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2008 New Year's Resolutions Signal Shift in Consumers' Priorities

Over the years, individual New Year's resolutions have been clues to the changing outlook of individuals and groups.

This year's crop of resolutions show a greater than normal change in these vows. 

In the past, has tracked these resolutions and this year noted some changes that portend shifts in consumer behavior that should be noted.

Through its website,, a focal point to help visitors to set and reach personal and professional goals has compiled changes in consumer behavior.  It bases its predictions on the current year's third quarter goal-setting activity and takes an anonymous, random sample of goals people have set at the siteto generate their predictions.

Heightened Interest in Career and Paying Down Debt. "In 2008, we expect people to focus a lot of time and energy improving their careers and getting out of debt," said Greg Helmstetter, CEO of Two of the top three most popular resolutions will involve starting businesses and becoming debt-free. The number one resolution, to lose weight, remains unchanged in popularity year after year.

Resolutions related to debt reduction are expected to increase sharply as a percentage of all finance-related resolutions (52%, up from 26% last year). Resolutions related to saving money are also on the rise, up from 11% to 24% of all finance-related resolutions. 

Career-related goals are on the rise, expected to comprise 21% of all New Year's resolutions, up from just 12% last year. "There is a strong entrepreneurial current running through this trend," said Helmstetter.

More and more people are realizing that one of the best ways to get ahead is to strike out on their own, not to mention the freedom and satisfaction that come from being one's own boss." Thirty percent of career-related resolutions are expected to be entrepreneurial in nature, up from 20% last New Year's.

A Chilly Year for Real Estate. Not surprising, resolutions related to home improvement and real estate are expected to drop to a mere 3% of all resolutions made, down from 7% last New Year's. "Fewer people are thinking about buying or selling homes right now," said Helmstetter. "However, among those who are, all of the interest has shifted to buying, particularly at reduced prices." 

Last year, 9% of real estate-related resolutions involved selling, and 9% involved buying. This year, expects a massive 64% of real estate resolutions to involve buying and almost no resolutions (0-2%) to involve selling.

"That's not to say that people won't think about selling any time in 2008," says Helmstetter. "But when it comes to making New Year's resolutions, selling the house is the last thing on people's minds this year."

A Strong Year for Travel. Resolutions related to travel are expected to increase dramatically to a whopping 80% of all recreation and leisure-related resolutions, up from just 20% last year.

"Be on the lookout for people to give in to their wanderlust more than ever this year," said Helmstetter. And the most popular destinations may suggest something new. "This year, we're seeing as many people who want to backpack through Europe as there are interested in visiting Disney World. We're not sure what it means, but it's pretty interesting."

Here are the breakdown of areas that people are making goals in for 2008:

Health & Fitness Resolutions:

Weight Loss




General Fitness




Diet & Nutrition (Non-Weight-Loss)




Health & Wellness (includes sleep)












  Career Resolutions:








New Job & Promotion








Authorship & Publishing




Job Tasks & Performance (non-Sales)








Personal Growth & Interests:
Attitude, Motivation & State of Mind




Hobbies, Activities & Interests












Improving Appearance












Personal Finance Resolutions:

Debt Reduction




Save Money
















 Time Management & Organization Resolutions:
Getting Organized




Time Management








  Family & Relationship Resolutions:




Relationships & Friends




Social Skills & Image




 Education & Training Resolutions:




Learn Skill/Take Course




Test, Certificate & License




Success in School








  Home Improvement & Real Estate Resolutions:
Buying a Home




Home Improvement




Cleaning & Organizing Home




Selling a Home




  Recreation & Leisure Resolutions:
Travel & Vacations




Outdoor Activities










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