New year resolutions?

461284139New Year Resolutions are tough to maintain aren’t they?  Most of us have already “dropped the ball” on the promises we make ourselves by the end of January.  And most of us then blame ourselves for poor willpower etc.  But is that really the reason it’s so hard to keep the promises we make ourselves?  Recent research by David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, and author of “Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride” suggests otherwise.  Professor deSteno suggests that relying on willpower is pretty much setting us up for failure and we would be better investing in a practice gratitude and compassion in order to achieve our goals.  Considering my current goal to keep a photographic gratitude journal, this comes as somewhat of a relief!  His opinion article on how to be successful in keeping those New Years resolutions can be found here

“Pride, gratitude and compassion, whether we consciously realize it or not, reduce the human mind’s tendency to discount the value of the future. In so doing, they push us not only to cooperate with other people but also to help our own future selves. Feeling pride or compassion has been shown to increase perseverance on difficult tasks by over 30 percent. Likewise, gratitude and compassion have been tied to better academic performance, a greater willingness to exercise and eat healthily, and lower levels of consumerism, impulsivity and tobacco and alcohol use.

If using willpower causes stress, using these emotions actually heals: They slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. By making us value the future more, they ease the way to patience and perseverance.”