In Brief

The hard science behind why our New Year's resolutions often fail and how to improve our chances at success.

As we approach the end of the decade and look to improve upon our myriad faults for the year ahead, the Wall Street Journal takes an enlightening look at the science behind willpower and our (in)ability to keep resolutions. Turns out the area of our brains in charge of maintaining self-control, the prefrontal cortex, also has several other duties to monitor – things like focus, short term memory and abstract problem solving – that take precedence over our yearly pledges to quit smoking or lose weight. In fact, attempting to achieve these goals might be asking it to perform one task too many.

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