December 22, 2012


freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies
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 Obama
Think 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.The evolution of Steve Jobs' clothing (click to read on Gizmodo)
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 Feynman
Barack 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 Experiment

Willpower 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 More

To get better results, get and give these books: (Amazon, non-affiliate links)
This is the final post of 2012 — just in time for your New Years Resolutions.

Best wishes to you and yours during the holidays.
May 2013 be the best year you've seen!


Podcast 200

direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes

PS Mind those calories!

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