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Let go of discipline and will power: Wait, what? Isn't keeping resolutions all about discipline and will power? As it turns out - no. Even though we tend to think that those who keep their self-commitments are enormously disciplined people who are better able than the rest of us to wrestle their unhealthy impulses to the ground, it turns out that those folks don't see themselves that way at all. They report being moved toward keeping their self-commitments by strong positive motivations: passion, hope, compassion, excitement, curiosity. A recent article in the NYT reinforces these findings - showing that, for instance, compassion and gratitude are strong motivators to change. In other words, people who consistently keep commitments are motivated by believing that it will give them something they really want — not because they're good at denying what they really want. A little example from my own life: People have often asked me, over the past decade, how I've found the "discipline" to write books. My response is always, "I love to write, and I love the feeling that I'm putting something out in the world that will be useful to people." Not willpower or discipline but rather enjoyment and hope have been my motivators. So, if you want to keep your resolutions, stop thinking in terms of giving something up — which is what we generally mean when we use the words "discipline" and "willpower" — and think about what you'll get from keeping your resolution.

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