Keeping new year’s resolutions from NPR’s Science Friday

One of my favorite shows on NPR is Science Friday. On December 26, the host of Science Friday Ira Flatow interviewed clinical psychologist John Norcross about how to increase the odds of keeping new year’s resolutions. Norcross has researched and published two studies on resolutions and how people succeed at keeping them.

A few fascinating points from the interview:

  • 40-46% of people who set resolutions are successful at the six month point
  • Having a resolution buddy and checking in with that person just three times will significantly increase the likelihood of success
  • 71% of the people who achieved their resolution in six months, slipped in January and said this slip strengthened their resolve
  • Setting a resolution instead of a goal increases the chance that you’ll achieve progress by 10 times

Norcross also said that believing that you can achieve the resolution — even if you falter along the way — is one of the keys to success.

To listen to “Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick,” click on the link and then hit the Play Arrow under the word “Listen” on the left side of the webpage.

The two studies on which the interview are based appear to be the following:

  • Norcross, J. C., Ratzin, A. C., & P ayne, D. (1989). Ringing in the New Year: The change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions. Addictive Behaviors, 14, 205-212.
  • Norcross, J. C., & Vangarelli, D. J. (1989). The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year’s change attempts. Journal of Substance Abuse, 1, 127-134.

Pictured: Norcross

5 Comments for “Keeping new year’s resolutions from NPR’s Science Friday”

  1. posted by Shanel Yang on

    Making a resolution instead of merely setting goals improving the chances of success surprises me! But, it’s a happy surprise! Thanks for all the great information. : )

  2. posted by Vicki-Lou on

    I love NPR. They have such interesting facts and tibits, plus they keep me up to date with the news. I listen to them whenever I drive my husband’s car (my car has no radio at the moment). I don’t watch TV or receive the newspaper, so NPR is my most accessible outlet to the news other than the internet.
    One thing I’ve found personally that helps with New Year’s Resolutions is to blog my progress. I posted my resolutions, and have been blogging about them since. My sister has been the only one commenting on my posts, but even that little encouragement has helped. I already feel that I’m much closer to achieving my goals than I was last year.

  3. posted by Vee on

    Thanks for posting this. What an interesting interview. I’ve always felt that resolutions were stronger than goals in my own life. I, too, am blogging my resolutions this year in hopes that sharing them will increase my chances of success.

  4. posted by Christopher Reves on

    I enjoyed the title to this one. I first understood it to mean “don’t tell NPR what your new year’s resolutions are”.

  5. posted by MizK on

    When I told a friend I wanted to write out my goals for 2009, he said to me “you need a goal buddy” (something like a workout buddy, a study buddy, etc.).

    Now I’ve written out my goals and sent it to my goal buddy. It helped me realize that I had too many goals, and which ones weren’t specific enough to achieve.

    Also – I keep tabs on my friends a bit: “how are your applications coming? Do you need anyone to review your essays? Do you need exam preparation materials?” And so far no one has complained that I’m a nag :)

    If anyone would like to do this with me, you can comment below!

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