You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Ideas

Meet Future You. (Now be nice.)

Psychology offers a strange new tactic for keeping your resolutions

The first weeks of a new year can be tumultuous and invigorating. It’s the moment we consider the unstoppable passage of time—how did it get so late?—while trying, more intently than usual, to map out our as yet unwritten future.

Following that map, of course, is the hard part. As reliably as the calendar changes, resolutions fall by the wayside, and old habits reassert themselves. We know it’s going to happen, and we think we even know why. After a while, the necessary willpower to delay gratification in the interest of an abstract future benefit gives way to temptation. It seems straightforward enough: We fail because now is more powerful than later.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week