Good News on New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s part of our national lore that few if any people keep New Year’s resolutions past about Jan. 15, their frail dreams of change crashing on the unforgiving reefs of habit, sloth, and over-resolving–i.e., pledging to run a marathon and bench-press 500 pounds by Ground Hog Day.

But here’s a challenge to that conventional wisdom.

A Wall Street Journal-Harris Interactive Poll reports that a surprisingly large number of people actually do make progress with their resolutions. Here are some of the numbers:

Eat healthier/eat less………………………………..68% succeed

Exercise more frequently………………………….54% succeed

Do stress-relief activities such as yoga…………51% succeed

Drink less alcohol……………………………………..71 % succeed

Lose weight………………………………………………52% succeed

The only standout failure in the list? Only 31% of those who vow to get more sleep actually manage to boost the zzzzzz’s.

Granted, these are self-reported numbers, but so were the earlier numbers that spoke of almost universal failure to change.  And we don’t know what actual benchmarks the respondents used; “eat less” might mean downing a  quart of Cherry Garcia a night rather than two quarts. But, still, food for thought.  Perhaps  we’re not the helpless puppets we thought we were?

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