Americans Waste More Than $800 Every Year on This New Year’s Resolution. Most Have Nothing to Show for It

The dawn of a new year implies a fresh start, and for some, a new lease on life. And every year, people conjure up grand ideas of losing those pesky extra pounds, grabbing life by the horns, and finding the success that is oh-so-deserved. New Year’s resolutions are made and inevitably carry substantial weight on the choices and investments we make for the first eight weeks of the new year.

According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions turn out to be a complete flop by the middle of February. It’s a little disheartening, but true. One study confirms that the vast majority of those resolving to change their lives get burned out on their goals without immediate rewards or results. And as so many of us know, the long-lasting rewards typically don’t result from just six weeks of hard work and dedication.

Nevertheless, Americans invest substantial amounts of money at the beginning of each year, only to find the resolve quickly fizzles. Check out how much money Americans waste every year on these expensive New Year’s resolutions.

1. Learn a new language

ESL class

Few people follow through on their resolution to learn a new language | John Moore/Getty Images

Learning a new language is no trivial undertaking. The commitment is both lengthy and time-intensive, which is exactly why most gung-ho students end up tapering back on the goal. Let’s take Spanish for an example. The U.S. Foreign Language Service concluded that it will take at least 480 classroom hours to hold your own when it comes to speaking the language. Immediate rewards don’t exist when becoming fluent.

 2. Pick up a new and adventurous hobby

Are you really going to become a mountain biker this year? | iStock

  • Cost: $500+

While knitting may be soothing for some, a lot of people resolve to push their panic button a little more. So when it comes to amping up on adventures, picking up a new sport often takes the forefront. Becoming an avid mountain biker, learning to rock climb, or getting your SCUBA license requires a lot of up-front capital. And after investing in all of the gear, the realization that pedaling warp speeds down a mountain trail may not be as rewarding as you imagined. In this case, renting the gear for a few trial runs may be the more economical approach.

3. Gym membership

Exercise is great, but few people become gym rats overnight. | Halfpoint/iStock/Getty Images Plus

  • Average cost per year: $800

The ultimate New Year’s resolution is to lose those extra pounds, becoming a healthier, happier version of yourself. It’s an admirable but expensive New Year’s resolution. But unfortunately, the initial sign-up for that year at the gym hits your pocketbook way harder than you end up hitting the gym. According to the New York Times, 70% of gym members end up not using the facilities as much as they’d hoped, inevitably translating to “Paying not to go to the gym.”

4. Hiring a personal trainer

A personal trainer only goes so far. | Javi Indy/iStock/Getty Images

There may not be a better way to kick your behind into action than hiring a personal trainer. The accountability factor is there, so what could go wrong? Typically, a $55 per hour trainer isn’t hovering over your bedside at 6 am to motivate you. The truth is, the real motivator and disciplinarian is you. And once a pattern of standing-up your trainer develops, the downward spiral usually takes hold.

5. Looking the athleisure part

Woman doing lunges in a gym

Even if you didn’t go to the gym today, you can at least look the part, right? |

  • Cost per outfit: $100-300

It’s called “enclothed cognition” and it’s real. The term describes the psychological changes that occur when people wear certain kinds of clothes. The feeling is relatable. Take Athleta or Lululemon’s high-end athleisure clothing. People purchase full ensembles with strong feelings of not only looking the part but acting the part as well. Wearing a Lulu outfit means you’re athletic, even if you aren’t.

6. Better management of stress and anxiety with therapist

Therapy is a major commitment. |

  • Average cost per session: $75-100

As everyone is realizing, self-care is of the utmost importance. And for a lot of individuals, seeking out a therapist is key to learn better tools for stress and anxiety management. While this commendable endeavor has become more common, many patients prematurely quit therapy. 37 to 45 percent of patients do not return after the second session of therapy.

7. Joining Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers ads

Weight Watchers works, but too many people give up on it. | Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Weight Watchers

  • Membership per week: $7-$14

Weight Watchers works. Developed in 1963, the weight-loss plan has helped slews of people shed weight without having to give up all the things they love. So in that regard, the $7 to $14 weekly membership is well worth it. However, slipping back into old habits once you’ve reached your goals would prove to be a total waste of a resolution.

8. Dressing to impress

That killer wardrobe isn’t going to find you a new job by itself. | iStock

  • Starting cost: $450

You’ve resolved to find that new job, embarking on the career path you’ve always dreamed. For many, this implies an entire wardrobe overhaul. And let’s be honest, a wardrobe update can easily cost far more than $450. Looking the part is one thing, but actually putting in the time and energy to find that dream job is a completely different beast.

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