I recently stumbled across the work of Professor John Norcross, the “undisputed” guru on all matters related to New Year’s resolutions. Who knew? I guess a guru may exist for nearly all things. Professor Norcross surveyed and followed a few hundred folks who made New Year’s resolutions and compared them to those who did not commit themselves to goals as the calendar year turned.
Here are a few fun facts from the Professor’s findings:
- About 50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions on any given year and 38% absolutely will not make one in principle (er, they’ve resolved not to resolve);
- 25% of resolutions fail within one week;
- Older folks have greater difficulty keeping resolutions than younger people – 20-somethings beat 50-somethings for one-year resolution success rates – 39% versus 14%. Of course, success rates were self-reported so we can either conclude that the adage about old dogs and new tricks rings true or that millennials tend to grade on a curve.
We can draw solace from Professor’s Norcross’s most persuasive finding: those who made New Year’s Resolution were 10 times more likely to change unwanted behaviors than those who didn’t make them. Yes, setting goals works and the New Year, fresh with the feelings of optimism and renewal, seems like the perfect time to make them.
We have an exciting agenda of educational programs called “Learn with the Leaders” that we will highlight throughout the year. In January, we will talk to people about how they can help themselves with autoimmune disease, cholesterol problems, diabetes, and memory loss. Please make an effort to attend these sessions.
Participating in a research study has lots of unintended benefits but perhaps most importantly the benefit of having a team help you stick with a program. Let’s resolve to keep our resolutions this year, or at least double the amount of time until we break them.
– Michael J. Koren, MD FACC CPI FAPCR
Reference: Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 397-405