New Year, the same • Good Assurance

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New Year's resolutions have a long history in many forms, dating back at least 4000 years to ancient Babylon, where people celebrated Akitu's holiday and promised to repay their debts and return the property they had borrowed to please false gods. Versions of the practice were also common in ancient Rome and medieval Europe, and the concept was echoed in modern cultures by religious traditions such as Christian religious services and Jewish holidays, which emphasize balance of the previous year and correct themselves to go forward.

As the American culture has become more secularMost of the resolutions have been stripped of their religious origins, turning instead to focus on themselves. This is particularly true since the self-help and fitness boom of the 1960s and 1970s, when self-improvement practices that were previously reserved for the periphery began to become mainstream. Forty-four percent of US adults intend to make resolutions for 2019, according to a poll conducted in December by NPR, PBS Newshour and Marist.

In the United States, self improvement often comes down to being thin and accumulating wealth. In the same survey, almost one-third of those intending to make resolutions chose the problems they hoped to solve in terms of diet, exercise or weight, and 10% chose financial goals. . At the bottom of the list, being kind, becoming more spiritual, or getting less worried, receives only a little support. Historical data from Marist's polls show that Americans have made the most popular resolutions with roughly similar numbers for years.

It is no coincidence that these resolutions are also at the heart of most resolution-dependent advertising. There is no data on the influence of US trade on the choice of resolution at the statistical level. So it's a bit of a hen / egg problem: do we choose these resolutions because that's how resolutions are presented to us as a concept, or are these ideas at the heart of the concerns? end-of-the-year marketing because ad creators have noticed that this is where people are already in fashion?

At the very least, it should be noted that the main resolutions tend to be those for which it is easier to market products or services. Gym membership, workout clothes and meal plans are easily addressed to someone who feels compelled to change their physical form, but the type of subscription associated with the type of subscription is less clear. I am sure that someone is working on it.

At this stage, American conceptions of what self-improvement might be are so static that it does not matter whether brand resolutions or pressure are priorities. Many Americans are worried about whether they might be too fat or too poor, and they may suffer the real consequences. do not lose weight or earn more money. It's not difficult to imagine why people might choose these options if they are motivated to explain what they do not like about themselves and to buy things that are supposed to quell their fears of not being able to to change. Much of the modern cultural messages about these changes come from brands. The solutions they offer are their products.