Keeping new year’s resolutions from NPR’s Science Friday

One of my favorite shows on NPR is Science Friday. On December 26, the host of Science Friday Ira Flatow interviewed clinical psychologist John Norcross about how to increase the odds of keeping new year’s resolutions. Norcross has researched and published two studies on resolutions and how people succeed at keeping them.

A few fascinating points from the interview:

  • 40-46% of people who set resolutions are successful at the six month point
  • Having a resolution buddy and checking in with that person just three times will significantly increase the likelihood of success
  • 71% of the people who achieved their resolution in six months, slipped in January and said this slip strengthened their resolve
  • Setting a resolution instead of a goal increases the chance that you’ll achieve progress by 10 times

Norcross also said that believing that you can achieve the resolution — even if you falter along the way — is one of the keys to success.

To listen to “Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick,” click on the link and then hit the Play Arrow under the word “Listen” on the left side of the webpage.

The two studies on which the interview are based appear to be the following:

  • Norcross, J. C., Ratzin, A. C., & P ayne, D. (1989). Ringing in the New Year: The change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions. Addictive Behaviors, 14, 205-212.
  • Norcross, J. C., & Vangarelli, D. J. (1989). The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year’s change attempts. Journal of Substance Abuse, 1, 127-134.

Pictured: Norcross

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