EVERY year at this time there is one social etiquette question which appears to have no official answer.

I am of course talking about the tradition of wishing everyone a happy new year.

This time of year even strangers feel compelled to tell people that greeting - which replaces hello or talking about the weather as an ice breaker.

Before I continue I should stress I’m not against this annual tradition - it makes sense and anything that makes people more friendly can only be a good thing.

But the problem is when does this stop? When exactly is the cut off point?

I have always assumed it was a week but in recent years I have been wished a happy new year as late as early February.

When I didn’t say it back because I was surprised, suddenly I felt I was being impolite.

I have always thought the longer we keep saying it the more insincere it sounds, almost like a version of ‘Have a nice day’ Americans use - which I believe is most often said by shop owners pretending to be your best friend, to get you to spend more money.

What inevitable comes after the new year greeting though is being asked about another tradition that definitely needs scrapping – new year’s resolutions. Every year people feel the need to set goals to improve their life, and for people to ask what these resolutions are.

Most of these typical resolutions, such as going to the gym or quitting smoking or fatty foods, end up with people relying on just willpower alone, which is doomed from the start.

Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to change something about yourself, this really is the worst time of year to be attempting tough challenges.

I would argue too these personal goals focus too much on a perceived ‘negative’, when I always think we should be more positive about ourselves.

Inevitably people are too hard on themselves for failing after a few days or weeks – and don’t bother again for the rest of the year.

So I say happy new year, for just this week, to those not falling for any of this and slowly improving their lives without the added pressure of a resolution.