Are Latinos more likely to keep their New Year’s resolutions? Well, it depends. In fact, it’s not so much a difference of ethnicity that determines how well we keep our resolutions, but one of socioeconomic background. Also, the type of resolution we make plays a big role in who keeps and who breaks their New Year’s promises to themselves. Here are some of our most common—and commonly broken—resolutions.
1. LOSE WEIGHT
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions among Americans is to lose weight and get in shape. Alas, according to Time magazine, that is precisely the most commonly-broken resolution. There are two reasons for this. First, since it is the most popular resolution, the odds are stacked against it. Second, losing weight and getting fit requires lifestyle changes, and changing your life is probably one of the most difficult things one can do.
Michael Hewitt PhD, research director for exercise science at the Canyon Ranch health resort, recently told WebMD that many experts agree that we inherit our bodies. In other words, you cannot escape your genetic makeup. All we can do is work to have the best body possible within our genetic parameters, rather than try to measure ourselves against supermodels or the super-fit. Still, when we don’t see much improvement in our bodies or weight after weeks of exercise, it’s easy to give up. So, Latino or not, you get the body you were born with, and you have to make the best of it!
Read Related: Dreaming & Doing: How I Keep My New Year’s Resolutions!
2. GET OUT OF DEBT
Another popular resolution is getting out of debt and saving money. Latinos, for the most part, do not get mired in debt the way Anglos and African Americans tend to do. A study by the by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, titled Costly Credit, points to the increase in credit card debt among Americans. Yet Latinos are the least likely to wrack up credit card debt. During the 1990’s Latino credit card debt rose 20% while Anglo and African American debt rose 41 and 22%, respectively. But while many Latinos stay away from debt, those that do get caught in the trap are often treated unfairly. A report by the National Council of La Raza found unfair and abusive credit practices that trap Latinos into a cycle of debt.
Latinos who have a New Year’s resolution to save money may be less likely than other ethnicities to break that resolution. A lot of us say we have good financial ethics due to a legacy of being low income. Many Latino families still work in a cash economy, and Old World values from their native countries, where credit is expensive and difficult to obtain, have taught many Latinos to spend only what they have, and to save money for a rainy day.
3. QUIT SMOKING
Another popular New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking. This is also a tough one, but Latinos are ahead of the game simply because they don’t smoke nearly as much as other Americans. According to the American Lung Association, in 2008, only 15% of Latinos smoked compared to 21% of non-Latinos. Also, between 1997 and 2007, smoking among Latino teenagers declined by 50%.
4. TWO FOR THE ROAD
Finally, two other popular resolutions are to enjoy life more and to quit drinking. To me, this sounds a bit like an oxymoron. But anyway, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says Latinos are more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than other Americans, but those who do drink alcohol are more likely to drink more than other Americans. So Latinos who drink and want to quit as part of their New Year’s resolution may have a tough time of it.
In the end, we are all individuals, and our ability to keep our New Year’s resolutions is more likely to depend on our willpower and circumstances than it does our ethnicity. Good luck with your goals for 2013!