If you’re thinking about giving New Year’s resolutions a hard pass, you’re not the only one.
Social chatter around New Year’s resolutions has been, to be honest, slow to get off the ground in 2020. We used Sprout Social Advanced Listening to learn what was causing this muted response and found only 27,208 messages across Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit from November 14-December 14. For comparison, one month’s worth of data on Halloween generated 13 million messages across Twitter alone.
There are a couple of factors likely contributing to the dip in conversations surrounding 2021 goal setting. For starters, people are tired. The allostatic load caused by the pandemic, a contentious presidential election and the ongoing fight for social justice has many people feeling stressed and exhausted.
my list of new year’s resolutions for 2021:
— M.A.D., Pharm.D., etc (@shelldash) December 8, 2020
People also have to contend with the unpredictability of 2021. With the future increasingly in flux, there’s a good chance people aren’t making resolutions because they might not be able to keep them.
I don’t think I’ll have any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ll just continue to chant, “this too shall pass.”
— Catherine Russell (@catherinerusse2) November 25, 2020
Brands are always looking for timely trends to jump on, but because of the lingering effects of 2020, marketers will need to adjust their approach to those trends in 2021. Instead of asking what peoples’ goals are, acknowledge the weirdness of this year and let people know it’s okay to skip resolutions this time around. Or offer a distraction by injecting humor into the bleak situation. To learn more about what people have to say (or, in this case, aren’t saying) about New Year’s resolutions, we dug into listening insights. Here’s what we found.
Keep it light on social
A closer look at the New Year’s resolution conversation on Twitter reveals people are finding ways to joke about the upcoming year. Of the 14,664 Tweets we analyzed, 48% of the Tweets had positive sentiment while 37% were neutral and 15% were negative.
Some people pointed out that not having a New Year’s goal for 2020 was the right move…
…while others shared they unexpectedly fulfilled their resolution after all.
On the plus side, my new year’s resolution was to make my own lunch and take it into work everyday; safe to say, I’ve completely aced that one…
— Amatey Doku (@AmateyDoku) December 6, 2020
One thing we can all agree on is we’ve had plenty of time on our hands this year to crush (or totally ignore) our goals. The word “time” showed up in 1,073 Tweets with varying use cases, with some using the word to indicate too much time spent at home and with family—jokingly, of course.
Jan 1, 2020 New Year’s Resolution:
I am going to spend more time at home with my family.
Jan 1, 2021 New Year’s Resolution:
Not like that.
— I Just Sat Down. (@anxiouscougar) December 3, 2020
For brands thinking about jumping on the resolutions bandwagon, don’t be afraid to embrace the absurdity of 2020 and acknowledge now might not be the appropriate time for goal setting. A post about motivation and “new year, new me” could appear insensitive as people deal with disruptions to their holiday plans and stress from the pandemic. It never hurts to check what people are saying online before crafting your post, and consider leaning into humor if your brand feels compelled to say something.
can we all just agree not to do new year’s resolutions this year
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) December 3, 2020
#Goals and #fitness are still in play
That said, some people are still optimistic about 2021, with one YouGov survey revealing 44% of American adults believe 2021 will be a better year for them compared to 2020. And even after a chaotic year, 58% of consumers plan to carry on with making their New Year’s resolutions.
On Twitter, one person shared they are getting a head’s start on their resolutions before the new year.
starting my new year’s resolutions december 1st so they’ll become routine by January >>
— ken 🤍 (@kenadipaige) November 30, 2020
This optimism is especially prevalent on Instagram, where 5,737 posts contained hashtags like #Goals and #Motivation. Another popular theme on Instagram revolves around working out, with 4,356 Instagram posts containing #Fitness, #Health and #Goals. Given that many fitness trainers and influencers use Instagram for their business, it’s not too surprising to see posts about New Year’s resolution tips dominating the Instagram conversation.
Ready or not, 2021 is almost here
It’s fitting that, after a turbulent year, people are apprehensive about welcoming in a new year. Although chatter around goal-setting is muted, brands can still find a way to acknowledge the transition to 2021. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that a little humor goes a long way and jokes about resolutions can inject some levity into a person’s timeline.
Of course, resolutions are just one of many traditions that accompany the new year—and it’s unlikely to be the last custom that’s impacted by global events. As you think about the rest of 2021, social listening can help you uncover how people are responding or adjusting certain traditions. If you’re interested in learning what other insights can come from social listening, check out our article on listening for consumer brands or contact us for a free Sprout listening demo today.