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How to easily increase willpower and improve self-control:

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Interview with Roy Baumeister, the top researcher on the subject of willpower.

Thanks Eric, I learned a lot from this article.

He makes a great case for more life automation:

Making choices depletes willpower and afterward your self-control is impaired. If you have people exert self-control and deplete their willpower and later on have them make decisions, then their decision-making is of poor quality. They’re more willing to try to dodge the decision, postpone it, or skip it. They go with very simple strategies like the status quo. They pick things that are more indulgent. They don’t compromise. A compromise is a mentally complex decision. When they’re depleted from exerting self-control, they tend to simplify the task and make a very simplistic sort of decision. Also, there are some kinds of irrational bias that creep into the decision process more if people are depleted.

One thing you can do to take the load off is to make fewer decisions. President Obama, or more likely somebody on his staff, read about our decision fatigue research. Obama decided he was just going to wear blue or gray suits. He said, “I don’t want to waste any time deciding what to wear or what to eat. I have difficult decisions to make.” It’s a very good application of our strategy. The more you follow a routine, plan in advance, or operate on the basis of habit, the less moment-to-moment strain there is, and the less demand for willpower.

The whole article is excellent:

What’s The Easiest Way To Increase Willpower When You’re Tapped Out?

Roy Baumeister:

Just eat something. In the lab we use sugary snacks, which I don’t really recommend people use in their own life because they’re not that good for you. We use it in the lab because we need something that works really fast and sugar gives you a quick burst of energy. Unfortunately, it’s then followed by a quick crash. Your metabolic energy goes up and then it comes down again in a big way. Eat something, like protein, that your body will burn over a longer period of time.

Rest is good. In general, self-control problems and difficulties seem to show up with people who don’t get enough sleep. The longer people have been awake, the more self-control problems happen. Most things go bad in the evening. Diets are broken at the evening snack, not at breakfast or in the middle of the morning. Impulsive crimes are mostly committed after midnight.

This is why eating right and sleeping enough is important.

Read the whole article:

You can improve your self-control, and that is another way of saying you can improve your emotional intelligence (self-control is  one of the fundamental pillars of emotional intelligence).

Psychology has just really found two traits that predict success across a broad range of occupations, and activities. One is intelligence, and the other is self-control. The key difference to me is that it’s very difficult to improve intelligence. There were a variety of strategies tried with Head Start and things like that. Those don’t really seem to produce any lasting gains in intelligence. Whereas self-control can be improved, even in adulthood. This is a great avenue by which psychology can maybe help people and make a positive difference in lots of people’s lives. 

Read more:

I'm gonna have to put that on the "to practice" list.

How do you practice that? Would this be one way?

5 Ways to Gain Better Self Control. | The Healthy Apron

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