Will Participating In A Study On New Year's Resolutions Help You Stick To Yours?

Photographed by Winnie Au.
New Year's resolutions, no matter how small, sexy, or practical, can seem nearly impossible to keep once you've started them. Only 10% of the women we polled claimed to have stuck to theirs permanently, but, of course, that doesn't mean the other 90% didn't want to keep them for that long, too. This month, we're teaming up with health podcast Only Human (produced by WNYC) to investigate what it takes for regular people to stick with their resolutions in a new study — and you can be among those encouraged to "Stick To It," to use the project's official title.

The project, designed by author and Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely, will focus on resolutions related to health and working out regularly, which happen to be the most cited type of resolution in our own survey. Dear reader, could this be opportunity knocking?

The study itself will have participants download an app that delivers different forms of workout motivation to them. This may not seem all that different from the Post-It note you leave out to remind yourself to floss, but Ariely and the Only Human team believe using an app could make a major difference in keeping your resolutions. While we can't reveal the various conditions that will be tested — this is science, people! — we can tell you that several versions of the app will be distributed to participants in order to see which type of motivation works best.

Personal changes, Ariely says, begin with "environmental changes." Most people, it's safe to assume, would say that their phones are definitely a part of their normal "environment" — going without them can even trigger separation anxiety in some. With that in mind, Ariely explains, "the best way we can now penetrate people’s environments and help them out is with their phone.” The decision to involve smartphones in a study about exercising routines is simultaneously subtle and kind of obvious, but it's one that could have major payoff.

Whether you're ready to make 2016 the year you stick with your fitness resolution, or if you're just interested to see how much you really pay attention to apps on your phone, this study could be perfect for you. Sign up to participate in the study here in time for the deadline, January 22. Results will be announced in a podcast episode — and right here on Refinery29 — in early March.
Photo: Courtesy of WNYC.
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Resolutions were made to be broken. This year, we want to help you do you — the best you can. Check out more right here.
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