The science of setting goals

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How to make New Year’s resolutions that actually work out this time.

It’s the time of year when optimism strikes anew and we think to ourselves: our New Year’s resolutions will totally work out this time. Never mind that we abandoned them by Valentine’s Day last year. And the year before. And, well, you know the drill.

But what if this year really could be different?

There’s a science to setting goals. The problem is that it often stays in the ivory tower or gets muddled with misinformation. We called up Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk: How to make stress your friend), a psychologist at Stanford University, and asked her about the best way to set and accomplish a goal, scientifically speaking. Below, she shares four research-backed tips to help you craft and carry out successful goals.

Choose a goal that matters, not just an easy win.

Our brains are wired to love rewards, so…

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9 TED Talks to inspire smart conversation

should watch them

TED Blog

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No one really wants to talk about the weather. Inspired by TED Talks, here are some questions to start a better conversation in any situation.

“So, what’s your favorite word?”

Who to ask: The chatty person who’s sharing an outlet with you at the coffee shop
The basic idea: Dictionaries don’t compile themselves — linguistic sleuths called lexicographers do — and in order to keep the modern dictionary accurate and dynamic, they need be open to new words and formats. They also need your help.
Fun facts you’ll learn: How lexicography is like archaeology; why there’s no such thing as a “bad” word; and the definition of “erinaceous” (hint: it involves hedgehogs). Scoot to 3:58 for that.

“If you could choose a sixth sense, what would it be?”

When to ask: Around the dinner table, just before dessert
The basic idea: Human perception is limited to information our five senses are able…

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