I don’t often make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’ve decided to join Gretchen Rubin (of happiness project fame) in resolving to go on a 20 minutes walk every day in 2020￼. Her theory is that if you aren’t getting much exercise, resolving to get a little bit daily will provide big benefits. She has research on her side on this one, and it doesn’t hurt that walking seems to be the only form of exercise that makes my migraines better rather than worse. We’ll see how this goes.
This got me thinking about New Year’s resolutions in general, and wondering what the most common ones were.￼ there appears to be a lot of selection bias in the studies, but healthy eating/exercise/weight loss and saving money seem to be the most common in America.
I tried to find some from other countries, and it seems like Germans may put stress reduction and family time at the top of their list. My googling for other European and north and south American countries didn’t turn up much.
I did however, find this blog post from Duolingo, that had some really interesting insights about one particular New Year’s resolution. Duolingo is an app that helps you learn a second language￼￼, and they have a distinctive peak in sign ups and account usage just before the first of the year. ￼They discovered that the countries their users normally came from changed a bit around the first of the year:
Apparently users who sign up around the first of the year actually are slightly more likely to continue using the app than those who sign up at other times.￼
Overall, I’ll admit I was a little surprised that I couldn’t find more research on the subject of New Year’s resolutions. It seems like this would be an interesting study in how priorities change across countries or time.￼ If anyone knows of any good resources that I didn’t find, please let me know! In the meantime, happy new year everyone!￼