Does Making New Years Resolution Encourage Procrastination?
Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour to usher in the new year, in Sydney. Reuters

It's that time of the year again when it is not uncommon to find people chewing on one end of a pen, empty paper pad in hand, wondering about how to better their life in the coming new year. However, some scientists suggest that making New Year's resolutions may only encourage procrastination among people's attitudes.

Researchers at the University of Scranton published a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology which revealed that out of 45 percent of Americans who make New Year's resolutions, only around eight percent of them actually succeed in keeping to the resolutions that they make. The study suggests that the act of making New Year's resolutions may not be as effective as one assumes.

Gregory Chertok, a sports psychologist consulting with the American College of Sports Medicine, is of the opinion that people tend to make New Year's resolutions that sometimes may be less realistic. Chertok stated, "'I'd like to cut down on junk food a little bit,' is a goal more likely to be accomplished than 'I'll completely revamp my lifestyle,' which is the kind of goal we set as a New Year's resolutions."

Another sports psychologist, Dr Michele Olson, who is also a professor of exercise sciences at the Auburn University Montgomery, is of the opinion that making a resolution can also be another form of procrastination, which encourages people to wait for the new year to start living healthy lives, as opposed to making changes at present.

Dr Cedric X. Bryant, chief science officer at the American Council on Exercise, believes that making changes during the New Year may be detrimental to leading a healthy lifestyle. Bryant went on to state, "For many it's the busiest, most hectic time and most people have an all or nothing mentality. People don't take time to celebrate the little successes. Because they're so focused on, say, an arbitrary weight goal, they don't notice that they are sleeping better or feeling less anxious."

These scientific suggestions perhaps should not be ignored for too long. In fact, Chertok suggests that it would be wiser to set goals that are not dependent on the time of the year. Perhaps it truly is time to carpe that diem!