When it comes to getting something done at the end of the day, how likely are you to actually succeed?
I can tell you right now that for me, it’s a little to zero chance that it will happen unless it really needs to be done. One of my main goals over the next few weeks is to step up my strength training… you know, finally saying goodbye to these t-rex arms.
However, it sounds like a muscle that I need to work on is my willpower muscle. Psychology experts actually say that willpower is a muscle, and because of this, can get tired from overuse. Interesting concept.
This study is an interesting proof point:
Some of the earliest evidence of this effect came from the lab of Roy Baumeister. In one early study, he brought subjects into a room filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. The table before them held a plate of the cookies and a bowl of radishes. Some subjects were asked to sample the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes. Afterward, they were given 30 minutes to complete a difficult geometric puzzle. Baumeister and his colleagues found that people who ate radishes (and therefore resisted the enticing cookies) gave up on the puzzle after about eight minutes, while the lucky cookie-eaters persevered for nearly 19 minutes, on average. Drawing on willpower to resist the cookies, it seemed, drained the subjects’ self-control for subsequent situations.
What does this mean? A few different things.
We all have routines in our lives, the things that we just do because it’s part of our day. Brushing our teeth, washing our face, etc., etc. This doesn’t take any willpower for us to use… it’s just part of our life. When the things that take willpower move into this realm, that means that we have more willpower to use for other situations.
But an even better idea: working on building up the willpower muscle. This takes time and energy… but it is well worth it. A big component of this is to be aware of when you are using willpower and know that decisions in the near future may not be as successful… so you may have to take yourself out of those situations. For instance, don’t bring home the extra cake from work because it otherwise would go in the trash. If you made it all day without eating a slice, even if you bring it home for your family, it will be much harder to say no.
Don’t they say that life is 10% the things that happen to you, and 90% how you react to those things? Working on building your willpower muscle makes it possible to react in line with what you view as successful, which means that you will always be armed to handle whatever life may throw your way.
Do you agree that willpower is like a muscle?
What’s something that you have on your “list” at the end of the day that you always seem to skip? Anyone else struggle with strength training?
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