The myth of self-control
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So we should stop worshiping self-control and start thinking about diluting the power of temptation. Because resisting temptation either only has short-term gains or can be an outright failure.
Studies have shown that people that are really good at achieving their goals are not the ones that put more effort into exerting self-control in the face of temptations, but the ones that experience fewer temptations to start with.
It’s like any decision. And to improve the decision, we need to improve the environment and give people the skills needed to avoid temptations in the first place.
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... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.
A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.
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It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.
For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...
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.
Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.
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We all possess the ability to develop self-control.
Instead of immediately responding to impulses, we can plan and evaluate our actions beforehand.
Self-control is a key component of emotional intelligence, yet in a study where two million people were asked to rank order their strengths in 24 different skills, self-control ended up in t...
Self-control is not a quality that remains stable throughout a person’s life, similar to IQ or personality.
A person’s level of self-control tends to wax and to wane over the cou...
It's the ability to do something that helps you in the long-term, instead of something that might satisfy your immediate desires.
But for most of the people, immediate...
We vary widely in terms of what tempts us.
If you take the time to look into your habits and biases, you can recognize the problems that you need to work on. Once you understand the sources of your self-control issues, you can begin directing the right resources toward fixing them.
Take a future-oriented approach to your day, such as planning breaks and the time slots for checking emails in advance.
If you can refrain from resigning to your urges before the time you’ve assigned for yourself, you may achieve a greater hold on your overall self-control.
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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.
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.
Every time that unwanted thought occupies your mind, consciously think about something pleasant instead.
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It’s not about having the best fitness program, but about having one that’s good enough, eating less junk food and making sure you...
Successful dieters usually declare certain foods to be completely out of bounds, or allowed only during occasional designated cheat meals, rather than expecting themselves to eat everything in moderation.
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Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis
Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower.
You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.
...to familiar environmental cues.
They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.
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New Year Resolutions typically show a low success rate, as 10% of them actually succeed.
The reason for this low rate might be our basic instincts and temptations: people give into te...
Our emotions motivate us more than willpower.
If we are generous, fair and co-operative, we have an invaluable tool to motivate us to complete our goals. If we cultivate good character, compassion, and honesty, it leads to a better chance of success in our endeavors.