When we make promises to ourselves, what makes the difference between success and failure? In this article by the Daily Utah Chronicle, Dr. Lisa Aspinwall looks at New Year's resolutions, which are typically abandoned rather than completed, to find the answer.
Usually, she says, it is emergent stress that derails the plan momentarily, and people don't have a plan for what to do once they've gone off track. That's the point when most people give up rather than start over. To combat this effect, decision-makers can plan ahead of time for what course of action they will take when the initial plan goes awry.