Happy New Year, Statistically Speaking

Dear Readers,

As we enter into the New Year, looking toward a fresh start with fresh perspective and fresh breath, we consider whether to freshen up our lives with a New Year’s resolution.

But we don’t know which resolution to choose, nor the likelihood that we’ll successfully keep our resolution, so we rush to check our favorite blog site, Trekkychick, knowing that blogger Troi will have been hard at work digging through the google archives at the internet library to support our path towards a better 2013.

Well, Reader(s), you’ve come to the right place. After nearly 27 seconds of exhaustive research, my first google hit indicates that in 2012, the ten most common resolutions chosen were to: 1) Lose Weight 2) Get Organized 3) Spend Less, Save More 4) Enjoy Life to the Fullest, 5) Stay Fit and Healthy, 6) Learn Something Exciting 7) Quit Smoking, 8) Help Others in Their Dreams 9) Fall in Love, and 10) Spend More Time with Family.

If you’d like to be generic and choose one of last year’s most common resolutions, might I suggest #8, Helping Others in Their Dreams. I find this option particularly alluring as it is accomplished by others dreaming about how helpful you are, rather than being consciously coerced into helping somebody during waking hours. Indeed, in the unlikely event that you are asked for help, you can say, “In your dreams!” thereby still achieving this goal.

On the other hand, I have serious reservations about resolution #9, Falling in Love, for to me a resolution implies intentionality, whereas the very phrasing of “falling in love” insinuates an unexpected and quite accidental occurrence. I have, for example, many times been victim to “falling,” and whether you count the time I fell off of a swing and broke my arm while pretending to be a circus acrobat, or the time I fell from the risers in band class and broke my arm while playing the keyboard, or any of the other countless* times I fell and injured an important extremity, I can assure you these spills were unexpected and not deliberate collisions with my environment intended to meet a New Year’s resolution. 2013 will be an unproductive year if your focus is to trip every eligible bachelor walking down the street, and your falls may land you on crutches or in a wheelchair before they land you in love.**

*Actually you can totally count them. It’s 5.
**Unless the doctor patching up your broken foot is Dr. McDreamy from this fictional show, in which case you’re probably sleeping and caught somewhere between resolutions #8 and #9.

“Thanks for the resolutions options Troi,” you may be thinking, “but I wonder whether it’s worth my time to make one. Do you happen to know the statistical probability that I’ll be able to successfully keep to my resolution in 2013?”

Thanks for asking, Make-Believe Reader! In fact I do. According to this website (yes, it’s the same as the last website I linked to; a journalist of my stature needs not seek to substantiate figures but rather judges credibility based on how pretty the charts are and whether the color schematic of the site matches my new Christmas sweater), 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions. And 46% of Americans maintain their resolutions past the six month mark. Therefore, if my elementary math skills serve me well, .01% of people, or in other words one one-hundredth of a person (that’s a person who has lost all of his or her extremities due to frequent falling, a risk discussed above) actually maintains a New Year’s resolution for half of the New Year.***

***I’ve just been informed by my elementary school math teacher, who coincidentally just now unsubscribed from my blog, that my calculations are wrong. I don’t want to lead my Readers astray, so I’m going to take another stab at basic multiplication using decimals.

…So in fact, Readers, the correct percentage is 20.7%. Therefore, if there are 100 people in the United States, 45 of them will make a resolution, and 20.7 will actually maintain that resolution for at least six months, or 21 if we round to the nearest thousand.**** In conclusion, less than 1/4 people will make and keep their New Year’s resolution.

****My elementary math teacher just unfriended me on facebook, and my middle school social studies teacher just posted that he takes no responsibility for my position that there are only 100 people living in the United States.

But I like to root for the underdog, so I say go for it, Readers, and resolve to squash those statistics in 2013. Try going here if you’re motivated by a little tech support, or consider these suggestions by Cosmopolitan, which is a scientific journal I sometimes read at the gym. (As an added bonus, I hear if you follow Cosmo’s tips, you’ll actually begin to look like the gorgeous models in the article!)

Good luck Readers —- You can do it!

–Troi out

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.