More Rational Resolutions

The Wall Street Journal:

Can “goal factoring” help you keep your New Year’s resolution to hit the gym every day in 2014?

“Goal factoring,” a method of designing better plans, is one of the techniques taught by the Center for Applied Rationality, which hosts three-day workshops that teach attendees how to use science-based approaches to achieve goals. A November workshop in Ossining, N.Y., instructed 23 participants on how thinking about one’s future self as a different person can help goal-setting and why building up an “emotional library” of associations can reduce procrastination.

CFAR, a Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit, is prominent in the growing “rationality movement,” which explores the science of optimized decision-making. In recent years, books about decision-making and probability theory—including “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely, who writes a regular column for The Wall Street Journal, and “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman —have been best-sellers. Websites like Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong serve as communities for those who believe the best way to be effective, whether in changing eating habits or changing the world, is to actively look at the lessons of science and hard data. The movement draws on some of the same research as economists who argue that investors behave irrationally.

Very smart people often make irrational decisions, says University of Toronto psychologist Keith Stanovich.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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