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Has 2020 changed our New Year’s resolutions?

2020 was a year like no other. It’s even been referred to as a dumpster fire, which I believe is an apt description.

With this past year of chaos and uncertainty, many people are going into 2021 with curbed expectations. Has this stressful year brought us to understand the value of small victories? Or are we going into 2021 with the same lofty goals as the year prior?

Using Relative Insight, we compared tweets from the days surrounding New Year’s 2020 and 2021. Using our text analysis software, we can pinpoint the differences in words, emotions and topics between this year and last. These social insights reveal how sentiments have changed over time to help us answer the question: Has COVID impacted our New Year’s resolutions?


Going into 2020, the main emotions we saw from Twitter users were calm and bravery – two traits that would prove to be very useful. People were setting ambitious goals and resolving to be bolder. Others sought a more peaceful and quiet year, through self-reflection and removing negative influences from their lives.

One user was particularly perceptive, tweeting: my new year’s resolution is to isolate, be quiet, and play animal crossing. Eerie? Yes, but at least someone followed through on their resolution!

Many other Twitter users focused their resolutions on doing more of the things they love. These activities ranged from eating more tacos to practicing more yoga, chewing more gum and improving grades.

With the upcoming election, we found political resolutions to be more popular in 2020 compared to the following year. Users tweeted about increasing election awareness and mobilizing voters.


The overarching emotion we saw in 2021 was – you guessed it – stress! Many users resolved to decrease stress in their lives by doing more happiness-inducing activities like watching sunsets and taking time off of work.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, many New Year’s resolutions were COVID-related. Some vowed to receive the vaccine, while others asserted that the pandemic will not stop them from achieving their goals.

As another result of COVID, health and wellness were at the forefront of many resolutions. Specific health goals like dieting or losing weight were less prominent, with a greater focus on overall wellbeing – both physical and mental.

Post-2020 – a year of conspiracies and misinformation – Twitter users were done with the BS. They resolved to fight harder for the truth by becoming a voice of reason and blocking accounts spreading false information.

Based on these social insights, it’s safe to say the past year has changed our priorities. Going into 2020, we had high hopes, wanting more out of our lives. This New Year, we’re focused on the fundamentals – staying healthy and stress-free.

Social insights like these uncover an audience’s personal development, helping your brand create effective strategies and communications that reflect the current values of your customer base.

Get in touch to learn how Relative Insight can help you get the most from your data.