New Year’s Resolutions: 5 Resolutions That Might Actually Work

BY Zachary Stieber TIMEDecember 31, 2013 PRINT

New Year’s resolutions: are you making any?

How about ones that will actually work?

Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, and Kristen Berman, the founder of Irrational Labs, a not-for-profit that attempts to get people to behave irrationally, but in better ways, have five resolution ideas that might do just that.

They write in Time suggesting the following:

-Order an annual subscription to the Fruit Guy. By committing to a weekly service that delivers fresh fruit, we make having healthy food a reality. This approach has the added sweet side effect of urgency. Every week when the fruit is delivered, we know all too well that if we fail to consume the fruit in the next week, more of it will show up and we will have to waste the unused fruit. And if you like real adventures, what about a more extreme version of this? A weekly subscription to the Kale Guy?

-Give a good friend the ability to take some money from your bank account if you break your diet. Tell this friend that if he sees you eating something unhealthy, he should withdraw a specified amount of money from your checking account and spend it. And if you find that this is not sufficiently painful, either make the amount larger, or make the deal with someone you don’t like that much (maybe your boss).

-Set up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account into a savings account. This quick, onetime decision to transfer money will help you spend within your budget, while also helping your future financial security.

-Working out every day takes a lot of ongoing willpower. Joining a gym is nice but still requires the daily decision to go to the gym. Instead, a better approach is to set up recurring weekly “meetings” with friends or co-workers for workouts. This kind of social obligation is likely to hold you, and them, accountable to show up, and once you have shown up, you might as well start sweating.

-Go to the nearby shelter and get a dog. Once you make this quick onetime decision, you are going to go for daily walks for the next decade.

Have other ideas? Share them in the comment section below.


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Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
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