The Washington Post:
Considering the number of people who make New Year’s resolutions — somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of us, according to various reports — there isn’t an overwhelming amount of recent research on how successful we are. But as you might not suspect, the data we do have show that 46 percent of us succeed — or say we succeed — for at least six months. Change is hard, but for a while we seem to be able to keep it up.
Still, the speed at which many of us fail is pretty surprising. A 1989 study by John C. Norcross of the University of Scranton shows that 77 percent of resolvers had been able to keep their commitments “continuously for one week,” and follow-up research by Norcross in 2002 put the figure at 71 percent for one and two weeks. That means that about 25 percent of us don’t stick with it for seven measly days.
George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied financial incentives and weight loss, devised ways to include social support and pressure, competition and money to spur obese veterans to lose weight. In separate four- and eight-month studies, participants lost nearly a pound a week, significantly more than a control group.
Read the whole story: The Washington PostMore of our Members in the Media >