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Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

How To Make Effective Changes in The New Year

It’s that time of the year when we resolve to drink less, exercise more, save money, etc.

It may feel really good to intend to do “better” in the new year, but as Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain in this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, real change takes planning and hard work.

Why is that? It turns out we have no idea why we do most of the things we do on a daily basis. And as long as our behaviors are driven by factors that operate below our conscious awareness, we may not know how to change.

As the Two Guys point out, effective change can happen when we start from the outside in. When we look at our environments first we can make space and cultivate relationships that help us become best selves.

Of course there are a lot of factors that come into play when you look at changing your environment and behavior, but you’re not alone. One way to change your behavior is to document what you do on a daily basis. Markman offers some useful tools to help you on your path to change in his new book Smart Change(out January 7th). Also you can download the Smart Change Journal here, which can provide some helpful guidance.

Speaking of self-control and willpower, we found this cool discussion on the cutting room floor about ego depletion that you might want to check out!

At the end of a long, particularly stressful day, you might be ready to "snap" or have a few more drinks then normal. Why is that? Some studies suggest it's because during times of stress energy is sucked from the parts of our brains that are responsible for controlling our behaviors.

In this state of "ego depletion" we simply don't have energy to make good decisions. In this outtake from Two Guys on Your Head, Art and Bob discuss studies on ego depletion and the brain, and some ways we can replenish areas of the brain that are taxed during times of stress.

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