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Survey: Americans' Resolutions All About Self

Survey: Americans' Resolutions All About Self

Less than half of Americans said they will make New Year's resolutions for 2011, a new survey reveals.

And among those planning to make resolutions, few plan on having accountability or a support system in place to help them keep those commitments, according to the Barna Group.

The most popular pledges this year relate to weight, diet and health. While 30 percent of surveyed Americans plan to make health pledges, 15 percent said their resolutions will be about money, 13 percent will make resolutions relating to personal improvement, and 12 percent said their pledges will relate to addiction.

Meanwhile, only 5 percent plan to make a spiritual or church-related resolution.

The Barna Group, a research group based in Ventura, Calif., concluded that Americans are concentrating more on themselves for the New Year rather than on relationships or others.

"There were virtually no mentions of volunteering or serving others; only a handful of comments about marriage or parenting; almost no responses focusing on being a better friend; and only a small fraction of people mentioned improving their connection with God," the group stated in the survey report.

More specifically, David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, reported that only nine out of those surveyed mentioned getting closer to God in some way as one of their resolutions for the New Year.

"Even in the rare instance when people mention spiritual goals, it is often about activity undertaken for God, rather than a personal pursuit of God or an experience with God," he commented.

The Barna Group surveyed 1,022 adults, Dec. 11-19. It found that 61 percent of Americans have made a New Year's resolution at some point in their lives but this year, only 19 percent say they will "definitely" make one.

Less than a quarter of Americans who made resolutions last year said those commitments resulted in "significant, long-term change" to their behaviors or attitudes and 29 percent said their 2010 resolutions resulted in "minor change." Nearly half (49 percent) said "no change" resulted.

While few Americans succeed in keeping their commitments, Kinnaman noted that the bigger problem may be that Americans focus almost exclusively on themselves when wanting to experience some sort of personal change "rather than realizing that lasting change often comes by serving and sacrificing for others."

"Churches and faith communities have a significant opportunity to help people identify what makes for transformational change and how to best achieve those objectives – especially by relying on goals and resources beyond their individualism," he stressed.


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