New Year’s Resolutions Are Notoriously Slippery, but Science Can Help You Keep Them

Every January nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. We resolve to eat better, exercise more, get organized, spend less money, and so on. Unfortunately, several studies suggest that most of these resolutions don’t stick. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve made a resolution this year and would like help keeping it, you’re in luck: Ayelet Fishbach, one of the world’s foremost researchers on the science of motivation, has written a book designed for you.

Fishbach is a social psychologist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and author of Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation. I am a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and author of How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. I recently interviewed Fishbach about her work on what it takes to motivate us not only to get started on goals but also to see them through all the way to the finish line. In particular, she explains how adjusting our context and circumstances—for instance, our social support and how we frame progress—can help us stay motivated to finish a large project.

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