Maybe They Just Like Chocolate Cake: Make New Year Resolutions and Keep Them!

New Year Resolution Ideas

About 45% of all Americans will make New Year resolutions. In another study about 88% of all resolutions will fail. If these statistics are correct just over 5 percent of the total U.S. population will make a New Year’s resolution and keep it! What is to blame for such terrible results?

 Blame It On Your Brain

There is some evidence that points to the brain being to blame.

In one experiment, led by Baba Shiv at Stanford University, several dozen undergraduates were divided into two groups. One group was given a two-digit number to remember, while the second group was given a seven-digit number. Then they were told to walk down the hall, where they were presented with two different snack options: a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit salad.

Here’s where the results get weird. The students with seven digits to remember were nearly twice as likely to choose the cake as students given two digits. The reason, according to Prof. Shiv, is that those extra numbers took up valuable space in the brain—they were a “cognitive load”—making it that much harder to resist a decadent dessert. In other words, willpower is so weak, and the prefrontal cortex is so overtaxed, that all it takes is five extra bits of information before the brain starts to give in to temptation.

The Best Diet To Lose Weight

All of us have experienced some degree of success when resolving to make change. The right motivation – we accomplish more. We can overcome our difficulties. We do the hard work, and have some faith that we can. It is the small action with associated small wins that lead to success. Failure comes when we attempt to take shortcuts or do too much too quickly. Frankly, I think we prefer to rationalize and blame something beyond our control rather than face reality. Look in the mirror and take responsibility! The best diet is the one that works for you.

Make New Year Resolutions and Keep Them

So is motivation the key to achieving our New Year resolutions? From personal experience (quit smoking, lost 5o pounds, sub 24 BMI at age 60, earned a college degree and 3 certifications after 45 years old) I think motivation mixed with the right goal is what works! At least that is what worked for me. If you are a smoker and was just informed that you have lung cancer, your odds of giving up the smokes is pretty likely! Why? The right motivation. So start with something small and find the right motivation.

Take Accountability

Lastly, find a way to measure your results. If you want to lose weight download a weight loss AP and start logging everything you eat. If you want to exercise, don’t start CrossFit if you haven’t exercised in 20 years! Set your timer on your phone and get up from your desk and take a walk every 30 minutes or an hour.

Social Learning Theory

The U.S. Army uses a, “Be, Know, Do” model for leader development. Being is about character development. Knowing is about intellectual development. Doing is about behavior. All this is good stuff, however, like every model, this one is lacking. In the Army, as well as just about any organization that recognizes reason and logic as most important, one’s emotional state is often overlooked. I think this is because many have been taught that feelings are fleeting and we can’t trust them. This process suppresses feelings. Consequently, when we don’t pay attention to our feelings we aren’t in touch with them. Being out of touch with our feelings causes us to take action to cover or mask them.


If you really want to change start slowly. Clearly identify what you want to change. As you win you will convince your mind that you can change. Get in touch with your feelings and discover why you want to change. Ask someone to hold you accountable. Measure your success regularly. For More