New Year's resolutions are always tough to maintain. But is there a neurological secret to staying on top of your new goals?

HuffPost Live host Abby Huntsman spoke with Dr. Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia University and co-creator of the Marshmallow Test, to see how goal setters can stack the odds in their favor.

“The ability to wait for something involves a set of skills,” said Dr. Mischel. “And the most important thing that I learned from the experiments with the kids is what were the strategies that they used that really work well for them. The strategies that worked were the ones where they were able to shift their attention away from the thing that they wanted. That is, instead of looking at the goodies, because if they looked at the goodies, they thought about how yummy and chewy and sweet and nice it would be, and it was over. They couldn’t wait anymore.

“But if they distracted themselves, if they turned around in their chair, if they covered their eyes with their hands, if they sang little songs to themselves – remember these are four-year-old kids. If they began to play with their toes or pick their ears or engage in other little distractions of that kind, it became much easier for them.”

Watch the full discussion on HuffPost Live.