What is Your New Year’s Resolution Costing You?


Happy almost New Year’s Eve! I know that I ran an infographic last week, but what can I say – it’s the Holidays. :-)

I know this infographic was done by Bed, Bath and Beyond, but when I saw it over on Visual.y I knew that I wanted to run it. I wrote at the beginning of 2013 that I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. I am not really against them because I want to be anti-improvement or anti-change. To the contrary, I think both of those are good and needed – as appropriate.

We all know what the common New Year’s Resolutions are:

  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Pay off debt, or something else financial in nature
  • Spend more time with the family

Those are all good things to strive for and I know that I need to work on a few of them myself, but they largely fail because there is nothing measurable, nothing expected of us in them. Sure, spending more time with the family can happen but what will you put in place to make yourself accountable to that and make sure it is something you can measure?

Our New Year’s Resolutions Require Focus

That is what I like about this infographic. Not only does it give actionable tips of things you can do and possible costs associated with them, but it also suggests you take a small number of things you want to improve in and focus on those.

I’m not going to bore you with another rundown of the SMART goal system as that has already been done, if not overdone, by myself and others. However, the point remains that if you want to see success in your goal, resolution, or challenge you need to make it measurable and something you’re going to hold yourself accountable to. This is also not to mention the fact of the related cost that comes with why we need to change such things. If the need to change isn’t strong enough, then the cost should certainly be a motivator.

So, after taking a look at this infographic I see again that I simply need to become more organized in my life. I don’t know where they got their numbers, but I know disorganization is costing me money…not to mention time!

The Real Cost of New Year�s Resolutions

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


What are your thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions? What changes do you want to make and what will it cost you if you don’t? What stood out to you on the infographic?

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About the author:

I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. You can connect via Twitter / Facebook.

51 comments on “What is Your New Year’s Resolution Costing You?

  1. It’s amazing to me that “Stress” costs the economy $300 Billion! Smoking and exercise are obvious, but I would have never guessed that stress related items affect us to such a large degree.

    • I know, it is crazy DC. We’ve seen it in our family and it’s not good. I agree, it is nice to see how being organized can pay off for you in terms of finances.

  2. Definitely some interesting numbers there. I think it can definitely help to put some dollar signs around the things we’d like to improve, but I think it’s even more helpful to think about one small step we can take every day to actually make it happen. I definitely struggle with disorganization as well, and it can definitely be stressful.
    Matt Becker recently posted..What Type of Person Do You Want To Be?My Profile

    • Great point Matt! I think that is a great way to go about change – taking small actionable steps that can build up over time. I think that makes it more “manageable” and simpler to work on.

  3. It’s really a good idea to see the actual value of the “non-measurable” goals that we set. I have quite a few this year and I will try to follow this and decide how much actual value is in my goals. Saving money always makes things a lot more interesting :)
    C. the Romanian recently posted..My To Do List for 2014My Profile

  4. I am one of the 8%!!! Whoo hoo! I don’t usually make resolutions but I did last year and that was to not get a parking ticket all year. Ask your wife how tough that can be in the greater LA metro area. Street sweeping is a mofo that a lot of people get tickets for. But I was super diligent about moving my car and I’m stoked not to have given a dime to the various cities which make a killing from it. BTW, I would think it would be more than 800 for the lose weight thing being that so many people ignore their gym memberships! But great infographic!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..2013 Year in ReviewMy Profile

  5. I’ve been riding a bike to work for 4 years now. My roundtrip commute is like 33 miles, but I ride in the 16 or so miles and take the bus back home which lands me about 3 miles from my house. Work pays for the bus passes, so it is essentially “free.” http://moiandmoney.com/?p=33

    It’s no surprise to me that Stress costs that much money. In fact, it is one of the reasons I believe the gap of life expectancies of men and women to be closing – more and more women are in the workforce and there is a heavy toll to pay for that in terms of stress/job satisfaction [and I'm not saying the alternatives weren't stressful, it's just different]. JMO.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Elroy recently posted..My Definition of RetirementMy Profile

  6. I don’t really like the idea of New Years Resolutions (oh well). It’s not like all of a sudden, January 1st hits and your slate is wiped clean. Personally, I think every day is a great chance to start working on something to better ourselves.
    I see too many people at the gym in January – those newcomers “pledged” to lose weight. Funny how most of them don’t stick around by February .
    Troy Bombardia recently posted..Pros and Cons of Ghost Hosted PlatformMy Profile

    • Completely agreed Troy. I understand that people want to improve/grow in something but it really doesn’t make sense to wait around if you see the need to change. You’re just losing out on time, among other things, in the long run.

    • I’ve almost had that happen before, but have been able to come in under the wire. Glad to hear you have a system in place that’s working Mackenzie. :)

  7. Great infographic, John! I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions, even though I love setting goals. For me, New Year Resolutions are easily broken and virtually everyone expects people to break their New Year Resolutions. So it just seems like a set-up for failure. :) Even though the goals are very worthy and obviously have a huge payoff as your info graphic illustrates. It did shock me a bit to see only 8% actually keep their New Year Resolutions. I expected the percentage to be low but not single digit low! Happy New Year!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..My Favorite (and Most Popular) Posts from 2013My Profile

    • Thanks Shannon! I’m the same way. I’d much rather set goals and make them quantifiable as opposed to some random resolution I know that I just won’t reach. Happy New Year to you as well!

    • I know the feeling Tara! My wife and I were just discussing that very thing last night and how it gets worse when you have kids – we simply have too much stuff!

  8. I hate to say it but I would be surprised if 8% of people were able to keep their resolutions. I am seeing the “attempt” now with the increased activity in my gym. I noticed this last year and it lasts for maybe two weeks. My personal resolution is simply eating out less. Both from a frugal and health perspective, I should do a little better this year.
    chad@stockmarketandi.com recently posted..Investment Thought for 2014: TBTMy Profile

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