See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 23, Issue 1

Meet Your Goals with Research-Proved Tips and Techniques

Forming new habits that last requires setting realistic expectations

Illustration by Matt Vincent

Have you already abandoned your New Year’s resolution? No need to feel ashamed. Fully a quarter of the people who make resolutions give up by the end of the first week, with many others falling off the wagon in the months to come. It seems to be human nature to aim high and fall short.

Whether attempting to exercise more regularly, cut back on impulse buying or simply keep a tidy desk, anybody who has tried changing a long-standing habit knows how frustratingly hard lasting change can be. But why is it so difficult, despite our good intentions? What do those few who succeed know that the rest of us do not?

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article