Do you plan to make New Year's resolutions? Or do you resolve to do nothing, because you know that you will surely fail to make good on your intentions?
Why don't people carry out what they claim to have always wanted to do? Time and again, we make big plans but do not follow through. At the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich (now the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences), the late Heinz Heckhausen and his successor Peter Gollwitzer extensively studied this problem. The two motivational psychologists developed the so-called Rubicon model, which describes a plan's various stages of maturation from wish to realization. The model's name refers to the river in northern Italy that General Julius Caesar and his army crossed in 49 B.C., thereby disobeying the Senate and triggering a civil war in the Roman Empire. "Crossing the Rubicon" has come to mean the act of passing a critical point of no return.