New Year's Resolutions

Dec 27, 2013

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You’re ready. You stare yourself down in the mirror. “This time it’s for real!”, you say to yourself as your mind briefly flashes to all of your failed attempts. You quickly push the doubts aside with, “Yeah, well it’s the beginning of a New Year, so this try will be different!”. And you’re right…maybe. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s that 10 pounds you want to lose (8 of which you acquired just last week thanks to all the Christmas treats), the bad habit you’ve been longing to finally kick, or a new talent you’d like to perfect, we look to January 1st as the magical day on which EVERYTHING changes.

Unfortunately, you and I both know that EVERYTHING isn’t going to change. A lot, however, can change. Recent neuroscience research has shown that willpower is a muscle that can only hold up for so long. The part of the brain that handles most of our willpower (the prefrontal cortex) is the same part that handles short-term memory, focus, and abstract problem-solving. In other words, you failed at losing that weight last year because you had too much on your plate figuratively more than literally.

One thing we ought to keep in mind is that setting too many different goals can keep us from reaching any of them. One major goal or a couple of minor goals; however, may actually do us a lot more good in the long run.

If you’re pretty content with life as is but would still like to exercise your goal-reaching muscles, try this New Year’s Resolution Generator, or check out a list of the most popular resolutions. As for the rest of us, 2014 is a year of new possibilities. The old adage “you can do anything you put your mind to” is even more true than we might have thought all along. It’s all about keeping the stresses of life under control so we can focus all our energy on meeting our goals!

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