Why Willpower Is Overrated
The secret to resisting temptation? It’s all about attitude
The notion of willpower as a virtue is as old as Adam and Eve. But some surprising results have emerged from recent research. The people who are the best at willpower—the ones who most readily agreed to statements like, “I’m good at resisting temptations,” reported fewer temptations to begin with. That’s not willpower; that’s attitude.
4 Ways to Improve Your Attitude
1. Accentuate the positive. – If you see your daily goals in a negative light, you will find endless reasons to avoid them. Instead, look for the reward in what you are doing.
Example: physical activity
Negative: I have to get off this couch?
Positive: I’m stronger and have a lot more energy.
2. Make good habits your routine. – Sometimes, a simple change in routine can change your life.
Example: morning routine
Negative: Hit the snooze button three times, trip over the dog while rushing out of the house to grab a donut and double-double on the drive to work.
Positive: Get up early, eat a healthy breakfast, and walk the dog before you leave for work.
3. Remove temptation. – You can’t be distracted by something that isn’t there.
Example: social media
Negative: Constantly checking social media, wasting your own time and the time of those around you.
Positive: Cancel your social media alerts so you are not interrupted. Better still, delete the apps from your phone, and limit the number of times per day you check in.
4. Reward yourself. – Incentives can work wonders, so create a contract with yourself.
Example: yard work
Negative: I hate mowing the lawn.
Positive: Every time I cut the grass, I can cut 15 minutes from my next workout.
Sources: vox.com, inc.com, prevention.com, Psychology Today