Do you know why 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail before Valentine’s day?
I think at this point in the year a lot of people may have already fallen off the resolutions band wagon.
When it comes to fitness and weight loss, there is no better time in the year for people to be totally focused on getting to their best weight, but within a few short weeks a lot of people give up.
Is it that these quitters have no willing power? Is it that they are weak and unfocused individuals and are destined to remain unhealthy and fat for the rest of their lives?
>>> Willpower is not a “Character” Issue
Most of us assume that a lack of willpower is a personality defect, and that if we had a better constitution we would meet our resolutions (stop overeating, stop drinking too much, quit smoking, get more done, create and follow a budget, etc…)
But the research is now clear that our brains simply aren’t designed for willpower – because willpower is a limited resource.
A series of experiments has clearly demonstrated that the part of the brain responsible for self control, the prefrontal cortex, simply can’t maintain the act of self control for an extended period of time.
Baba Shiv, a marketing professor at Stanford University, conducted a really interesting experiment that I think really drives the point home:
>>> Cake or Salad?
Baba Shiv’s team assembled two groups. Group One was tasked with remembering a two digit number and Group Two was tasked with remembering a seven digit number (obviously a more difficult task).
Each subject was then led into another room and given the choice of having either a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad.
Here is the crazy part: The seven digit group members were twice as likely to eat the cake as the two digit group!!!
The extra five digits that Group Two had to remember overloaded the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for self control, making them choose the fattening cake over the healthier fruit.
Muraven asked subjects to “not” think about a white elephant for five minutes while writing down their thoughts (this is actually pretty hard to do). A control group just did some simple math problems.
He then had the two groups do a beer taste test – but he had warned them that their next task would involve driving!
True to the theory, the white elephant group drank significantly more beer than the control group. The mental task simply ate up their capacity for self control.
The point is that – 88% of Resolutions Fail Because Self Control Takes Energy
These are simple tests, but think about it: You go through a lot more stress and multi-tasking than any of these experiments can replicate.
> So are we doomed?
Well, no we aren’t.
How to keep a resolution…
First, if you are going to choose a resolution or a goal, just choose one!!!
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