Look at the ads for Lean Cuisine in your local papers as of Jan. 1 and you know what time of year it is -- the infamous season of New Year's Resolutions that usually involve fitness and health -- and often end up in shards on the floor by about February. This fickle resolution stuff didn't start with this century or even the last. In fact, it dates back to about 153 B.C., according to a self-help author who runs a website called (no, really) www.whyyourlifesucks.net. He urges his readers to not put an exaggerated amount of pressure on the January resolutions since that only sets them up for failure.
So what are the surveys and pollsters saying? First of all, the Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive Healthcare poll asked adults in December: "Will you make a New Year's Resolution to eat a better diet, lose weight, or exercise more next year?" Interestingly, maybe this New Year's Resolution stuff is more anecdotal since this poll found only 38 percent will actually do the deed. Some 62 percent said they would not make a resolution. But let's take a deeper look: Women's belief in resolutions (46 percent WILL make one) is squashed by men (only 29 percent say they will). But now look at the enduring hope of those who do make one: 77 percent say if they make one, they will keep it. Ah, hope springs eternal.
SNEWS View: Realistic goals are what help people stick to them. So the more realistic a company touts its products' abilities, the better. You may sell more by promising the world, but you won't win long-term users who then can become your biggest fans and biggest promoters.