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Dec. 30 2009 - 8:15 pm | 25 views | 2 recommendations | 0 comments

New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail

umair shuaib.

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In news that you already knew to be true, a new study confirms the obvious: New Year’s resolutions don’t mean squat. The problem? Well, if you’ve had something you really wanted to change in your life, waiting for some artificial start time probably means you weren’t all that serious about changing it in the first place.

Say you want to lose weight, one of the most common resolutions. Your thinking goes as follows: After the holidays, when I can freely stuff my face with whatever I choose, I will turn over a new leaf, start exercising, and finally adhere to that new celebrity diet. Binge and purge, in other words, with a few days or weeks of Stairmaster thrown in for bonus points. Good luck with that.

Like with confession or a circumscribed day of atonement, the notion of time sensitive wholesale behavioral change would be laudable were it not so laughable. Not that people shouldn’t strive for self-betterment, but the ready-set-go approach that takes place every drunken New Year’s eve, or, even moreso, on a very hung over New Year’s day is just another example of misplaced wishful thinking.

What’s more, our sheepish ritual of starting anew in the new year often has nothing to do with our own desires, according to the University of Hertfordshire findings:

Of those who failed, many had followed the spurious advice of self-help gurus–which almost guarantees disaster, apparently.

Yes, there’s a lot of quick money to be made for those who can convince you your resolution should overlap with their company’s product line.

In case you were wondering, the U.S. government has put together a list of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions (I guess they had a slow week). Here they are:

Lose Weight

Manage Debt

Save Money

Get a Better Job

Get Fit

Get a Better Education

Drink Less Alcohol

Quit Smoking Now

Reduce Stress Overall

Reduce Stress at Work

Take a Trip

Volunteer to Help Others


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    About Me

    I've published two novels: The Secrets of the Camera Obscura (Chronicle Books), and The Third Eye (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday). I'm currently working as a journalist for AOL's Sphere. For the past three years I also spouted political opinion for AOL's Political Machine, which I also helped edit. My non-fiction has appeared in places like Men's Vogue, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, USA Today, Newsday, Travel + Leisure, GQ (Spain), and Vanity Fair (Italy). I've dabbled with short stories, publishing in Nerve and a few small journals.

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