Science Questions

Why is new year a good time for resolutions?

Tue, 14th Jan 2014

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

Question

Jen asked:

What stops us from making changes at a random time of the year? So, maybe when we first think that we should start eating more healthily, why don't we do it then? Why do we wait until there's some kind of milestone?

Answer

Ben Gardner - I think it may be that we need often a kind of what's called a cue to action.  We need something to give us that push to actually start making changes to our behaviour.  So, something like for example, for smokers, a non-smoking day or for example, someone who wants to make a major change in their behaviour, a January resolution kind of window can help with that.

Ginny - Molly, have you got any ideas on that one?

Molly Crockett - I think perhaps the added social pressure of everyone else talking about their resolutions and what goals they're looking to pursue in the new year could help provide an extra sort of boost in motivation.

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