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Resolutions poll: Are you keeping your goals?

It's February of a new year, and for many that means starting to see some results from those January resolutions. And for some others...perhaps it means starting to slip on those January resolutions. How have you guys been doing?

I don't do resolutions myself, and somewhat to my surprise, I am not alone. In fact, I'm in the majority! According to an AARP survey we conducted in December, only 37% of US adults say they set goals at the beginning of the year. Moreover, there are no differences by age, gender, income, or geography. That's a relief. I suspect the other 63% don't even want to deal with resolutions that lead to the predictable February disappointment.

Only 37% of US adults say they set goals at the beginning of the year.

If you are working on a new goal, I've read that if you write down your resolutions and/or tell someone, you are more likely to keep them. Turns out, 45% share their goals with friends, family, someone/somewhere else. In our research, women (36%) are more likely to not share their goals than men (25%). So if you've started to struggle, perhaps confide in a friend or share your progress on Facebook.

If you're like our survey respondents, you're probably working on a health related goal ( even CVS is quitting smoking this year!). In fact, 25% of adults 18+ are focused on making health/fitness changes this year, 14% are making personal/spiritual changes, 13% financial, 10% career/educational and 10% relationships.  While these are good categories, they are broad and I can offer up a few others that might give you small successes on your way to achieving your larger goals: getting organized (whether that means purging your emails or getting your closets reordered) and doing one or two things you think you don't have time for. For me, this means spending time with people I care about. Just a few weeks ago, I went to dinner at my boarding school roommate's house. Despite me being tired and having to drive an hour each way, I went. When I arrived, I was greeted with my friend and her husband in their pajamas! I asked them about it and their response was the same: It was okay because I was family. The meal was superb--pork loin crusted in mustard, roasted potatoes, spinach salad with cranberries --and between it and their warm affection, I was smiling all the way home.

You can't replace any resolution for friends and wonderful small moments together. Working on larger, more serious issues is always a priority, but if you take time "to smell the roses" it may mean, resolution or not, a moment of happiness. That is all I can hope for me and everyone in 2014. Good luck & check out our latest infographic on goals below.



Goals infographic

More Research from AARP:

AARP New Year Goals & Resolutions Poll

Becky Gillan is the senior vice president of AARP Research and is focused on fostering understanding of the interests and concerns of people age 50-plus and their families. Before coming to AARP, she served as the vice president of Global Market Research & Guest Satisfaction for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In her spare time, she likes visiting her niece in Ohio, gardening and collecting American art and antiques.

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