The crafting of a New Year's resolution is a time honored tradition - almost as much as breaking them. Whether it is losing weight or bringing world peace - the mighty have fallen to the struggles of keeping that resolution alive for the 365. But how would the world be different if everyone successfully completes their resolutions? Towards that goal, Scientific AmeriKen seeks to break through using the powers of science by applying several strategies to see any will allow one to be completely resolute.

There are many possible reasons for resolution failure, whether it is an unachievable objective, a slip of the mind, or just realizing the goal is not wanted. Scientific AmeriKen believes it goes beyond all of that. That failure is due to lack of proper accounting. Here Scientific AmeriKen hypothesizes that by proper tracking of the progress of the resolution that success will had.

All resolutions were initiated at 12:00:00 AM on January 1st, 2020 and continued until December 24, 2020. In all, 5 resolutions across different types were attempted with the associated rules presented in Table 1. Data and resolution progress were recorded using Microsoft Excel. Additionally, body weight was sampled sporadically throughout the year
Table 1. List and rules of resolutions
Resolution Type Rules
Stretch to touch toes Attain goal Must touch toes using a bend at the hips stretch
Not play at Avoidance Allowed to complete daily move tournaments - but no quick games
Not purchase junk food Avoidance Specifically not add junk food items to what is purchased at supermarkets
Exercise daily Positive action Exercise equal to or greater than a 10 minute walk or a set of pushups to exhaustion
Phone-a-friend Positive action A unique friend for which contact >1 year must be called every month

Both daily checks (Figure below) and a roll-up of the data (Table 2) reveal general adherence to the resolutions. It was noted that touching the toes had moderate adherence but did not result in a new found ability to touch toes. Additionally, it was also noted that junk food was purchased as was necessary to tolerate Covid-19 lockdown boredom.

Table 2. Resolution outcomes
Resolution Touch toes Not play chess Not buy junk food Execise daily Phone-a-friend
Adherence 58.5% 100.0% 92.7% 99.4% 108.3%

To the amazement of Scientific AmeriKen success was found on many of the resolutions! Most successfully the habit of losing oneself at was broken for the year. Admittedly a couple losses occurred early on in the year as by muscle memory games would be started - but faith to the resolution stood strong! Daily exercise was also a success. Only two days were missed during the year, the reason wasn't remembered, thus it may just be due to accounting error. It is also noted a future experiment will examine the results from these activities. Phone-a-friend was also highly successful with many reconnections made throughout the year (one more than required!) - which was particularly useful during the difficulty of covid reduced social interaction. For this reason extra leeway was allowed for the purchase of junk food to aid with coping with the societal stress of Covid and a very political year. It is worthy to acknowledge that no junk food was purchased in the first 100 days (essentially pre-Covid) of the year. Finally, one resolution that was not kept was the goal of touching the toes during a stretch. A valiant effort was made early on the lack of progress was discouraging. Scientific AmeriKen now accepts his inflexibility. Although, this also be indicative that goal oriented resolutions may have lower success rates (i.e. lose weight, dunk a basketball, fly by flapping arms) due to overestimating what is possible. Overall, the resolution strategy could be considered successful, but it is unknown whether the successful element was the use of Microsoft Excel to record progress or the combination of multiple resolutions at the same time that worked together to increase adherence to all. To solve this mystery for 2021 - Scientific AmeriKen hereby resolute to avoid sugar based junk foods to be tracked by Excel. The powers of science will truly be tested.


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