What Was Your New Year’s Resolution?

>> Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It’s only the first week of January … but it already feels like we’re deep into the year! Hard to believe that only a few days ago, most of us were thinking about what the year would bring … and what we want to do better, or more of, or less of, in the next twelve months.

Speaking for myself, my resolution to go to the gym every day is already suffering. And I don’t even want to admit to everything else I said I’d do! If that sounds anything like what you’re going through, here’s a tip from author Jonah Lehrer that ran in last week's Wall Street Journal: don’t tackle every good idea at once – instead, spread out your resolutions over the whole year.

Why? The part of the brain responsible for willpower – the pre-frontal cortex – has a lot of other jobs to do. As Jonah writes, “scientists have discovered that this chunk of cortex is also in charge of keeping us focused, handling short-term memory and solving abstract problems. Asking it to lose weight is often asking it to do one thing too many.”

But all is not lost. The trick may be to focus on one thing at a time. In one experiment, focusing on improved posture for two weeks led to more self-control in other areas.

So this New Year, I’m resolved to make the whole year about renewal – one gym date at a time.

Hope this finds you well!



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