Most people will make a New Year’s resolution. And most people will end up breaking them. The problem comes down to willpower. Mainly that relying on willpower alone is a surefire way to end up failing. Sure it will work for a short time, but the prefrontal cortex, which controls willpower, is easily overwhelmed. Instead, you need to make plans that involve other parts of the brain to help keep you on track, like your emotions, reports WSJ.
- Make a plan and set a schedule with deadlines
- Give yourself emotional rewards for meeting milestones
- Plan for setbacks and obstacles and look for ways to minimize or avoid them
- Give yourself enough room so that if you fall off, as you will, you can get back on track
- Use 80% positive reinforcement, 20% negative
Another trick is to start working now on micro resolutions that are easier to keep, like swearing less or sitting up straighter. Sticking with those trains your discipline for keeping on task with larger behavioral overhauls.
What are your New Years resolutions and how do you plan on keeping them? Sound off in the comments.
How to Keep a Resolution [WSJ]