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How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

Ayelet Fishbach, professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, recommends four ways to see your 2019 commitment through.

Illustration by John Kenzie
Illustration: John Kenzie

Take Baby Steps

“We tend to track our behavior on a daily basis, even on an hourly basis — definitely not annually. If the resolution isn’t something you can monitor, it’s going to be an empty resolution. Set short-term goals. Think about whether you should keep going or even increase your efforts.”

Cut the Haters Loose

“When people fall into temptation, another person is usually involved. Those people can be a drag. The trick is to find the people who will help us stay on track, cheer for us, and celebrate our success.”

Give Yourself a Break

“When you mess up, get up the next day and say, ‘OK, here I am starting again, life is long.’ If you are almost meeting a goal, you are doing pretty well.”

Take a Cue from Fido

“Celebrating your successes is much more effective than punishing yourself for failures. Guilt tends to lead to giving up, not behavioral change. Focus on the reward. Basically, what works for your pet dog also works for you.”

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