We’re wired in a way that makes it difficult for us to fight temptations. If we want to quit a bad habit, we try to exert self-control and force ourselves to stop it. But it rarely works.
It’s just not in our nature to resist something we perceive as enjoyable or something that can give us a short burst of pleasure (even when we know that long-term effects won’t be positive).
Willpower is not connected to a limited reserve of mental energy that we should carefully spend if we want to accomplish our goals, but it might be a sign of a deeper internal struggle.
Try to reexamine your core values and motivations, reframe your thoughts and goals, and instead of fighting temptations, create an environment where you won’t even have to.
Make difficult activities more enjoyable by adding a fun component to them, plan ahead to avoid though decisions, improve your habits little by little, and don’t feel bad when you eventually fall to temptation.
If you need a lot of self-control and willpower to do something, you might want to explore the underlying reasons and act upon these.
There’s a strong assumption still that exerting self-control is beneficial … and we’re showing in the long term, it’s not.
Countless books and blogs offer ways to “boost self-control,” or even to “meditate your way to more willpower,” but what’s not widely recognized is that new research has shown some of the ideas underlying these messages to be inaccurate.
By listening to our lack of willpower as we would an emotion—as a helpful decision-making assistant working in concert with our logical capabilities—we can find new paths that may not require us to do things we fundamentally don’t want to do.
Until Next Week
Don’t try to fight temptations, plan ahead and avoid them altogether.