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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Why willpower is overrated

Brian Resnick
vox.com
Originally published January 15, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

What we can learn from people who are good at self-control

So who are these people who are rarely tested by temptations? They’re doing something right. Recent research suggests a few lessons we can draw from them.

1) People who are better at self-control actually enjoy the activities some of us resist — like eating healthy, studying, or exercising.

So engaging in these activities isn’t a chore for them. It’s fun.

“‘Want to’ goals are more likely to be obtained than ‘have to’ goals,” Milyavskaya said in an interview last year. “Want-to goals lead to experiences of fewer temptations. It’s easier to pursue those goals. It feels more effortless.”

If you’re running because you “have to” get in shape but find running to be a miserable activity, you’re probably not going to keep it up. An activity you like is more likely to be repeated than an activity you hate.

2) People who are good at self-control have learned better habits.

In 2015, psychologists Brian Galla and Angela Duckworth published a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finding across six studies and more than 2,000 participants that people who are good at self-control also tend to have good habits — like exercising regularly, eating healthy, sleeping well, and studying.

“People who are good at self-control … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place,” Galla tells me. And structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity, like running or meditating, at the same time each day have an easier time accomplishing their goals, he says — not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier.

The article is here.
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