As the euphoria of New Year’s eve slowly tempers down, the fresh start to the year motivates people to make changes to their life, big or small.
New Year resolutions are formulated from such a sense of self-awareness and a need for self-improvement.
However, do new year resolutions really work? What is the biggest kept secret about why some people stick to them while some others don’t? Find out more about your resolution genes.
Trivia: The ancient Romans offered resolutions of good conduct to god Janus, after whom January is named. This is the origin for New Year resolutions and the practice of focussing on self – initiated change.
The scientists at 23andme started a unique research study to identify what made some people make new year resolutions and what made them stick to it.
For the past three years, in March every year, 23andme customers who consented to be a part of the study were posed the following two questions.
Did you make a New Year resolution this year?
Those who answered “no” for this were considered controls
Those who answered “yes” were called “Resolvers”
How well have you been able to follow up on your New Year resolution until now?
The study participants could select one of these responses “very well,” “well,” “average,” “poorly,” or “very poorly.”
Those who answered “average,” “poorly,” or “very poorly” were again treated as controls.
Those who answered “very well” or “well,” were called “adherers”
Everyone seems to make new year resolutions or do they? Here are the results
- 21% were resolvers
- 41% of resolvers were adherers
Who is more likely to make New Year resolutions?
The verdict on this one: Women!
Is this an indication of women being a little too self-critical? Or is it in their DNA to want to set everything right?
A Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) was carried out by 23andMe researchers, and three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found to be significantly associated with the likelihood of making New Year resolutions, with women being more likely than men to do so.
Who is more likely to stick to resolutions though?
The verdict on this one: Men!
The genome-wide association study did not yield any significant SNP in this study, and it could be because the sample size was relatively small. There were 34,000 cases and 41,000 controls.
The secret is out…
Genes play an important role in every aspect of our health and wellbeing, they code for the proteins that are associated with how well we breakdown the macronutrients in our diet, to how much of ‘happy’ dopamine is secreted.
Similarly, the resolve to make New year resolutions has been found to be associated with a SNP rs6680701, which is close to the gene BRINP2 (BNP/Retinoic acid-inducible neural specific 2).
This gene has previously been shown to be associated with personality traits like openness, which is a trait associated with trying unconventional and new experiences.
Gene knockout study:
In a knockout study on mice lacking BRINP2 by Susan Berkowicz and colleagues in 2016, the lack of the genes was associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and the mice showed symptoms which were similar to autism spectrum disorder.
These studies show an association of this gene with neuronal development, so it is not surprising that a SNP close to this gene has been now found to be associated with making resolutions.
Most people are usually aware of their innate instincts.
However, a personality genetic report can reveal several such aspects that people are generally unaware.
Xcode Life’s Personality Report provides information on openness, extraversion ness, intelligence, entrepreneurship potential, and more than 25 such traits.