New Year’s Resolutions by the Numbers

I can see that a number of my fellow student bloggers have been thinking about and making New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. I made a very public one this year – I’m taking part in the Dryathlon for Cancer Research UK– and I’m pleased to report that it’s so far, so good! As well as helping to raise some money for a good cause, according to research carried out by New Scientist, it should also help me to reduce my liver fat by around 15-20%. More space for chocolate, I suppose.

Yesterday, someone I follow on twitter sent out a link to this article which summarises a piece of American research on resolutions. The good news for most Leicester student bloggers is that if you make a resolution, you have a 39% chance of managing to keep it throughout the year as you’re very likely to be in your twenties. The not so good news is that this year I will find myself in the age range which, according to the article, means that I only have a 14% chance of being able to keep mine. Perhaps that’s why I chose the Dryathlon for my resolution – I only have to keep it until the 31st January and I can claim success for the whole of 2014 …

The top ten resolutions that people make are generally unsurprising (at least, to me) and generally fall into the categories of work, relationships, health and wealth. But number 9 on the list did manage to surprise me. How on earth can you keep a resolution to fall in love? Surely that’s not within the control of an individual?

The other assertion made in the article is that people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t. I can understand that – after all, if you aim at nothing, you generally hit nothing. So the unspoken resolution I have for 2014 is to make sure that I’m able to keep on track with my MSc without jeopardising my work, relationships, health and wealth!

(Hat-tip to @AnitaMathias1 for the link to the Statistic Brain article on resolutions)

This article was originally written for the University of Leicester Student Blogs, 14th January 2013.

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