Sunday, December 30, 2012

Motivation and the New Year's Resolution

While driving home from a holiday event last Friday, I listened to National Public Radio's "Science Friday."  I was delighted at clinical psychologist John Norcross's research-based recommendations about how best to follow up on New Year's Resolutions.  Many of his suggestions were based directly on the science of consequences (not really all that surprising). I love this quote:  "Motivation doesn't come in a bottle.  Motivation is, scientifically speaking, a series of small behaviors."  Indeed, as Norcross noted, arranging for suitable signals and positive consequences--like checklists and social support--has been shown to help us stick to our resolutions.  Just making commitments helps--and that of course is what New Year's Resolutions are all about!  Keep them realistic, and "reward your successes, reinforce yourself for each step with a healthy treat or a compliment, perhaps even create a reward contract with a loved one."    Great to see the science covered so well. 

Good luck with any resolutions you make, and have a very happy New Year!

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