New Year’s Resolutions

The idea of setting New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to Babylonian times, where there is evidence that they prayed to their gods at the start of each year, promising to return borrowed items and to repay debts.  The concept of making such annualized commitments at the start of a year can also be found in Judaic traditions and during the Christian fasting period of Lent.

Suffice it to say, the custom of making a New Year’s resolution is well-grounded in history.  Unfortunately, the success rate of actually keeping these commitments is pretty dismal.  A 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them.

But that doesn’t mean we should not try to buck the odds.  In fact, studies have shown that when we can break a self-improvement goal like “lose weight” into smaller steps such as “lose one pound a week,” we do better at getting to the finish line.  Also, when you can engage someone else in your goal (a friend or a gym trainer, in this case), you have additional motivation to succeed and you often help your “partner” in their endeavor as well.

Here are the most common resolution categories:

  • Well-Being (i.e., weight loss, smoking cessation, reduce alcohol consumption, stop nail-biting, etc.)
  • Finances (i.e., debt reduction)
  • Self-Improvement (i.e., educational pursuits: learn a new language, learn a new skill, etc.)
  • Volunteer
  • Travel


Here’s to a wonderful 2013!


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.