Three Beliefs About New Year’s Resolutions


According to a recent survey of over 1,000 Canadians, 29% of them make a New Year’s resolution. Rumor Detector So wanted to check out three common beliefs about it — and the first one won’t surprise many readers.

Most people don’t keep their resolutions? Rather true

A researcher from Pennsylvania, John Norcross, has long been interested in New Year’s resolutions. moves away from January 1: from 77% after one week, to 40% after 6 months. Some are still able to hold out for two years: but they are only 19% left…

The good news is that this doesn’t mean the effort of making resolutions is wasted. In 2002, John Norcross tried to find out if this effort increased the chances of adopting new lifestyle habits. He studied a group of people who wanted to change something in their daily lives (lose weight, quit smoking, etc.). A little more than half of his « guinea pigs » had decided to act on New Year’s Eve while the others had not made a commitment.

Six months later, 46% of those who made a resolution had actually changed a behavior. This does not mean that they had respected their resolution to the letter, but it was nevertheless a rate ten times greater than in the other group. The researcher had concluded that New Year’s resolutions, if not followed scrupulously, would at least be the sign of a desire to change.

The majority of the resolutions relate to health? TRUE

In the 2002 study, 31% of participants wanted to lose weight, 15% wanted to start a physical activity program and 12% planned to quit smoking.

These resolutions are still as popular as ever, nearly two decades later. In 2020, those of Canadians were indeed to eat better, lose weight and exercise more. The Americans had very similar goals. That said, saving was also at the top of the list, in Canada and the United States.

Are some resolutions easier to keep than others? TRUE

In an interview with CNN in 2017, researcher John Norcross confirmed that changing one’s consumption or addictive behaviors was more difficult. For example, according to a survey of Britons in 2016, 58% of people who wanted to improve their relationships with family or friends had been successful for more than a year. By comparison, only 13% of people who had tried to quit were still abstaining a year later. Quitting smoking would actually be the hardest resolution to keep.

While not as difficult, making resolutions about diet and physical activity is also a good challenge. The 2016 survey revealed that only 19% of Britons who had started a diet still complied with it the following year. A 2011 study in Sweden, however, pointed out that the success of weight loss varied according to the person’s initial body mass index.

As for physical activity, only 36% of Britons who had decided to be more active for the new year were still doing so, a year later. In this regard, the Bloomberg CityLab carried out in 2019 an analysis of data compiled by Strava, a mobile application used to record sports activities by GPS. These data thus indicated that many Americans were abandoning this resolution… as early as mid-January.

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