Do New Year Resolutions Even WorkDo New Year Resolutions Even Work

New Year is best known for resolutions – get fit, lose weight, spend less, get organized – at least these are some of mine. We all hope that along with the end of the Holiday season, we can hit the reset button on our lives, too.

The interesting part of this is that as each January 1st comes, I am making the same resolutions. What does that mean?

In case you’re pondering like I am, last year the University of Scranton published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology some interesting statistics about New Year’s Resolutions

These are the main resolutions that Americans make:

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

The main categories – since we don’t all have the exact same goals – of resolutions are:

Self Improvement or education related resolutions
Weight related resolutions
Money related resolutions
Relationship related resolutions

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 The study went on to point out a few interesting insights:

Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions – 45%

Percent of Americans who absolutely never make New Year’s Resolutions  – 38%

Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution – 8%


Percent of people who have some success in their resolutions – 49%


Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year – 24%


Resolution maintained through first week – 75%

Past two weeks – 71%

Past one month – 64%

Past six months – 46%


Now, let’s apply a few of these lessons to ourselves. The take away for me is that I am right in line with the rest of America in term of the type of resolutions that I make,  and also in my own ability to maintain the momentum. The one really important finding that the study reported is that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.  As much as we may bash the makings of New Year resolutions, this tells us that naming and establishing a plan to achieve the goal can be an important element of success. Even if I face making the same resolutions year after year, I am encouraged by the simple act of making the resolutions. Articulating the goals is more likely to keep me motivated towards achieving my goal.

Achieving Your Resolutions

The thing that is important to understand about goals and goal attainment is that the process of making the goals and maintaining them is a forward motion. My resolution for the future of my blog posts, for example, will be to follow this thread. I will be addressing the change process, goal setting, procrastination, and structured plans to help you achieve your goals.

Sound like a plan?


Keep checking backand let’s accompish our goals together.Dr. Ines K. RoeDr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well bing, join her ecourses.