Success comes from self-control. If you're not getting done what you want to get done, your willpower may be the problem.
Obstacles like freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies have no sympathy.
One of the best uses of self-control is to build habits. Once you establish a habit, you reduce the decisions you need to make. [Getting married does too, but getting told what to do brings stress.]
Routinize The Routine
"You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make." — Barack ObamaThink about that. President Obama preserves his willpower by letting others make smaller decisions for him. That lets him focus on more important decisions. (see boring is productive, Harvard Business Review).
Steve Jobs kept inventing and updating products but not his clothing (Gizmodo). He bought 100 black turtlenecks (Gawker), which even removed the step of reordering.
I had more trouble dressing on Casual Fridays. The other days, I'd wear a suit with a white shirt.
"I got sick and tired of having to decide what kind of dessert I was going to have at the restaurant, so I decided it would always be chocolate ice cream, and never worried about it again." — Richard FeynmanBarack became President and Richard won a Nobel Prize. Your mileage may vary.
Little habits help too. I always put my keys in the same place, which eliminates the last moment panic of finding them. Caution: You don't want to become eccentric.
The Radish ExperimentWillpower is also essential for change. Dan Heath explains in this video.
Recent research shows that our willpower is limited and gets exhausted easily. You replenish willpower with glucose. Willpower is like a muscle that you can strengthen without sugary drinks. Building habits is one way.
Learn MoreTo get better results, get and give these books: (Amazon, non-affiliate links)
- The Willpower Instinct: how self-control works, why it matters and what you can do to get more of it by Kelly McGonigal. Practical tips. You're getting a week by week course.
- Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. This book is more theoretical.
- Switch: how to change things when change is hard by Chip and Dan Heath. Filled with examples of how to change others too.
Best wishes to you and yours during the holidays.
May 2013 be the best year you've seen!
- Reach your goals with Pick Four from Zig Ziglar and Seth Godin
- Conserve your willpower. It runs out. (Wired, Oct 2012)
- The science of willpower (Kelly McGonigal, IDEA Fit, Jun 2008)
- All about self-control (Psychology Today) [many links]
- Why willpower matters (The Guardian, Feb 2012)
- Stanford marshmallow experiment (Wikipedia)
- Steve Jobs always dressed exactly the same. Here’s who else does too. (Forbes, Oct 2012)
- 2011 final post: The most special time of year
- 2010 final post: Got 59 seconds for your gift list?
- 2009 final post: The gift of networking
- 2008 final post: Christmas in the emergency ward
- 2007 final post: Give your greatest gift
- image courtesy of Kelly Kramer
direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes
PS Mind those calories!