May both this phrase and 2016 go away and never come back.

New Year, New You!!!!!

Sound familiar? It should. It seems like it’s on at least half of the banner ads, direct mail pieces, and commercials that are released annually as soon as January 1st comes around.  Don’t know about you, but I toasted the New Year (after watching the train wreck that was Mariah Carey not singing in Times Square) and was the same person at 11:59pm EST on 12/31/16 as I was at 12:00am EST 1/1/17.  And the world looked exactly the same, too.

After a relatively traumatizing 2016, many people have placed a tremendous amount of pressure on 2017.  In no particular order…

  1. No more celebrities can die.
  2. The American government can’t be entirely obliterated.
  3. Terror attacks will be a thing of the past.
  4. Racial bias will be obsolete.
  5. And on top of those menial requests, as is typical every year, 2017 is the year we will finally…[fill in the blank…revamp our wardrobe/find love/lose 20 lbs/stop smoking/quit that dreaded job, etc…]

Marketers know that at least 50% of us are mulling over #5 – a self-improvement initiative of some sort.  Honestly, it seems like Oprah’s Weight Watcher’s commercial (weight loss is the objective of about 38% of resolution-setters) seems to be the only one airing on each television network I watch – either because it is heavily weighted for these first few weeks of 2017 and/or because it is extraordinarily effective.  Regardless, it’s honestly the only one that has captured my attention.  She chats with ‘Ordinary Americans’ in her engaging Oprah-esque way about how they’ve lost weight while eating what they want (BACON! CHIPS! BREAD!)… in moderation, of course.

I live in one of the most impatient markets of the world – the NYC tri-state area.  We want everything to happen yesterday – our grand goals for 2017 included. But honestly, this isn’t symptomatic of NY, alone –  it has actually become more consistent with the microwave, instant gratification generation in which we are part.

Habits don’t form overnight, so how are we to honestly believe that we will reverse the habits, vices, and less-desirable traits we have developed over decades in the course of mere months for as little money and effort as possible?  While we may say that 2017 is the year of XYZ, research has quoted that something like 50% of resolution setters stick to their resolution midway through the year, and only 8% actually fulfill their resolutions.  I’m certainly not saying that resolutions can’t be fulfilled, but most who do so do with the help of specific goal setting, a plan, patience, support, and sheer determination – not by willing it to happen and watching a change happen overnight.

Product claims like – ‘Reverses the signs of aging in X weeks’, or ‘Lose X lbs in weeks, guaranteed’ are built with these microwave expectations in mind.  Are marketers to blame for imposing high-impact, instant gratification expectations on consumers… or are consumers demanding these expectations from product makers?  This may be a case of chicken or the egg.

In any case, all the best to you in the new year.  Please note, regardless of what others of my ilk may say, the mere change of the calendar alone will not change the world, your habits, or your waistline – but persistence, patience, dedication… and a mere $99.99 a month will! (Couldn’t resist. 😉

Happy New Year.

Alliah

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