The False Hopes of Self-Change- Why We Make The Same Resolution Pledges
H/T Ali a very close friend who runs the Public Health Bugle blog.
“Even those who are ultimately successful at self-change must make the attempt five or six times on average before succeeding. New Year’s resolvers typically report making the same pledge for 5 years or more before they manage a 6-month success, and of those who fail this year, 60% will make the same resolution again next year”(Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992).
Abstract (via Polivy and Herman)
Despite repeated failure at attempts to change aspects of their behavior, people make frequent attempts at selfchange. The generally negative outcome of many such self-change efforts makes it difficult to understand why so many individuals persist at these attempts. The authors have described this cycle of failure and renewed effort as a “false hope syndrome” characterized by unrealistic expectations about the likely speed, amount, ease, and consequences of self-change attempts. In this article, the authors further develop their conceptualization of this syndromeand review its evidential basis. They review the reasons why so many people tend to fail in their self-change attempts and then examine how people interpret these failures in such a way that they are led to keep trying repeatedly despite apparently overwhelming odds. Finally, the authors discuss the psychological consequences of repeated failure and analyze the distinction between confidence and overconfidence.