New Year Resolutions: Universality and False Hope

Date: 26 till 31 December 2016.

Occasion: Closing 2016’s chapter and opening a Tabula Rasa Blank Slate for 2017.

FAQ: What are your 2017 resolutions?

I bet you can easily recite 2 solid resolutions. Truth to be told, You might have been using those for a couple of years now. You answer the question and smile. You wait for others to answer, and they too, recite and smile.

While asking my friends for their 2017 -New Year, New Me- resolutions, two questions popped into my head:

1- Do all people around the globe have similar resolutions? Do their hopes and dreams pivot around same areas of life?

2- Why do most of the resolutions set on New Year fail to move into Reality zone?

I researched for answers and discovered they are of value, and decided to share them..

Answer to (1):

While surfing the web, I came across an interesting Google Experience.

In the last week of 2012, Google created “Google Zeitgeist” – For those who don’t know the term, it means the Spirit of Time (How deep is that!) – where people shared their resolutions for 2013. Members from all over the globe, with various background and cultures, from the Siberian Glacial lands to the Amazon jungles, participated in this global trend.

The beauty of this experience is that each individual was able to see what others wrote as well. On a larger scale, the entire world can see full trends of regions, countries and even continents.


Each human being pinned his resolution and made it accessible for others to see it. (That’s not the cool part yet!)

The fascinating part of this experiment is that people from all around wished for 6 things mainly: Love, Health, Career, Finance, Family and Education.


Not a single continent didn’t have those 6. And if you’d zoom a little bit more, you’d discover that Europe’s densest resolution is related to Love. North America’s resolutions were more focused on Health and Career, etc…

In Grosso modo, people from around the globe share the same “wishlist”. Despite their huge differences from countries, ethnicity, interests, to geographic and language barriers, the world is One. And that is just fascinating – for 7 billion people to be united in thoughts.

Answer to (2):

Hello Frustration. Forget about using proper guidelines, setting SMART goals and determining rewards to small steps. The “New Year Cheer” scenario that starts a day after Christmas will fade away 2 days after year end, precisely, on the first pit-stop when your friends plan for a Burger Night.

And even this part of resolutions is Universal.

Research shows that New Year Resolutions fail to be achieved in most of cases due to something called: False Hope Syndrome.

This syndrome -legitimate psychological term – is described as the Unrealistic expectations of Self-Change. People keep on repeating those self-change attempts despite the previous failures.

People at this phase of year perceive themselves with more control and optimism. They reflect on the year that has passed and look forward for the one to come. Thus, they set tougher and higher goals, hoping that the “new” year will make them happen. Peers also, with their own wishlists help in setting the bar high.

To avoid this trap, it is always important to distinguish between what’s feasible and what’s not among those self-change goals. The key is to review those goals the moment when they start fading (day 2 of the new year) and adjusting them more realistically.


So here’s to a Blank New Year! Wishing you all Universal wishes and Realizable resolutions!

Leaving you with a laugh on past resolutions in fun tweets…