Not only are most of us over-relying on willpower, it turns out we’re using it wrong.
This article draws on research by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D, author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress, discussing how to put our willpower instinct to better use.
One example: giving yourself congratulations on “good” behavior can lead to what’s known as “moral licensing” thus justifying future “bad” behavior.
What you should do instead, says McGonigal, is label your behavior as either getting you closer or further away from what you really want. Instead of focusing on the progress you’ve made by being “good,” focus on how committed you are to your goal, and remember the why behind it. Any time you catch the voice in your head berating yourself for being “bad,” remind yourself that you are only increasing the likelihood that you will repeat this undesirable behavior.