The Resolution Solution

Lose weight, spend less, get fit, quit smoking, help others achieve their dreams, learn something exciting, spend more time with family, fall in love…

So, what is your New Year’s resolution for 2013?

I know what you’re thinking… the nerve! Why ask such a personal question? It conjures up memories of Aunt Mary incessantly asking, “What’d you wish for,” as you blew out the candles on your birthday cake. I mean, if you tell the wish it won’t come true, right? Could a resolution suffer the same fate?

The more likely reason we feel uncomfortable sharing our New Year’s resolution is that we often fail to achieve our goals. A recent University of Scranton study shows that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.  And, it doesn’t improve with age and maturity.  In fact, while 39% of 20 to 29-year-olds achieve their goal, only 14% of 50 to 59-year-olds achieve theirs.

One powerful statistic that must be closely examined centers around commitment.  The study shows that people who explicitly make a resolution are 10-times more likely to attain their goal than people who do not. The power of commitment is not lost on Dean Karlan, Economics professor at Yale University and co-founder of stickK, an online commitment store. His research and publication on Commitment Contracts state two primary principles of behavioral economics: (1) People don’t always do what they claim they want to do, and (2) Incentives get people to do things.

Capitalizing on this research, Karlan, along with two fellow professors and an MBA student created stickK, to help people achieve their resolutions. On this free site, you commit to a specific goal, set the stakes, get a referee, and add friends for support. The site will track your progress or lack thereof, and charge you a penalty donated to the charity of your choice should you fail to progress to your goal. To increase the incentive to succeed you can even commit to donating to a charity you would not normally support.

Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat wishes you the happiest and healthiest New Year and success in all your personal, business, and family goals for 2013.

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