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Inverse Daily

7 essential strategies help make New Year’s resolutions a reality

Plus: Black holes, a go-go.

Tony Duffy/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The first week of 2022 is almost over. How’s that goal to eat more kale going? Maybe you stick to your resolutions with the same energy you made them with, or maybe your dinner is starting to look a little too green. But no matter what your aspirations for this year are, science has a few tried-and-true ways to keep you happily chasing the dream, even if the dream really is more leafy greens. Shoot for the Moon! If you miss, you’ll land among the myriad space debris, as the saying goes.

Sometimes, it’s more profound to be honest about who you are and accept it. Eventually, as true honesty helps chip away at your bad habits and bad days, a happier, smarter you will emerge. I’m Ashley Bardhan, newsletter writer at Inverse, and these stories should at least help you with the second part of that goal.

This is an adapted version of the Inverse Daily newsletter for Thursday, January 6, 2022. Subscribe for free and earn rewards for reading every day in your inbox. ✉️

What are some of yours? Constantine Johnny/Moment/Getty Images

7 strategies for setting goals you can actually accomplish

I take a few long walks every week, but I’m trying to integrate long walks into my daily schedule. Curiously, if I said that to the scientists behind this study, they might actually believe I’ll make good on my personal promise.

Only 40 percent of people end up sticking to their New Year’s resolutions after six months, and about half of them peel off and return to old habits around the two-year mark. Those who make it through tend to succeed because their goals involve positive reinforcement (like feeling triumphant after exercise) instead of negative reinforcement (no dessert because I didn’t take a walk).

But that’s just one of the science-backed tips Inverse writer Jennifer Walter has for you. Research reveals other actionable, good advice, like taking baby steps to get your aspirations — and what to do when you fail.

Get the full list.

And don’t stop there: 4 science-backed strategies to finally achieve your resolutions

Scientists fill in gaps of first black hole image

Stare into the abyss, and the abyss might be a blur.

On April 10, 2019, 200 astronomers used a global network of telescopes to photograph a black hole called M87 — the first ever photo of a black hole. Producing the image was an unprecedented accomplishment, but the hot gas halo clouding the image left some information too hazy to make out.

Three years later, a different team of scientists is working to better understand the universe’s bleakest bodies. In a recent study, the team used the statistics technique Bayesian inference to better understand M87’s wavering light and shadow. In the end, they got a more complete “time and frequency-resolved reconstruction of the shadow of M87 over the entire observational cycle,” Inverse’s Passant Rabie writes, “But we still don’t understand some things about black holes.”

Get the full picture.

Even more holes: Watch stars orbit around the Milky Way’s black hole

Working the graveyard. NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

One kind of work interferes with metabolic health

Anyone who has ever worked a night shift can tell you that in the world’s early hours, everything changes. People are sleepier and stranger, lights are brighter and more blinding, and according to a new study, your metabolism gets wrecked.

Forcing your body to be nocturnal does damage to your circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal clock, which is also why eating at night prevents foods from being properly metabolized. The night shift has social elements, too.

“This biological reality intersects with demographics, like race, ethnic background, and class,” Katie MacBride writes. “People who work at night are more likely to have lower incomes and more likely to be from racial or ethnic minorities.”

After spending years watching my Bengali father sluggishly unlock our front door after 12 hours of nighttime cab driving, the links between class and health never become less upsetting. But if you have no choice but to work the graveyard, a study where 12 men and seven women lived in a laboratory for two weeks might offer a solution.

“First, the researchers assessed the participants’ baseline circadian rhythms under constant behavioral and environmental conditions,” writes MacBride. “To do this, the participants were kept awake for 32 hours in a dimly lit room, eating hourly snacks.”

The night shift sucks.

Your health doesn’t have to: 7 science-backed strategies for better mental health

You can ride this baby for miles... on your computer.Future Publishing/Future Publishing/Getty Images

The joys of virtual trucking

Trucking isn’t all cool hats and guzzling gas with the guys. Some of it is cool light-up keyboards and typing the word “guzzle” for the hell of it. Or at least it is for the avid players of TruckSim, a video game that has managed to turn the gritty, tiring real-world job of trucking into online meditation.

“As people around the world sought out ways to entertain and distract themselves from the global chaos of 2020,” writes contributor Mikaella Clements. “TruckSim — where players take on the role of a long-haul trucker and make deliveries — experienced a new resurgence.”

But the game has lasting appeal. Some dedicated players have even spent time hand-building a truck cab around their computer, the game is that worth losing yourself in.

At first glance, TruckSim isn’t as immediately gratifying as more traditional, fast-paced video games. There are no cute girls and no guns, just sunsets and the highway stretch. That quiet opportunity for contemplation is exactly what makes it so endlessly appealing to its players.

“It’s an imaginative universe, rich because it offers so little,” writes Clements.

Ready for the long haul.

If the computer isn’t enough: These are the best pickup trucks of 2022

Shuttlegate.Heritage Images/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

About the newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to newsletter@inverse.com.

  • On this day in history: On this day in 1972, President Richard Nixon granted $5.5 million (closer to $32 million today) to NASA for the U.S.’ first space shuttle program.
  • Song of the day: Space Song,” by Beach House.