Ringing in the new year: the change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions

Addict Behav. 1989;14(2):205-12. doi: 10.1016/0306-4603(89)90050-6.


This study tracked the coping processes and self-reported outcomes of 213 adults making New Year's resolutions in order to identify prospective variables which predict successful self-change and to examine the relative effectiveness of various coping strategies. Prior to January 1st, participants provided information on their resolutions, demographic characteristics, and five variables previously associated with positive outcome. Subsequent telephone interviews ascertained short-term retrospective accounts of the utilization of 14 coping strategies and self-reported outcomes over six months. Readiness to change and self-efficacy, but not social support or behavioral skills, prospectively predicted successful outcome at both one week and one month. Successful resolvers were also found to report employing significantly more behavioral strategies and less self-blame and wishful thinking than unsuccessful resolvers. These findings are discussed within the context of previous research on self-initiated change, and several implications for clinical practice are offered.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Concept*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Social Support