The start of a new year always induces the most positive thinking in many people. For many, the new year is also an opportunity to start a new life with new goals. Popular New Year’s goals include weight loss, better health, a better job, kicking bad habits (such as smoking, too much drinking, or poor diet), and other intentions to improve a person’s quality of life or enjoyment.
Unfortunately, the best of intentions can easily fall to the wayside as people’s determination falters. Psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol did a study involving 3,000 people in 2007 that found that 88% of people abandon or fail to achieve their New Year’s resolution goals. Even with that high failure rate, setting a New Year’s resolution is still popular. It has been estimated that between 40 – 45% of American adults set at least one New Year’s resolution each year.
Two things can help those good intentions succeed: stating the goal and making it public.
A 2002 article published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology tracked 159 adults who had set a New Year’s resolution and 123 adults who had changes they wanted to make in their lives but didn’t actually set a specific goal(called nonresolvers in the study). After six months, the study found that 46% of those who had set a specific New Year’s resolution were successful compared to only 4% of those nonresolvers.
Wiseman’s study also found that women were 10% more successful when they shared their New Year’s resolution goals with friends and family and created a peer support network.
Google is stepping into to help in a post “A little help from Google on your New Year’s resolutions“:
Research shows that you’re more likely to achieve your resolutions if you write them down and have support. Try sharing your goals with communities around you. When you’re ready to share your new year’s ambition with the world, or if you’re interested in seeing what resolutions look like around the globe, add it to the interactive resolution map on our 2012 Zeitgeist website.
Users worldwide can now share their New Year’s resolutions on Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 interactive map and browse the goals of others. To add a 2013 resolution, type in the resolution in any language (Google Translate adds an English translation of the goal), postal code, and country and select from one of six categories: Love, Health, Career, Finance, Family, Education, and Other. Resolutions are vetted before being added to the map so it can take between 24 and 48 hours for your resolution to show up. The map automatically pops up new resolutions from around the world as they are added, color coded by the category. The end result is a mix of resolutions (such as people hoping to lose weight, get rich, and be happier) and hopes for the upcoming year with some wishing for more world peace, better treatment of people and the environment.