Popular Science

How to trick your brain into keeping a New Year’s resolution

Apply the power of habit to your annual goals.

a man lifting weights

Use your weakness to your advantage.

Samuel King Jr. via Pexels

Breaking New Year’s resolutions is so time-honored a tradition that companies can actually stake their business model on it. Gyms like Planet Fitness depend on thousands joining up at the beginning of the year, only to fail on the follow-through. They sign up about 6,500 people per location despite the fact that each one can only accommodate about 300, relying on the low cost of membership to convince people that at $10 a month, you shouldn’t cancel—you’ll definitely start going next week.

But you probably won’t. Getting fit and losing weight are the two most common New Year’s resolutions, and both depend on making daily changes to your life. That means interrupting your normal habits and exchanging them for new ones. Unfortunately, humans are terrible at doing both of those things.

Ironically, though, it’s hard to change precisely because our brains are so good at becoming habituated. We’re hardwired to automate processes. It’s how you can find yourself at work without having to think about getting there, or why you reach for the patch of wall where the lightswitch is in your own bathroom when you stumble into a hotel’s commode. It’s also why most new diets and exercise plans fail. Once a habit is automatic, .

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da Popular Science

Popular Science1 min lettiPsychology
There’s No Place Like Home
ATHLETES TEND TO DO BETTER on their own turf. But the factors that create the mythical home-field advantage are still somewhat mysterious. Referee bias, lack of travel-related fatigue, and the morale boost of fan attendance may contribute, yet expert
Popular Science1 min lettiPsychology
Horseplay—or Not?
HUMANS DON’T HAVE A MONOPOLY ON horsing around. Animals of all sorts use play to prepare for real-world situations—but their shenanigans can look pretty different from ours. You might catch baby rats mischievously battling to figure out how to fight,
Popular Science1 min letti
We Are (all) The Champions
MICHELLE CLEERE, ELITE PERFORMANCE EXPERT I specialize in helping athletes develop mental skills to face challenges both in their sports and in life. I try to emphasize to my clients, most of whom are between the ages of 11 and 15, that they have to