Interesting New Year’s Resolution Statistics

December 11, 2008  

This article was originally published December 2008

Early this week I received an email from a researcher at a major national TV talk show.  They are doing a show on New Year’s Resolutions and saw my article on the topic.

They wanted to know if I had more details on the statistics referenced in the article.

I went back to the research we did with the help of Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ, and found the following interesting tid bits.  The survey has a margin of error of 3%.

  • 45% of Americans usually set New Year’s Resolutions; 17% infrequently set resolutions; 38% absolutely never set resolutions.
  • Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions. 19% achieve their resolutions every other year.  49% have infrequent success.  24% (one in four people) NEVER succeed and have failed on every resolution every year. That means that 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed.
  • Of those who do set resolutions (these add to more than 100% because some people set multiple resolutions):
    • 34% set resolutions related to money
    • 38% set resolutions related to weight
    • 47% set resolutions related to self-improvement or education
    • 31% set resolutions related to relationships
  • It appears that the younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions
    • 39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
    • Less than 15% of those over 50 achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
  • The less happy you are, the more likely you are to set New Year’s Resolutions.  This is especially true for those who set money-related resolutions: 41% are not happy, 34% are moderately happy, and 25% are happy.
  • And here’s the punchline – There is no correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success.  People who achieve their resolutions every year are NO happier than those who do not set resolutions or who are unsuccessful in achieving them.

What Does This Really Mean?

Of course numbers only represent averages and do not reflect on YOUR personal situation. However, there are a few questions you may want to ponder as we inch closer towards New Year’s Eve:

  • What kind of New Year’s Resolutions do you typically set (money, health, self-improvement, or relationship-oriented)?
  • Why do you set these particular resolutions?
  • What do you hope to gain by achieving these resolutions?
  • What will you do to be more successful (than the typical person)?
  • Do you believe you will be happier in a year if you are successful in achieving your resolutions? If so, be aware that this is rarely the case – your attitude is more important than the results.
  • And finally, what could you do to improve your level of happiness TODAY, rather than believing your happiness lies in the future?

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner.  This year, instead of looking forward to what you want, spend your time reflecting on what you have.  This is especially important during these troubling economic times.  Listen to a brief MP3 I recorded on the topic of “Wanting What You Have.”

And if you do set a resolution, set a “theme-based” resolution rather than a “goal-based” resolution.  This will increase your level of happiness AND participation in the coming year.

I am formulating my theme for the New Year now.

What will be your theme for the New Year?

P.S. If you want to give a great gift that will change the life of a loved one, be sure to check out Goal-Free Living.  If you want signed copies, use the contact button above.  We can make the book out with a personal inscription.

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82 Responses to “Interesting New Year’s Resolution Statistics”

  1. Make Your Goals NOW- Not On New Years! | Geek Entrepreneur on December 31st, 2008 4:06 am

    [...] This is pure baloney! Studies show that while most people who make resolutions stick with them for a short amount of time (under six months), only 8% are successful in completing their resolutions! [...]

  2. Joey’s Crappy Day :: Blog Archive :: New Year’s resolutions on December 31st, 2008 3:27 pm

    [...] About New Year’s resolutions Dec. 31, 2008 | Posted by Joey at 3:27pm CST I searched the vast archives of this website to see if I had made any public New Year’s resolutions in the past. As it turns out I haven’t, which has to be a great disappointment to you all. I’ve also discovered that most people never keep their resolutions. [...]

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  5. New Years Resolutions | Bill Gray on January 14th, 2009 6:17 pm

    [...] A recent study found that only 8% of Americans consistently achieve their New Years Resolutions. 68% of the respondents are successful some of the time, and 24% have failed on their resolutions every year. You can find more statistics on New Years Resolutions here. [...]

  6. Pilih mana : Susun goal dengan SMART atau goal-free? « Sanggita on January 16th, 2009 7:22 am

    [...] “And here’s the punchline : There is no correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success.  People who achieve their resolutions every year are NO happier than those who do not set resolutions or who are unsuccessful in achieving them.” Begitulah hasil temuan Stephen Shapiro disini. [...]

  7. Why I don’t Like New Year’s Resolutions | Simplistic Thoughts on January 19th, 2009 7:22 am

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    [...] Syndicated, Unsyndicated on December 28th, 2008 Recently, author Stephen Shapiro shared some surprising findings on New Year’s Resolutions:It appears that the younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions.39% of [...]

  9. [♥ Forgetting Dorian Gray.] « &;; Every Passing Minute Is Another Chance To Turn It All Around. on September 19th, 2009 6:13 pm

    [...] According to this website: Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions. 19% achieve their resolutions every other year. 49% have infrequent success. 24% (one in four people) NEVER succeed and have failed on every resolution every year. That means that 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed!!! [...]

  10. New Authors Look At New Year’s Resolutions on December 28th, 2009 12:01 pm

    [...] and not to put any pressure on you, but, according to a 2008 research study done by Steve Shapiro and the Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ, 45 percent of Americans usually set New Year’s Resolutions and 17 percent infrequently set them. [...]

  11. uberVU - social comments on December 28th, 2009 5:00 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by candagmkd: Interesting New Year’s Resolution Statistics | Business Innovation… http://bit.ly/S9ioT

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    We play a New Year’s Game instead of making resolutions. It goes so much further. http://letterdash.com/elgado/the-new-years-game

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