New Year's Resolutions Not Often Followed, Study Finds

New York, December 31, 2014 -- A major study recently completed by the Human Quirk Index, a multinational think-tank dedicated to tracking aberrant human behavior, has determined that many, if not most, New Year's resolutions are never fully followed. The study may have profound implications on the widely observed cultural phenomenon which leading HQI scientists, based on the results of the study, have dismissed as "kind of pointless, really".

Data for the Human Quirk Index study were gathered via videophone interviews with over 100,000 randomly-selected subjects in 16 countries where the practice of making and then not following New Year's resolutions is commonly observed. HQI found that even the most half-hearted attempts to follow the vast majority of resolutions were virtually never made, while those that were followed tended to be of the more obvious and selfish variety.

"We were a bit shocked by the sheer extent of the negative trend, although the bulk of the data generally fulfilled our initial hypothesis, which was that New Year's resolutions are generally a load of bunk," said Dr. Patrick Quirk, founder and lead researcher on the Human Quirk Index. "The data overwhelmingly indicate that people make these resolutions without any genuine intention of ever following through on them. It's the most stunning display of arbitrary annual self-deception I've ever encountered."

According to Dr. Quirk, the most common un-followed New Year's resolutions included "quitting smoking or drinking, losing some weight, watching less reality television, spending more time with family, filing taxes early rather than at the very last possible minute, reducing dependence on foreign oil, reading a good book once in a while, and getting some exercise".

"Of the 100,000 interview subjects," Dr. Quirk said, "98.7% had made one or more of those resolutions on New Year's Eve. Guess how many actually had actually done any of those things with any kind of consistency of purpose by the time we followed up in March? 3.1%. Not impressive."

On the other hand, the Human Quirk Index found a large number of so-called "self-evident New Year's resolutions" that, as a rule, tended to be followed with a high degree of regularity, but only, according to Dr. Quirk, "because you'd have to be a complete idiot not to, although, to be honest, that criteria could also be applied to the ones that weren't followed."

These included New Year's resolutions such as: not driving while handcuffed; not eating steak with a spoon; bathing at least one per month; not murdering more than absolutely necessary; and not repeatedly committing impeachable offenses while president.

"Of those, virtually all were followed with a very high degree of consistency, with the one exception of the last one, a major goose egg," said Dr. Quirk.

The Human Quirk Index study, according to Dr. Quirk, raises the interesting question as to whether the practice of making New Year's resolutions and then not following them actually serves any useful purpose to individuals or to society as a whole.

"The whole thing seems a little pointless, frankly, when one considers the remote statistical likelihood that a given resolution will actually be followed," said Dr. Quirk. "Here we have millions and millions of people making plaintive little promises to themselves every New Year's Eve that they clearly have no intention of ever coming through on."

"The worst part," Dr. Quirk continued, "is that, because this is an annual event, the individuals in question come to be less and less surprised or disappointed when the half-hearted promises they've made to themselves are not followed. This lowers their expectations regarding promises made to them by both themselves and others such as, for example, their friends, loved ones, or elected representatives. This in turn leads to a reductive cycle in which, one could say, individuals become conditioned, prejudiced even, against the potential fulfillment of any particular obligations made to them. I call it 'the soft bigotry of low expectations', and it's a very dangerous trend indeed."

Dr. Quirk recommends that individuals make a single resolution this New Year's Eve: "Don't make any resolutions this year. That should be your resolution. Whatever the damn thing is you want to get done, just do it without any hypocritical ceremonial champagne-lubricated fanfare. If you refuse to keep deceiving yourself, you might stop letting yourself be so easily deceived by other people. Trust me, you'll thank yourself in the long run."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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