What Moment Will Define You in 2014?

Can you imagine an event in 2014 that will be important, meaningful, and shape who you are? The ability to generate such self-defining future memories is important for experiencing a sense of self-continuity -- exactly what scientists have found helps us to be, and become, the best versions of ourselves.

How to Quit Almost Anything

A fun 3-min video tackles the neuroscience of breaking bad habits and finding your motivation.

What the Stock Market Can Teach You About New Year's Resolve

I don't typically turn to stock reports for self-help inspiration. But there's a market quirk that shows up each New Year that's gotten me thinking about the "economics" of our own New Years resolutions. Think of yourself as a start-up, and chart a new course in 2013.

Five Things You Can Do Instead of New Year’s Resolutions

Tired of the traditional New Year’s resolution to lose weight, get fit, or get out of credit card debt? Try a new New Year's ritual, from a chat with your future self to a wish list for 2014.

This Was the Year in Willpower

This round-up features the most-read posts and most-watched videos on this blog in the past year. Plus, the blog post you probably didn't read (it got the fewest hits of the year), but that I picked as the defining post of 2012.

How Not to Give the Gift of Food Guilt This Holiday Season

Studies show that we overestimate other people's desire for indulgent foods, and underestimate the guilt and regret they will feel afterward.

What’s Better Than Gratitude?

Somewhere between mashing the potatoes and dishing out the pie, millions of Americans will take time to reflect on what they are grateful for. But a recent study published in Psychological Science suggests a different practice -- one you might consider making a new Thanksgiving tradition.

Watching Your Favorite TV Show Can Boost Your Willpower

Two new studies report that watching reruns—but not new episodes—restores willpower.

Why It’s Hard to Let Go of Clutter

Researchers asked people to sort through items like junk mail and old newspapers, and decide what to keep and what to toss. While this was happening, researchers tracked their stress and brain activity.

Is Your Mind Separate From Your Body?

A new study, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Cologne in Germany, finds that if you believe the mind is separate from the body, you are less likely to exercise and avoid junk food.

Does Self-Compassion or Criticism Motivate Self-Improvement?

Self-compassion beats self-criticism any day, and in every way. But I had to share the latest set of studies showing how important self-compassion is for motivating change.

The Bad Science of Banning Soda

The uproar about Mayor Bloomberg's new ban on selling supersized sodas has focused on two issues: 1) personal freedom (as in, I have the God-given right to buy a 72-oz cola), and 2) efficacy ("It won't make a difference anyway; people are obese because of what they eat.")

Five Temptations That Actually Boost Your Willpower

If you’ve suspected that you run out of willpower as the day wears on, you’re right. Scientists have discovered that willpower is a kind of energy that gets spent over the course of your day. Like a muscle that gets tired from exercise, our self-control strength gets sapped by the many decisions, distractions, and stresses we face.
Are You Sure You Want a Habit?

Are You Sure You Want a Habit?

Is creating new habits the solution to changing bad behavior? Unfortunately, we aren't so easily programmed (or deprogrammed).

Try This: Willpower Experiment for Making Smarter, Healthier Choices

Given the choice, would you rather eat a can of curried grasshoppers or a bag of potato chips? If you're feeling a little squeamish, what if some scientist had just discovered that grasshoppers are a miracle food? What if they could prevent cancer, burn off excess fat stores, cure depression, and regrow receding hairlines?
4 Science-Based Strategies for Getting Over an Ex

4 Science-Based Strategies for Getting Over an Ex

Yahoo! Shine asked me if the science of willpower could be applied to a romantic addiction. Can research on other bad habits help you break the "ex" habit and move on for good? Never one to shy away from a willpower challenge, here's my best advice.

Which Actually Makes You Happier: Home-Cooked Healthy Meals, or Indulgent Meals Out?

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates how our expectations can conflict with the reality of what makes us happy. Figuring out the difference can help you stick with your goals and enjoy life more.

Why Leaders Have More Willpower, and More Willpower Failures

Leaders are natural willpower athletes

Why Everything Tastes Better in Your Favorite Cafe

I was browsing the latest issue of the journal Nutritional Neuroscience and came across this gem of a study, conducted by researchers at Kanazawa Medical University in Japan. Researchers created two very different virtual reality experiences using something called a "Body Sonic Chair."

Why Stress Makes It Difficult to Change a Habit -- And What You Can Do About It

Have you ever noticed that when you're under stress, it's so much harder to resist temptation? Or make any kind of change in your daily routine, like starting an exercise program or kicking a late-night TV habit?

How to Resist the Office Candy Dish

A new study provides a strategy for all those office workers who can't resist the jelly bean jar, the vending machine, or the secret sugar stash in the bottom drawer.