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Research Says Most Fail At New Year's Resolutions

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Millions of Americans are busy writing up their New Year's resolutions for 2015.

According to a U.S. government survey, the top resolutions this year are to lose weight, get organized and spend less money.

But research shows only about 8 percent of people actually succeed.

"By and large when you look at people six months later and evaluate how well they did on New Year's resolutions, typically they are are not wildly successful," University of St. Thomas psychology professor, John Tauer, said.

"The average fitness New Year's resolution is surprisingly kept for a whopping eight days," fitness expert and founder of, Ali Holman, said.

Tauer says it typically takes an environmental change to get someone to change lifelong habits, like someone changing their diet after finding out they have diabetes.

"Hopefully it isn't a health scare but something has to change the cues that we have," he said.

Still, the start of a new year can be the kick you need.  People have more success sticking to resolutions if their goals are small and specific.

"Instead of setting this huge goal, 'I want to lose 30 pounds this year,' or 'I'm going to go to the gym every day,' set that weekly goal," Holman said.  "Say, 'In the next seven days this is my goal.' And then allow for some screw-ups."

While the numbers may be stacked against you, experts say there is still value in setting goals for a new year, whether it's Jan. 1 or anytime of the year.

"It's a reminder that each one of us has areas we want to be better in, but there's no reason to wait until January," Tauer said.

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