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On the first of every year, millions of Americans make a New Year’s resolution (or two or three) that they won’t keep. Why we keep making resolutions—and why they're so hard to follow.

每一年的开始,数百万美国人制定的新年计划(2个或者3个)都没能坚持下去。为什么我们一直下决心?然而为什么坚持下去是如此艰难?

There's one obvious reason why most resolutions fail: We usually focus on goals or tasks that we haven’t been able to achieve over the past year. “You are making it your New Year’s goal because you keep failing at it,” says Tim Pychyl, a psychologist at Carleton University in Ottawa. The other terrible thing about New Year’s resolutions, he says, is that making them requires no action. The simple thought—the idea that we intend to lose weight or exercise more— just thinking about losing weight makes us feel good, and we don’t actually have to go out and do the tasks necessary to achieve that goal.

大部分新年决心失败的一个最主要的原因是,我们下决心的时候往往总是关注的是那个我们在过去一年里没法做到的目标。“你下决心要完成这件事,是因为总是在这件事上失败。”渥太华卡尔顿大学心理学家 Tim Pychyl 说道。“另一个可怕的事情是,下一个新年决定不需要任何实际行动。一个简单的想法,我们想要减肥或者多运动,我们光想想减肥就已经自我感觉良好了,所以事实上我们没有必要出去做一些事情去实现它。”

“They make the intention now, but they don’t do anything. It’s like going to buy furniture and not having to pay anything until 2019.” says Pychyl, “That’s the selective nature of it.” He adds we would never form a New Year's resolution around tasks we like to do. We already did those things the year before, so there's nothing satisfying about pledging to keep them up. Procrastination is one of the number one reasons resolutions fail.

Tim Pychyl 说:“他们总是现在下定决心,但是又不做任何事情去实现。这就像你想买一套家具但是直到2019年还没有付款一样。这是选择的本质。” 他补充说道,我们绝对不会下定决心去做我们喜欢做的事情。因为那些喜欢做的事情在过去一年已经做了,因此下定决心继续做这一件事不会让我们感到满足。拖延症是新年决心失败的第一大原因。

Even as we try to overcome our resistance to our resolutions, something a little more powerful takes over in our brains: The force of habit. In simple terms, habits are connections of neurons that work together that have been beneficial to us over time. The more we execute the habitual behavior, the stronger those neuronal connections in our brains become.

即使我们竭尽所能克服我们对决心的抵抗,但是我们的头脑中还有一个强大的力量在阻止我们去实现新年决心,这就是习惯。简单来说,习惯就是一起协作的神经元之间的联系,我们一直从这些联系中受益。我们的生活习惯越规律,这些神经元在我们大脑中的联系就越强大。

Through the course of human evolution, habits have been a really good thing; they are automatic thoughts or actions that have, for example, saved us from predators.

在人类的进化过程中,习惯对我们有很大的好处,它们是我们所拥有的不需要经过思考的想法和行动,帮助我们躲避狩猎者。

By understanding what’s going on in your brain, you have a better chance at controlling it.

只有明白了人类大脑的这一机制,你才能更好地控制自己。

内容来源:沪江英语

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