12/16/2014 06:35 pm ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

What Do You Want This Year?

As December winds to a close, we reach the time of year where people across the globe are starting to think about how next year will be different from this year. It is fascinating to think both about what people want in the year to come and how they will succeed in getting it.

There are striking differences around the world in what people want for next year. Microsoft Lumia commissioned a study of resolutions around the world, and I am acting as a spokesperson on behalf of this project. They surveyed over 6,000 people from 12 countries. Here are some of the highlights.

Money figures large in the goals people have around the world. People from the UK, France, the US, Russia, Vietnam and Thailand focused on money. In the U.K. (35 percent), France (44 percent), the US (40 percent), and Poland (59 percent), people want to worry less about money. In Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam, the focus is on making more money in the New Year. Related to that, many people in Mexico (39 percent), and Brazil (52 percent) are interested in making career changes.

Health is also a big concern around the world. More Brazilians focus on losing weight than those in other countries, but living healthier is important to people in Poland, Thailand, the UK, Germany, and the US as well.

Not everyone is focused on themselves in the New Year, though. People in Poland are more likely than those in other countries to want to spend more time with family (64 percent). In many countries, there is a desire to do more work for charity including India, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Vietnam. In addition, people in Mexico, India, and Vietnam often express that they want to help other people achieve their goals.

Of course, talk is cheap. What can you actually do to achieve these goals? In my book, Smart Change, I explore five sets of tools that can help you to take general goals like these and turn them into a reality.

One thing that is valuable is to engage with people around you when trying to achieve goals. One reason that Microsoft Lumia commissioned this study is that they are encouraging people to state their goals publicly to provide added incentive to succeed. Their #MakeItHappen campaign is designed to get people to record their unfulfilled 2014 resolutions in a bid to empower them to use the remaining of 2014 to make it a reality, as by letting people know what you want to do, it provides a little extra energy to move forward. Microsoft Lumia is even committing to help make 31 resolutions a reality.

At the same time, just committing to a goal is not enough. It is also important to make a real plan to turn a very general resolution (like making more money, being healthier or giving to charity) into a specific set of actions that you can carry out. It is crucial to find particular actions you can take on specific days to make those goals a reality.

In addition, you want to use your environment to help you achieve your goals. For example, if you want to give more to charity in the coming year, consider finding a service with your credit cards that will round up each purchase to the next dollar and give the proceeds to a charity you select. If you want to eat healthier in the New Year, buy less junk food so that it is harder to eat the foods you want to avoid.

Most importantly, though, use this time of year to look back over what is most important to you. Whether you end up agreeing on your priorities with the other people from your country or whether you strike out on your own, the New Year is a great time to make a big change in your life.

Visit here for more information on #MakeItHappen, Microsoft Lumia devices, and to pledge your resolution.