New year, new you

Published Jan 3, 2017

New Year’s Resolutions systems traps

Could New Year’s resolutions be doomed to fail? Driven by New Year’s culture, we commit to actions, call them resolutions, and set off to become better people. This phenomena of setting New Year’s resolutions is reinforcing (R1).

Yet, as we get further away from the culture of resolutions, our commitment – linked at heart to New Year’s culture – fades. This, coupled with how slow progress can be, leads to the gradual extinction of our promise to ourselves. (B1)

Perhaps, then, resolutions made outside of and separate from the cultural phenomena are more likely to result in real changes, as their founding is based in intrinsic motivation as opposed to the extrinsic incentives of New Year’s culture.

(The time since New Year’s sets a limit to growth on the new habit.)