Sticking to It

MELBOURNE – Sometimes we know the best thing to do, but fail to do it. New Year’s resolutions are often like that. We make resolutions because we know that it would be better for us to lose weight, or get fit, or spend more time with our children. The problem is that a resolution is generally easier to break than it is to keep. That is why, by the end of January, most people have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions.

John Stuart Mill, in his classic defense of liberty, argued that each individual is the best judge and guardian of his or her own interests. But recent research suggests that we can use some help.