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The Way You Think About Willpower Is Hurting You

Looking at willpower differently

The idea of ego depletion may have caught on because it satisfies a need to justify why we sometimes do things we know we shouldn't.

Instead of looking for an excuse, we should perhaps accept that we are fragile, distractible beings and cut ourselves some slack. Maybe our waning energy and wandering minds are trying to tell us something.

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The Way You Think About Willpower Is Hurting You

The Way You Think About Willpower Is Hurting You

https://www.nirandfar.com/the-way-you-think-about-willpower-is-hurting-you/

nirandfar.com

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Key Ideas

The Ego-Depletion myth

One of the most popular folk psychology may be the belief that self-control is somehow "spent."

The idea received support in the late 1990s and has been cited over three thousand times by academic peers.

The ego-depletion study error

A recent study that involved over 2,000 participants attempted to reproduce the experiment that led to the ego-depletion theory but found no evidence of ego depletion.

Scholars looked into a 2010 meta-analysis of nearly 200 experiments and discovered that the meta-analysis showed a "publication bias" in which studies that produced contradictory evidence were not included.

Willpower as an emotion

Willpower is not a finite resource but instead acts like an emotion. And it can be managed and used as such.

When we perform a difficult task, it is more helpful to believe a lack of motivation is temporary than to tell ourselves that it is all spent. The lack of willpower could be seen as providing insights about what we should and shouldn't be spending our time on.

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Ego depletion

The theory of 'ego depletion' refers to the idea that there is a connection between willpower and one's limited reserve of mental energy. 

However, evidence has been brought to support a...

A self-defeating state of mind

Having a self-defeating state of mind makes one believe that he or she is not able to achieve certain goals, by providing a logical reason to give up.

Willpower as emotion

According to the psychology professor Michael Inzlicht, the individual is able to control his or her willpower, taking into account current feelings and events. 

This is perceived as a decision-making tool that enables its owner to have full disposal of the mental energy and, therefore, to accomplish even the most challenging tasks.

Get More Sleep

Sleep deprivation makes you weak and tired. It has a direct impact on your focus and decision-making, whilst slowly exhausting your source of energy.

Sleep between 7.5 and 8....

Meditate

Meditation improves your attention, focus, self-awareness, and lower your stress levels.

Meditating for even just a few minutes every day will help you to clear your head while activating the areas of your brain related to decision-making and emotions.

Develop Good Habits

When we are stressed, we tend to unconsciously fall back on ingrained habits, whether they are helpful or harmful.

Creating good habits helps you get through stressful situations without affecting your willpower.

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Avoid willpower depletion

Building willpower is similar to building muscle. Continually exercising without giving yourself a break is not the best way to increase your strength or performance.

Do...

Use your imagination

Imagination can blunt the cravings that erode your self-control.

If you imagine lying on a peaceful beach, your body will respond by relaxing. If you imagine being late for an important meeting, your body will tense in response. Use this to your advantage in building willpower.

Think about something else

You can even use your imagination to keep unwanted thoughts away.

Every time that unwanted thought occupies your mind, consciously think about something pleasant instead.

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