New Year’s Resolutions

Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, ONE! Happy New Year!  With the New Year comes New Year’s Resolutions, meaning millions of Americans will attempt to change something about them. While those people who make resolutions will try to continue them for the entire year, most will not be able to. Resolutioners would love to be able to keep their resolutions throughout the year, but there are some major problems holding them back.

When someone does not succeed with their New Year’s Resolution, it is easy to make the assumption that they are lazy, unmotivated, and cannot control their impulses. But who really can judge? According to Harvard professors of Education Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey only 40 percent of Americans make resolutions, and of those only eight percent keep them until the next New Year, meaning that very few of people in America actually can follow through on this. This means that around only 25 million out of 102 million people follow through with their New Year’s Resolutions.

The amount of people who can follow through on a resolution is astonishingly low, which might not be cause for concern, but when three out of the top seven resolutions chosen are related to important health risks, and the number one overall choice is to lose weight. While losing weight might not be the most critical goal to someone who is athletically fit, it can mean life or death for someone who is extremely obese. These resolutions are important to follow through on; they are not just little goals which do not matter to anyone in the long run.

This lack of success in resolutions can be attributed to an important part of the human body: the immune system. When someone tries to start a diet, the immune system has a natural response to try to get the dieter to eat more so that the person who is on the diet will not become malnourished. This explains why, according to Kegan and Lahey, the average American gains approximately 107 percent of the weight they lost on a diet back.

There are two main ways people can go about attempting to fix this issue. The first is to make what is called a technical resolution, and the second is to try to change behavior to succeed on a behavioral resolution.

The easier of the two would be the technical resolution. A technical resolution is resolving to learn a new skill, such as learning how to fly a kite. By learning this new skill improvement is still made with the resolution, but no behavior modifications have to be made.

The second, continuing on making behavior type resolutions is more difficult, as the modification that is going to be made is based on the behavior. While it may not be easy to change the behavior, it is imperative to do, as these resolutions often mean more than a technical resolution would.