Good Life Project

How Thinking Kills Willpower (and what to do about it)

March 04, 2016

There's a somewhat ironic relationship between willpower and thinking. They don't play nicely with each other.The more you tax your brain with what we'd call a "cognitive load," the more your ability to regulate your behaviors craters.So, if you're working on a complex problem under deadline or trying to innovate or create, there's a good chance that, while you're in that hyper-thinking, innovating, creating mode, you'll be more susceptible to temptation. Big time!And, interestingly, even the slightest increase in demand for thinking and working memory can shut down your willpower plant. As we'll talk about in today's GLP Riff, the difference between having to hold two or seven numbers in your memory can be the difference between making healthy choices or chowing down on cake!Most people deal with this by just trying to "be a better person" and "digging deeper" to resist the siren call of the cookie jar.But, there's another approach that is far more likely to keep you on the right track. It's about altering your environment. That's what we're talking about on today's short and sweet Good Life Project Riff.

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