Almost everyone makes New Year resolutions, which is a testament to the strength of our desire to achieve positive personal change. And the research on precisely what we resolve to change is very revealing. For example, a substantial proportion of resolutions involve losing weight, getting fitter and giving up smoking, and many of these commitments are made five years in a row - with the vast majority of people failing to keep to them by June. Another paradox at the heart of our desire for personal improvement relates to the multi-billion-pound diet industry. If diets work, how come we need so many - and new ones all the time? The psychological evidence shows that we persist in buying diet books and following fitness fads because we have been sold the idea that the new approach contains the secret ingredient to explain exactly why we've always falled in the past. In truth, the missing ingredient in all our attempts to achieve change is not a chemical or an exercise regime but a frame of mind: motivation is the key. Indeed, motivation explains why some people manage to achieve the impossible.
It lies at the heart of the billionaire's success, the Olympic athlete's record and the Oscar-winner's award. And more than any other variable - attractiveness, IQ, financial resources - motivation makes the difference between success and failure. The question is, how exactly do we motivate ourselves to achieve that elusive dream? In this new book, the award-winning author and psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud aims to answer this question and many more as he investigates the latest psychological research on motivation. And he comes up with some surprising conclusions. For example, did you know that there is no such thing as will power; that those who eventually succeed in breaking a bad habit or achieve their goals, act as if will power doesn't exist? This attitude lies at the heart of their success. The Motivated Mind offers a fresh and inspiring approach to understanding the key to success.
Dr Persaud is a consultant psychiatrist working in the British National Health Service at the world-famous Maudsley Hospital in south London, and an honorary senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. Uniquely for a doctor, he also holds a first-class honours degree in psychology from University College London, which recently awarded him the title of Fellow in recognition of his ground-breaking work in psychiatry. Other medical awards and honours include the prestigious Royal College of Psychiatrists' Research Prize and Medal, the Denis Hill Prize and the Osler Medal. Raj Persaud is the author of Staying Sane, The Motivated Mind and From the Edge of the Couch and his work has been published in academic medical journals, including the British Medical Journal. He writes regularly for the national press and hosts BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind - the only broadcast series dedicated specifically to reporting on academic psychology and psychiatry. He also appears regularly on television programmes such as Question Time, Newsnight and Tomorrow's World. In a recent poll of members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists published in the Independent on Sunday newspaper, he was voted one of the top ten psychiatrists in the UK. He is married to an eye surgeon, has a son and a daughter, and lives in London.