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88% of New Year Resolutions Fail

Posted Feb 20 2010 11:00am


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…)

>>> Click here if you’ve having problems keeping your New Year’s resolutions

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.

>>> Click here if you’ve having problems keeping your New Year’s resolutions

Another study performed by Dr. Mark Muraven, a professor at the University of Albany, demonstrates this effect once again.

>>> Drinking, Driving, and Self Control

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!!!

>>> Click here if you’ve having problems keeping your New Year’s resolutions
Don’t try to lose weight, stop smoking, or quit biting your nails all at once.

Since inhibition takes up energy, focus on one thing at a time.

The second piece of advice has something to do with the work of Walter Mischel at Columbia University.

Mischel’s studies have shown that people who can delay gratification don’t necessarily have more willpower, but instead think of better ways to get tempting thoughts out of their minds!

So, the second piece of advice is to learn how to get creative and manage your attention.

Instead of “not thinking” about the temptation – either distract yourself or think about it in another way.

>>> How hypnosis helps you with self control

You are probably thinking that the advice above is easier said than done, and you would be correct. This is where things such as hypnosis can be a big help.

The reason is that hypnosis allows you to make changes at a different level than the prefrontal cortex.

>>> Click here if you’ve having problems keeping your New Year’s resolutions
The June 2009 issue of Neuron demonstrated using fMRI technology when it comes to inhibition – hypnosis works in a totally different part of the brain than when we typically exhibit willpower or self control.

Hypnosis actually works in the part of the brain responsible for self image.

And this is why hypnosis, whether it be for weight control or smoking cessation significantly improves results in almost every study.

>>> You’ll find more details on this life-changing hypnosis program here: Enjoying Weight Loss

>>>> Are you a smoker dealing with weight loss issues?

There’s no way to sugar-coat it: If you are overweight and smoke, you are in a very bad place. Being overweight brings on a long list of ailments and if you combine that with the negative effects of smoking, you are absolutely not at your optimal health.

If you’ve tried everything to quit smoking but are still spending thousands each year on your nicotine addiction, then you have nothing to lose (but that unhealthy habit!) by trying this hypnosis program to help you quit smoking!

Photo by norwichnuts

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