children — my own,” and “I will find out why the correspondence course on ‘Mail Fraud’ that I purchased never showed up.”
Happy New Year. May it be full of awe and wonder.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching and speaking. Watch for his new book (co-written with his sister), “The Busy Baby Boomers Motivational Guide to Weight Loss” on Amazon.com.