Effort represents an investment of a fixed resource, like calories.
For this reason, running takes more effort than sitting. It takes more calories and strains muscles and joints. If you run non-stop, you will need to eat more to stay alive, and you will wear your muscles out.
However, effort as energy expenditure does not fully answer why we struggle to take action, as effortful tasks, such as playing tennis, is more fun than doing nothing.
Classic goal-setting theory says that you first set a goal, then you make a plan to achieve it and finally you start taking action. Recently, I've begun to question the wisdom of this approach. Now, I'm inclined to believe that, for certain types of efforts, you're better of setting goals in the middle.
Uncertain goals should be set in the middle. This will enable you to set the correct challenge level to maximize effort.
Some research shows that for very complex tasks, goal-setting can hinder effectiveness. This is because complex tasks are cognitively demanding in the beginning and can be frustrating because you can't perform adequately. To add on more tasks can impair your performance.
Recently, I wrote a piece about how to commit to the things you start. In it, I argued that most people are spectacularly bad at committing to things which don't have a culturally or socially-enforced system of accountability. This is unfortunate, because being successful in life inevitably depends on either doing things that weren't mandatory ...
Indulge now and pay the price later? Or wait a little and reap bigger rewards in the future? Many of life's biggest challenges come down to a simple trade off. Self-control isn't easy. But it is possible to make it easier. In this guide, I've teamed up with cognitive science PhD student Jakub Jilek for ...
People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.
They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.