Part1: New Year Resolutions–What does Evidence -Based Research Reveal About Secrets of Willpower

The start of a New Year is always special. For me there is always a feeling of renewal as we look to a new year, a reflection back to the year that has passed and a new beginning. I have a sense of excitement for keeping things that are working, making changes or adopting new habits to make the year even better than the last year. However, do you ever find yourself making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals only to abandon them as the New Year tick docks away.

So I decided to check the research and selected the nationwide survey done in 2013 by Opinion Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey which I found to be very interesting and insightful on this topic of setting and completing resolutions. The bottom line is that 3 out of 4 people are not successful in completing their resolutions In addition, according to this research study, if you are happy you probably don’t set any resolutions. Unhappy people set resolutions more than happy especially in regard to money goals, 59% to 41%. So if you do not complete your goals for the New Year you are not alone.

So the question becomes what are some of the secrets and ways to set and fulfill your New Year Resolutions?

Studies now show that self-control is a limited resource that may be strengthened by the foods we eat. Laughter and conjuring up powerful memories may also help boost a person’s self-control. And, some research suggests, we can improve self-control through practice, testing ourselves on small tasks in order to strengthen our willpower for bigger challenges.

Learning to bring your behavior under control even with arbitrary rules does build character in that it makes you better able to achieve the things you want to achieve later on,” said Dr. Baumeister. “Self-control is a limited resource and is depleted more you use it.. People make all these different New Year’s resolutions, but they are all pulling off from the same pool of your willpower. It’s better to make one resolution and stick to it than make five.”

In Part 2 on New Year Resolutions we will discuss techniques and tools to support your goal of personal change for 2014. Stay tune. Coach Mark

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