Best Of The Web
“Yes, it’s that time again—the turning of the page, the stretch of a brand-new year, and, hopefully, a whole new you, right? Well, I happen to be a believer in the whole new page thing, especially as it applies to the beginning of a month or a change in season because you can psyche yourself into gearing up and getting off whatever hamster wheel you happen to find yourself on. But why is the New Year’s thing just a bust for most people? Shouldn’t a New Year energize the hell out of all of us?
Well, yes but no.
It’s been thirty years since John Norcross and Dominic Vangarelli conducted a study of what happens to all that New Year’s resolution-making and discovered—surprise, surprise! —that most of us are abject failures at it. At one week’s time, 77% of those questioned were still hanging in but only 55% were left standing at the end of a month. Two years later, only 19% had actually succeeded.
Let mosey on down the road and see why that is precisely.
What’s really motivating you? That’s the question
Most of our resolutions aren’t things we actually want to do deep down in our hearts but things we feel we ought to do. Intrinsic goals—ones that reflect our inner selves and our truest aspirations—tend to be those we actually set our minds to achieving; studies show that people display more resilience when they’re thwarted in their progress when a goal is intrinsic, in contrast to one which is extrinsic. Extrinsic goals are those we may go after but we are motivated to achieve them because they’re set by other people (our parents, spouses, or friends), the culture, or society as a whole. It’s not often that I love a quotation from scientific research but here’s my own fav on the difference between intrinsic goals and extrinsic one, courtesy of Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci, who note that extrinsic motivation is “a pale and impoverished (if powerful) form of motivation that contrasts with intrinsic motivation.””
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"