How to Put Your New Year’s Resolutions to the Test

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2011 is only a few days old, but your New Year’s resolutions may have already spoiled. Americans would rather get rich than get skinny this year, as we recently reported, yet only one-third of them made a financial plan part of their 2011 resolutions.

So what other New Year’s goals are you in danger of missing? That depends on what resolutions you made – or didn’t make – but we can help you put them to the test. Whether you resolved to get richer, skinnier, or smarter in 2011, these free online tools from reputable organizations will help you keep your goals on track.

Finances

If you forgot to make a financial plan part of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s probably best to start with a general test of your fiscal fitness, such as…

What’s required: Less than five minutes per test

What’s acquired: The SEC’s test is basic and brief but will tell you how you scored on every question and explain the correct answer to any question you miss. The MSN test is designed to see if you have the discipline and know-how to be an effective money manager. Sample question: “Have you ever worked out a budget and followed it?”

Physical health

If you vowed to lose weight in 2011 – whether via diet, supplements, or weight loss surgery – the popular health website WebMD has a test you probably should have already taken.

In fact, WebMD is a goldmine of free health assessments for everyone from women who sweat too much to men who have too little testosterone. Unfortunately, they’re scattered across every corner of their website, which makes it hard to find the right tests for your goals. So we’ve rounded up every one we could find and alphabetized them…

If you already know what’s wrong with your health but you’re just not sure how to approach your doctor about it, well, WebMD has tools for that too…

What’s required: About five minutes per test

What’s acquired: WebMD writes thorough tests that are reviewed by doctors (whose profiles you can read on their site – just look for his or her name in the small print at the bottom of the first page of each test). Test results include personalized, expert tips based on your health goals and a report that you can print and take with you to your next doctor appointment.

Mental health

If you’re more worried about your mind than your body, maybe a mental health test will help you reach your goals in 2011. The Internet is full of them, but we’ve collected these tests from the experts…

mood disorder screenings:

  • bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depressive illness) – from WebMD
  • depression – from the Mayo Clinic
  • mania (part of bipolar disorder) – from the national nonprofit Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

anxiety screenings (from the national nonprofit Anxiety Disorders Association of America):

substance abuse screenings (from Boston University):

other mental health screenings:

What’s required: About five minutes per test

What’s acquired: Like WebMD’s health assessments, all of these screenings will give you an analysis that you can and should use as a conversation starter with your doctor if you’re concerned or have questions about the results.

Intelligence

If the financial intelligence tests weren’t tough enough for you – or if you’re just bored – you may enjoy putting your overall intelligence to the test. Mensa International – a worldwide club whose members’ IQs are higher than those of 98 percent of us – offers a free 30-question “workout” for your mind.

What’s required: About 30 minutes

What’s acquired: Mensa claims that it isn’t an IQ test, but the questions do resemble those on professional IQ tests. So if you score well on this test, you may want to contact Mensa to find out how you can take an official test – or look into Mensa’s definitive mobile test, released in September.

Personality

If you don’t think there’s anything wrong with your bank account, your body, or your brain, perhaps you could use an attitude adjustment in 2011.

If so – or again, if you’re just bored – 41q.com offers a free 41-question personality test. It’s based on the philosophy of famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and has been featured on NBC-TV and the Detroit Free Press.

What’s required: Less than five minutes

What’s acquired:
The test results come in the form of a “personality type” (I’m supposedly a “reliable realist,” for example) that’s based on four sliding scales. They also include a brief explanation of what your type means as well as a list of careers that suit your type. For $14.95 you can purchase an in-depth career profile, but we recommend this test more for fun. If you get your significant other to take the free personality test, however, you can then try out the free relationship compatibility match test together (just be sure to hang onto the eight-digit number at the very bottom of your personality test results – you’ll need it for the compatibility test).

Communication

If you crossed the 2010 finish line without a significant other or if 41q.com says your current relationship is doomed, it may be time to resolve to work on your communication skills.

Stacy recently predicted that cursive will soon become a relic of the past, but the Wall Street Journal recently reported that handwriting is too important to die out.

So, if you think that reviving your letter-writing skills – or even polishing your email-writing skills – may revive your chances for love in 2011, I have a personal suggestion: First try this 10-question grammar test by a professor at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication.

What’s required: Less than five minutes

What’s acquired:
This test is quick, and its creator’s sense of humor makes grammar painless (or at least a little less painful). Plus, he details why each sentence is right or wrong, so you’ll actually learn something about what I as a professional proofreader can certify are some of the most tricky and common mistakes made in the English language.

If you know of any other resolution-testing tools that we should have included here, be sure to leave a comment. If not, may these tests help your New Year’s resolutions for 2011 last a little longer than your resolutions for last year!

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