By Leslie McWhirter on Monday, 11 January 2016
Category: Real Life Applications

A Graphical Look at New Year's Resolutions

Each year, like clockwork, on January 1st millions of people take a long, hard (or maybe not-so long and hard) look at their lives and plan out their goals. I’m a list-maker and planner by nature, but I had never been into making New Year’s resolutions before I began working at Golden Software. All the statistics point to a system that is designed to fail. I heard on the radio recently that 75% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within the first 24 hours. Now, I don’t know about that, but it did get me thinking about the numbers behind New Year’s resolutions, and why the success rate was so low.

New Year’s resolutions by the numbers. These Grapher 11 graphs show the types and specific resolutions people make, what percentage of Americans make and keep their resolutions, and the percentage of resolutions that are kept over the first six months of the year. Data from http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/2015s-top-new-years-resolution-fitness.html and http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ using our unique graphing software.

You may have noticed that I said I had never been into making New Year’s resolutions before I began working at Golden Software. This is an important distinction, because we at Golden Software do make resolutions, to a certain extent, and we have been successful in doing so. We call these SMART goals, and we present them to the entire group at the beginning of each year. Doing so gives us the opportunity to know what each of our coworkers is striving to accomplish, and keeps us accountable to one another. You may be wondering “What is a SMART goal?” SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-related. It is a modus operandi for setting goals that you can actually achieve.

Keeping these in mind, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds this year, you can break that down into specific goals to eat better and exercise more. You can measure your progress by keeping food and exercise logs, and have weekly weigh-ins to see how you’re doing. Here’s an example of one of my SMART goals for 2016: Increase training video content.

So, if you’re one of those people who puts together New Year’s resolutions each year, or if you just want a better way to do long-term planning for work, here are my takeaways:

Happy resolving!

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