Sunday, October 13, 2013

Willpower Depletion (AKA "Over It")




I've recently embarked on two pretty substantial habit-changing activities:

1) Trying to work out regularly (I'm training for another half-marathon next weekend).

2) Putting myself back on a diet (Too much fatty fatty traveling this summer).

So, what happens when you engage in habit-changing is that your whole being embraces this positive activity for about four seconds before your brain moves right into spite mode. Or, uh, willpower depletion.

There are studies that tell us when we have to use our willpower to make a new, positive habit decision ("No. I will NOT have chocolate today!"), or even just the RIGHT decision ("OK. I'm getting off Facebook to do work now."), you tend to slack on other decisions ("OK, but f that, I'm not going to workout tonight. I'ma sit on the couch.") because it took a lot of willpower to do the right thing that one time.

There's a reason that we're told to only take on one giant habit change at a time. So, yay. Quit smoking. OR go on a diet plan. OR add 2 new workouts in your week. But don't try to change the world all at once. 

Unless you are the most consistently motivated, stick-to-it human on the planet, you might be setting yourself up to fail. 

Just be careful. 
The spite voices get really strong.

Here's a fun series of articles I read relating to this topic.

-C McG

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