What are New Year’s resolutions and why they seldom work

New Year’s Celebration fireworks at Carton House, Maynooth Happy New Year! It’s the start of 2011 and last night we celebrated as we said goodbye to 2010 and welcomed the turn over to a New Year. At New Year and perhaps birthdays or other recurring significant dates we often conduct a self-appraisal and make decisions about our future behaviour. This is typically framed as a New Year’s Resolution: I will go to the gym and loose weight;I will give up smoking;I will do a course;I will complete an unfinished project (I know someone who has resolved to complete her master’s dissertation). So what’s really happening–why do we make such self-resolutions?  How likely are we to succeed in changing our own behaviour as a result of such public and private utterances? Last night I had an idea (my first of 2011) that is to develop a Theory of Resolutions.  Like many good theories will build extensively on the work of others.  Don’t worry that I state my goal in such grand terms as ‘a theory’ – I am simply attempting to provide a new perspective on the familiar, a framework for understanding and making sense of an aspect of our life.  Read More …