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Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Happy New Year! Hopefully you've had a great New Year's countdown and haven't woken up with a hangover but at least I hope you are awake enough for this blog. Now that the celebrations are over, reality sets in and it's time to make those ever popular new year's resolutions. Will you be hitting the gym on a regular basis to shed those holiday pounds? Or will you keep your closet neat and organized? How about smiling more to your family members? Get your cholestrols down? Travel to a new place? and on and on.  

As we put the holidays behind us and dig out from underneath all of the wrapping paper (or snow! or both), many of us turn to the upcoming New Year's celebration to engage in a ritual that any visiting alien might be puzzled by — New Year's resolutions. Why do humans pick a single point in time each year to try and change certain things in their life — behaviors, attitudes, whatnot — make resolutions about them, and then proceed to fail at them within a month's time?

The most popular New Year's goals people set, according to Miller and Marlatt (1998) are:

  • 37% - Starting to exercise
  • 13% - Eating better
  • 7% - Reducing the consumption of alcohol, caffeine and other drugs, or quitting smoking

According to the same survey, most people — 75 percent — who make a resolution fail on their first attempt and most people — 67 percent — make more than one resolution. So, from a psychological perspective, it might be interesting to ask what exactly determines how many goals people set and how successful they are. Take myself for example, I didn't accomplish the "Starting to exercise" part until the later part of 2008. I did try to "Eat better" and that in itself is a roller coaster ride. I have listed some of my resolutions this brand New Year previously and I hope this year I can beat the norm just a tab bit earlier. Again Happy New Year.. 

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