A World of New Year’s Resolutions, Mapped by Google

What do people all around the world want to change this year?

New Years resolutions from all around the world
New Years resolutions from all around the world Google

As part of Google’s ongoing Zeitgeist project, the company is mapping New Year’s resolutions from people around the world. If you’re feeling particularly open about your goals, you can even chart your own. A built-in translator lets you know that people in Japan, too, want to be more productive at work. Someone in Brazil wants to find love, someone in Poland wants to spend more time with their family, and a person in the Netherlands really wants to travel more.

But, says Hannah Waters for her blog Culturing Science, if you want to actually keep your resolution, you might want to keep it to yourself.

The act of announcing what you aim to do to friends and family–and hearing their approval–provides similar satisfaction to achieving the goal, giving you a “premature sense of completeness,” as noted in a 2009 study (PDF). And with your self-satisfaction meter already half-full before you start, the motivation to work hard is sapped. Essentially, proclaiming your goals at a New Year’s party can undermine your own efforts from the get-go.

More from Smithsonian.com:
The Science of Keeping New Year’s Resolutions