The Best Way To Follow Through On Your New Year’s Resolution? Make An ‘Old Year’s Resolution’

Written by Mark Canada, Indiana University Kokomo and Christina Downey, Indiana University


If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution, your plot for self-improvement probably kicks into gear sometime on January 1, when the hangover wears off and the quest for the “new you” begins in earnest.

But if research on habit change is any indication, only about half of New Year’s resolutions are likely to make it out of January, much less last a lifetime.

As experts in positive psychology and literature, we recommend an unconventional but more promising approach.

We call it the “old year’s resolution.”

It combines insights from psychologists and America’s first self-improvement guru, Benjamin Franklin, who pioneered a habit-change model that was way ahead of its time.

With the “old year” approach, perhaps you can sidestep the inevitable challenges that come with traditional New Year’s resolutions and achieve lasting, positive changes.

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