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Why do we make Resolutions at the Start of a New Year?

Take the prevalence of New Year’s resolutions. The Wharton professor Katherine Milkman said she found it striking that “at the start of a new year, we feel like we have a clean slate. It’s the ‘fresh start effect’

. . . all of my past failures are from last year and I can think, ‘Those are not me. That’s old me. That’s not new me. New me isn’t going to make these mistakes.’ ” In other words, New Year’s resolutions are not really about the resolutions. After all, for most people, the resolutions haven’t changed. Most people wanted to lose weight and save money on December 31, too. What we’re doing on New Year’s Day is more like a mental accounting trick. Our past failures are left on the ledger of Old Me. New Me starts today.

Taken from Dan and Chip Heath, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact, , Simon & Schuster.

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