Lisa G. Aspinwall, chair of the department of psychology, starts the new year with a New Year’s resolution assignment in one class she teaches, called “The Social Psychology of Health and Illness.”
“People set a goal and then write about what happens to it,” Aspinwall said. Most students abandon their resolution by about week three, and she actually can’t recall anyone who has been successful. When Aspinwall grades papers, she sees some common themes. “Usually it is some work stress or interpersonal stress that derails people,” Aspinwall said. “In the research literature, it is also that people don’t have a plan for what happens if they get knocked off track.” Read more.