The Simple Brain Trick That Will Transform Your Memory

Calendar alerts, notes, and even the old-fashioned string-around-the-finger work occasionally, but they don’t always provide the reminder at a time when you need it most, and they’re so common that they are easily overlooked or ignored. A new report published in Psychological Science finds that using reminders by association is a better method for remembering.

June 15, 2016
-Fast Company

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The Downside Of Making A Backup Plan – And What To Do About It

People often claim that “it pays to have a plan B” and “the best laid plans” often go awry. However, new Wharton research shows that merely thinking through a backup plan may actually cause people to exert less effort toward their primary goal, and consequently be less likely to achieve that goal they were striving for.

June 2, 2016
-Knowledge@Wharton

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How to Get Stubborn Items Crossed Off Your To-Do List

Most of us have stubborn items like these in our to-do apps, those tasks that never seem to get done, such as taking a suit to the dry cleaners or getting the dog groomed. Nothing bad happens when we don't do them, so we don't do them, even if our rational brains know they should get done. This article discusses several techniques to combat procrastination based on research by Professor Katherine Milkman, among others.

March 14, 2016
-PC Magazine

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Is It the Right Time for a Fresh Start?

The start of a new year or a new week, a birthday, or a holiday are dates that have something in common: they all stand out as being more meaningful than other days. These temporal landmarks generate “fresh start” feelings that can motivate us to meet virtuous goals, such as exercising regularly, according to research from the behavioral scientists Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman, and Jason Riis.

March 1, 2016
-Scientific American Mind

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Most Resolutions Fail Because They’re Not Important Enough

The arrival of a new year, with its clean slate, gives you another shot at getting things right, or at least making them better. My Wharton colleague Katy Milkman has conducted research on the “fresh start effect,” and it’s really real: January — or a birthday, anniversary, new month, or any personally meaningful marker of time — does actually create a stronger motivation to refresh yourself.

January 14, 2016
-Harvard Business Review

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Can Psychology Teach Us How To Stick To New Year's Resolutions?

Research out of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania suggests that people see New Year's Day, their birthdays and even the start of a new month or week as "temporal landmarks" — an imaginary line demarcating the old "inferior" self from a new and improved version. That explains why we often fail at resolutions — our new selves are usually not much better than the old ones. But it also suggests how we might stick to our resolutions — use more temporal landmarks to reach our goals.

January 1, 2016
-National Public Radio (Hidden Brain)

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The Science of Habit Formation Explains How to Make Goals that Stick

A Wharton study from 2013 found that interest in dieting increases at the start of a new week by 14.4% and the new year by 82.1%. The authors, Hengchen Dai, Katherine L. Milkman, Jason Riis, propose that we embrace lofty goals on artificial dates because it offers a new mental accounting period, allowing us to put our old, fat, lazy selves in the past tense and start anew with an improved version of ourselves.

December 29, 2015
-Quartz

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