From: The New York Times

How to Keep Your Resolutions

The New York Times:

IT’S that time of year again. Maybe it’s your waistline you’re worried about, or maybe it’s the smoking habit you just can’t seem to kick. To improve your chances of keeping your New Year’s resolutions, we offer four tips inspired by recent research on behavioral economics and health. We focus on health, but our suggestions should help with other goals, too.

First, 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. In an experiment reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers (including one of us) contacted thousands of individuals who needed flu shots. Those individuals who were prompted to privately write down a plan specifying the date and time they would visit a clinic got shots at a 13 percent higher rate than members of a control group, who were also reminded about clinics but were not prompted to form a plan. This strategy, as the same team reported in the journal Preventive Medicine, also improved turnout for colonoscopies.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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