Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year’s Resolutions

It seems like every year about this time, many of my friends and I make what sometimes sound like idle promises wrapped in a “New Year’s Resolution.” New Year's Eve typically has been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. Basically, many people see it as a good time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Interestingly there is some survey research data regarding people’s New Year’s Resolutions. But before sharing them with you, let’s have some fun.

Before reading any further, make a list – either in your head or written down – of your New Year’s Resolutions for this year. (I’ll eave some space to you’ll be less tempted to cheat.)

Okay, now that you have your list, see how it compares with other people’s lists:

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends.
Recent polls conducted by
General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others report that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.

2. Fit in Fitness.
The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to us humans. Studies report that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. (Three workouts a week at the gym and pitching softball games two nights a week, not to mention yard work and motorcycle riding, really help keep a smile on my face.) In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3. Tame the Bulge.
Over 66% of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions.

4. Quit Smoking.
If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. Self-report survey research indicates that on average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good

5. Enjoy Life More.
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that "enjoying life more" has become a popular resolution in recent years. It's an important step to a happier and healthier you!

6. Quit Drinking.
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available (and I’m talking about programs like AA – not about your co-dependent friends and family members).

7. Get Out of Debt.
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It's a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8. Learn Something New.
Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. As I say in my pop-psych book, Mom and Dad’s Pearls of Wisdom… You Gotta Love ’Em, “You pay for an education once; you pay for ignorance the rest of your life.”

9. Help Others.
A popular, non-selfish New Year's resolution, volunteering can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. (My hands are still a bit sore form the 50 pounds of potatoes and 20 pounds of carrots I helped peel and cut up Christmas morning, but my time at the shelter was a wonderful present, in and of itself.)

10. Get Organized.
On just about every New Year’s Resolution top ten list, “organization” can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, if getting better organized helps you feel better about your life and less frantic… do it.

Question: How many of your New Year’s Resolutions were on the above ten?



Susan Hatler said...

Interesting about the popular New Year's Goals. I had two of them on my list! :-)

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Susan,
Thanks for visiting and your kind and gracious Comment.
With all best wishes for success with your next novel and a joyous and Happy New Year,

Cole Reising said...

I had four...