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Description: OK so, I hate to be the one to bring it up but hiding just on the other side of exams and the holiday break is a new year, yes a new year, complete with the opportunity to yet again make a few New Year’s resolutions. Ah New Year’s resolutions! How do they work out for you? They don’t work so well for me and, it turns out, science shows that I am not alone (and in fact that I am simply a part of a huge majority. So, what to do? Well, have a read through the article linked below for some more data on this question and some suggestions about how to increase your odds of making AND holding to a resolution or two this year.

Source: You Should Start Practicing New Year’s Resolutions Now, Harry Guinness, The New York Times

Date: December 9, 2019.

Photo Credit: Paola Saliby/The New York Times

Article Link:

The article provides some informative data about resolutions and about why we seem to not stick to them far far more often than we stick with them.  The article also provides so research-based tips to increase our odds of success with resolutions. Do not make too many, build in early rewards, start early (like NOW) so you can fail a bit and keep trying. Avoid hard start dates like, gee, January first, and give yourself time to figure out what you are getting yourself into and what you need to do to stick with it and succeed. So, why wait? Get started right now!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why do people make New Years Resolutions?
  2. Why do people fail to keep their resolutions?
  3. What sorts of things does research suggest can be helpful in increasing your odds of resolution success?

References (Read Further):

Woolley, K., & Fishbach, A. (2017). Immediate rewards predict adherence to long-term goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(2), 151-162.

Van Cappellen, P., Rice, E. L., Catalino, L. I., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2018). Positive affective processes underlie positive health behaviour change.

Fishbach, A., & Touré-Tillery, M. (2018). Motives and goals. Noba Textbook Series: Psychology. Motiv Goals Internet Champaign, IL: DEF publishers.

Carden, L., & Wood, W. (2018). Habit formation and change. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 20, 117-122.

Jager, W. (2003). Breaking bad habits: a dynamical perspective on habit formation and change. Human Decision-Making and Environmental Perception–Understanding and Assisting Human Decision-Making in Real Life Settings. Libor Amicorum for Charles Vlek, Groningen: University of Groningen.’bad_habits’_a_dynamical_perspective_on_habit_formation_and_change/links/0deec53b4f882d03b0000000/Breaking-bad-habits-a-dynamical-perspective-on-habit-formation-and-change.pdf

Wood, W., & Neal, D. T. (2016). Healthy through habit: Interventions for initiating & maintaining health behavior change. Behavioral Science & Policy, 2(1), 71-83.