Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Already backsliding on New Year’s Resolutions? There’s hope for our limited willpower! Strategies, Tools,..

"...the way to keep a New Year’s resolution is to anticipate the limits of your willpower...."With a few...strategies and new digital tools,  [see below]  

Previous sentence and the excerpts provided below are all from "Be It Resolved," by John Tierney, New York Times, January 5, 2012.  Main sections:
"uplifting predictions,"  "not-so-uplifting predictions," introduction of "ego-depletion," RECOMMENDED STRATEGIES, SUGGESTED INTERNET TOOLS, and ENCOURAGEMENT.
Also see:  Baumeister & Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

"uplifting predictions" for those of us who have made a resolution:"... you’re much more likely to make improvements than someone who hasn’t made a formal resolution."If you can make it through the rest of January, you have a good chance of lasting a lot longer.
"...not-so-uplifting prediction: Most people are not going to keep their resolutions all year long. ...By the end of January, a third will have broken their resolutions, and by July more than half will have lapsed...because they’ll eventually run out of willpower, ...a real form of mental energy, powered by glucose in the bloodstream, which is used up as you exert self-control. "The result is 'ego depletion,' ...state of mental fatigue 

  1. "SET A SINGLE CLEAR GOAL...And limit yourself to one big resolution at a time.
  2. "PRECOMMIT ...bind yourself by [sharing your goal by email or Facebook]
  3. "OUTSOURCE ...self-control by sharing your progress with friends through Twitter posts ... 
  4. "KEEP TRACK ...Self-monitoring is vital to any kind of resolution, and new tools will do the grunt work for you. 
  6. "TOMORROW IS ANOTHER TASTE [postpone indulgence] 
  7. "REWARD OFTEN ...use willpower [not] only to deny yourself pleasures, [but also] gain something, you can wring pleasure out of the dreariest tasks.
"Web sites like, ...At stickK, you set the goal and have the option of naming a referee to enforce it. You also set the penalty. It might be just an e-mailed announcement to a list of friends (or enemies), but you can also put money on the line. You can precommit to paying the penalty to anyone you designate, including an 'anti-charity,' which for a Democrat could be the George W. Bush library. (The Clinton library is available for Republicans.)
...Withings will log your weight on your computer and notify your friends (if you want) 
... BodyMedia Fit armband and the FitBit clip can estimate how many calories you’ve burned by keeping track of your movements all day long.
...let all your financial transactions be automatically categorized by
"Entrepreneurs are rushing to monitor just about every aspect of your life — your health, your moods, your sleep — ...[see]   Quantified Self and Lifehacker. 
"...One new exercise monitor, the Striiv, will make donations to charity based on how many steps you take. 

"...people with the best self-control...use their willpower less often...minimize temptations...using ...willpower in advance so that they avoid crises, conserve their energy and outsource as much self-control as they can.

"The more you precommit, the better you do, according to stickK’s analysis of 125,000 contracts over the past three years. The success rate for people who don’t name a referee or set financial stakes is only 29 percent, but it rises to 59 percent when there’s a referee and to 71.5 percent when there’s money at stake. And when a contract includes a referee and financial stakes, the success rate is nearly 80 percent.

...“'Contrary to widespread public opinion, a considerable proportion of New Year resolvers do succeed,' Dr. Norcross said. 'You are 10 times more likely to change by making a New Year’s resolution compared to non-resolvers with the identical goals and comparable motivation to change.'  <John C. Norcross and other psychologists at the University of Scranton reported in 2002 after having tracked people for six months after New Year’s.>

IMAGE selected by Steven W. Gilbert 20120118
Photo of "New Year's Day postcard mailed in 1909. It reads: 'A New Year's Resolution / Jan. 1st / Good Resolution / Each resolution that I make / My conscience surely troubles / Because I find they always break / As easy as Soap bubbles', "Postcard mailed December 22, 1909, according to image of other side of card shown on same Web page"  Author not known
Source:  eBay store Web page:

"Permission:  (Reusing this file) not necessary; copyright expired;
This media file is in the public domain in the United States.

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