New Year's resolutions are a Roman tradition with the intention of self-improvement; sadly, many of us fail to keep our resolution and it may due to us doing it the wrong way. Recent research suggests that our brain tends to interfere with keeping our resolution. Montreal psychologists suggest that the removal of distractions is the key ingredient that we often neglect when pursuing our resolution.
How Our Brain Thwarts Resolutions
There is a system in our brain that regulates reward-seeking behavior and it is called the "reward system". The reward system works by recognizing something pleasurable and releasing dopamine the next time we see it, even if we don't notice it. This release of dopamine not only makes us crave for things we find pleasurable, but it also increases our time preference (i.e. our willingness to pay a higher price to receive a benefit now, as opposed to later). In other words, dopamine makes us act impulsively, and knowing this allows us to make the necessary adjustments to accomplish our New Year's resolutions.
How to Overcome Our Brain
Although we cannot control dopamine-induced impulsivity, we can avoid having our dopamine released to begin with, by avoiding exposure to pleasurable things. For example, some great ways to eat a healthy diet is to avoid buying unhealthy food altogether, and to avoid eating out. By avoiding our exposure to unhealthy food, we can avoid dopamine being released, and thus, we can eliminate most - if not all - cravings.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not to be misinterpreted as medical, clinical, or any other professional advice. The views expressed are opinions and / or ideas founded on research and clinical experience. These views are meant to provoke awareness and inquiry into various issues, and thus, create an open-minded dialogue, civil discussion, and respectful debate among our readers. Any claims made are subject to change should new studies be conducted that disprove these claims.
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