Happy New Year – Meet Your Future Self

sandy_clock_mirror_webAs the New Year dawns, we’re awash as usual with media chatter about resolutions.  And, as usual, all of this flutter and hype is exactly wrong (to say nothing of boring).  No need to go on and on about why resolutions almost always fail – there’s enough material on this topic to keep us all busy reading until 2010. 

That said, results from a new Harris Interactive survey were just released that suggest women are experts at making resolutions, but men are better at keeping them.  Here’s the skinny:

More likely to make a New Year’s resolution:   Women 74%    Men 58%

More likely to keep a New Year’s resolution:     Women 14%    Men 22%

A couple of things to notice right off the bat. First, this is a self-reporting survey (they spoke to 2256 adults, ages 18+, in the U.S., 1495 of whom claimed to have ever made a New Year’s resolution) – so the second part of the results could easily be interpreted as “Men are more likely to say they keep their New Year’s resolutions.”  (I haven’t reviewed the survey methodology so I’ll leave that alone for now.)  

The other thing to notice is that, assuming these results are accurate, both women and men are truly bad at keeping resolutions.  The percentage drop (failure rate) is 60% for women and 36% for men.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that men over-reported their success rate a tad, so the drops are probably even closer.   The macro result from the survey was:  

66% of adults have ever made a New Year’s resolution but only 17% always or often keep them

Further validation that making a New Year’s resoution is an exercise in hopeful denial. Better, I think, to make a date with your future self, as this article suggests, and have a looksee a few years up the road — it’s one solution for getting around our tendency for immediacy myopia.

And on that note …. Happy New Year!

1 Comment

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One response to “Happy New Year – Meet Your Future Self

  1. As Samuel Johnson said or remarriage, New Years resolutions are the triumph of hope over experience.

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