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Why You Won’t Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

By the end of January, a third of everyone who has made a New Year’s resolution will have stopped. By July, more than half will lapse. But knowing why could keep you on the right track.

What’s the Latest Development?

A new scientific understanding of an old concept helps explain why most people waffle on their New Year’s resolutions. Willpower is now understood by social scientists as a realform of mental energy which you deplete as you exert self-control. Dieting, which is the most popular resolution, is also the most difficult to abide by because as you refrain from eating the tastiest foods, glucose levels begin to drop, lessening the amount of willpower you have. There are strategies, however, for using less willpower more effectively. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Setting a clear goal, such as ‘losing a pound a week’, rather than just ‘loose weight’ increases your chances of success. So does limiting yourself to one resolution at a time. Committing yourself to actions ahead of time, like scheduling work out sessions with friends or planning meals in advance will keep you from exerting too much willpower. Experts also recommend outsourcing the resolution by telling friends about your progress to establish a community of friendly help around you. Finally, reward yourself as you achieve small goals.

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