Tweak ’em, don’t freak ’em

A new study from the British Economic and Social Research Council and reported today in the Washington Post finds that fear and guilt are actually poor motivators when it comes to getting people to change unhealthy habits.

The idea seems to be that fear and guilt may do nothing more than produce more fear and guilt — and, worse, defeatism. A far more effective approach, the researchers say, is to give people concrete suggestions on how to change their behavior and confidence that they can do things like quit smoking or start a daily exercise program.

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