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The Willpower Instinct

The Willpower Instinct

by Kelly McGonigal

I Will, I Won’t, I Want: What Willpower Is, and Why It Matters

To say no when you need to say no, and yes when you need to say yes, you need a third power: the ability to remember what you really want.

Giving a name to the impulsive/negative version of your mind will make it easier to identify your detrimental habits as soon...

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The Willpower Instinct: Your Body Was Born to Resist Cheesecake

When you are chronically stressed, your body continues to divert energy from long-term needs such as digestion, reproduction, healing injuries, and fighting off illnesses to respond to the constant stream of apparent emergencies.

Stress will cloud your mind and k...

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Too Tired To Resist: Why Self-Control Is Like a Muscle

If you try to control and change too many things at once, you may exhaust yourself completely.

We use self-control for many things all day long. For example, getting out of bed the first time the alarm rings instead of hitting the snooze button, skipping dessert ...

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License to Sin: Why Being Good Gives Us Permission To Be Bad

“Progress can be motivating, and even inspire future self-control, but only if you view your actions as evidence that you are committed to your goal.”

Rewards and punishments can help us stay on track with our goals, but they can also distract us from them. If rewarding or punishing yoursel...

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What the Hell: How Feeling Bad Leads to Giving In

We may think that guilt motivates us to correct our mistakes, but it’s just one more way that feeling bad leads to giving in.

Forgiving yourself for your failures is a step-by-step process. The first step will help you acknowledge what you are feeling, instead of...

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Putting the Future on Sale

All too often, we use our fancy brains not to make the most strategic decisions, but to give ourselves permission to act more irrationally.

All of us have experienced temptation for something counterproductive to our aims. For example, if you are on a strict diet...

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Infected! Why Willpower Is Contagious

Willpower failures might be contagious, but you can also catch self-control.

It is very easy to fall back into old, negative habits when we are around others indulging in the same ones. Reminding yourself of your goals, and surrounding yourself with others who sh...

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