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Business, Science

Four Steps to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 3, 2014, NY Times
1. Make a concrete plan. When you do so, you both embed your intentions firmly in memory (which reduces forgetting) and make it harder to postpone good behavior, since doing so requires breaking an explicit commitment to yourself.

2. Put something you value on the line. You can arrange to forfeit money if you don’t achieve your goals at stickK.com. But putting money on the line isn’t your only option: Making an appointment to exercise with a friend may be effective, too, because you are much less likely to cancel on a friend than on yourself.

3. Bundle your temptations. This is one of our favorite strategies for tackling health goals. The idea is best illustrated with a scenario: Imagine you want to exercise more but struggle to drag yourself to the gym. Imagine you also have a fondness for trashy novels but feel guilty wasting your time reading them. The solution is simple: Allow yourself to read those novels only while exercising at the gym. 

4. Seek social support. You can achieve more by pursuing goals with the help of a mentor. Patients with poorly controlled diabetes were paired with patients who previously had poorly controlled diabetes but had since achieved mastery over their disease. The improvements in glycemic control achieved by those mentored in this study were larger than those produced by many leading drugs.



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