5 Companies that Stand to Benefit from Broken New Year's Resolutions
Elizabeth is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Not to be a pessimist, but statistics don't lie. After the first week in January, 25 percent of our New Year's resolutions are broken; and the number jumps to 36 percent come Jan. 31, according to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. These numbers get even worse as the year continues, with broken resolutions over 50 percent at the six-month mark.
Psychologist Richard Wiseman provided further statistics on failed resolutions when his 2007 survey of 3,000 people revealed that 88 percent of their resolutions ended in failure.
Now, most of us have the best intentions to make our New Year's resolutions stick. Really, we do. But human habits and routines are tough to break. Willpower, it seems, is like a muscle: it only works so long before it gives out. If you read this Wall Street Journal article, broken resolutions not only have willpower to blame, but the belief that resolutions are controlled by the prefrontal cortex of the brain; that when overtaxed with things to process, such as keeping focused, solving problems, or remembering, temptations -- like breaking New Year's resolutions -- become harder to resist.
But our difficulty in keeping New Year's resolutions may very well be some companies' gains:
Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) -- Although a high percentage of smokers attempt to quit smoking each year, only roughly 4 percent remain smoke-free a year later, says U.S.News & World Report. That means, of the large chunk of smokers who chose to quit smoking as their New Year's resolution, many won't be able to kick the habit -- at least not in one year. With brands like Virginia Slims, Marlboro, and Benson & Hedges, Altria Group, Inc., which is the parent company of Philip Morris USA, could see an uptick in activity.
Unilever (NYSE: UN) -- Unilever's brands include Breyers and Ben & Jerry's. Need I say more?
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) -- Paying off debt and saving money is on the New Year's resolutions list of many. And one way people decide to save money is to forego their daily (or twice daily) java fix. As statistics show, the caffeinated-beverage temptation may be hard to resist long-term, and coffee-lovers everywhere will be back to ordering their daily Caramel Macchiato, Cinnamon Dolce Latte, or their double shot Expresso with cream sooner rather than later.
Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD) -- While a pounding headache and night spent hunched over a white porcelain throne after a rowdy New Year's Eve party may make the idea of quitting drinking the best New Year's resolution ever, chances are the rockin' eve hangover will dissipate, and you'll consume one or two adult beverages before the calendar turns Feb. 1.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) -- Losing weight and eating healthy go hand-in-hand. And most people who decide to lose weight for the New Year will initially avoid fast-food restaurants. Granted, there are healthier options at fast-food establishments these days, but when your "lose weight" resolution is still fresh in your mind, you'll likely choose Subway over McDonald's. That is, until their prefrontal cortex gets overloaded.
Fool blogger Liz Magill does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this entry at the time of publication.