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Statistics: Top new year's resolutions & how to keep them

How many people make new year's resolutions? How many keep them? For how long?

40 to 45% of American adult make one or more resolutions each year.

Top new year's resolutions: By far, the top 3 new year's resolutions are:
- weight loss,
- exercise program,
- stop smoking.
Also popular are resolutions dealing with better money management & debt reduction.

The following shows how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:
- past the first week: 75%
- past 2 weeks: 71%
- after one month: 64%
- after 6 months: 46%

In other words: Half of the people who make good resolutions at new year have given up on them by the end of June. The "glass half full" perspective is that half of the people succeed. Which half do you want to be in? It's not necessarily going to be easy to succeed, but it will be easier if you are prepared.

See: Sustainable Resolutions: 3 steps for mindful, lasting change

Research shows that a proactive attitude is useful: People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions. Wishes are not resolutions.

New Year's resolvers (sample = 159) and comparable nonresolvers interested in changing a problem later (sample = 123) were followed for six months via telephone interviews. Resolvers reported higher rates of success than nonresolvers; at six months, 46% of the resolvers were continuously successful compared to 4% of the nonresolvers.
Source: Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys , University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4 (2002).

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