Science Questions

Why do resolutions become hard after a week?

Tue, 14th Jan 2014

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Are old habits hard to break?

Question

Joe asked:

Why do we have willpower for about a week and then we give up?

Answer

Ben Gardner - Well, I can't actually speak for gyms, but I think this relates to the answer I just gave.  I think that people often are willing to put in the effort at the start, but they don't actually have the kind of realistic forecast of what's going to be involved in doing a behaviour.  It might be that they don't adequately plan how they're going to for example, keep going to a gym.  Itís one thing to plan when and where you're going to start going to a gym, but you need to make sure that you have this plan for keeping up.  And I think that's the problem that people just find that actually, they can lapse back into their old habits and routines.  If they don't plan adequately to cope for those kind of obstacles, then they will lapse.  And so, that will be experienced as kind of dip in our willpower.

Chris -  Molly, what do you think?

Molly Crockett -  I think the thing to add is that at this time of year, willpower and making resolutions is at the forefront of everyoneís mind.  Itís central to our attention and so, itís easier to sort of think about and plan for those goals when itís at the front of your mind.  But distractions tend to creep in and that can interfere with the goal directed process of trying to achieve those goals.

Multimedia

Subscribe Free

Related Content

Not working please enable javascript
EPSRC
Powered by UKfast
STFC
Genetics Society
ipDTL