2017-02-25

locaprisa: (Default)
2017-02-25 10:46 am
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The myth of self-control (fom VOX)

Human beings are horrible at resisting temptation.
Kentaro Fujita, a psychologist who studies self-control at the Ohio State University, says.
...
Many of us assume that if we want to make big changes in our lives, we have to sweat for it.
 
But if, for example, the change is to eat fewer sweets, and then you find yourself in front of a pile of cookies, researchers say the pile of cookies has already won.
“Our prototypical model of self-control is angel on one side and devil on the other, and they battle it out,” Fujita says. “We tend to think of people with strong willpower as people who are able to fight this battle effectively. Actually, the people who are really good at self-control never have these battles in the first place.”
...
The people who said they excel at self-control were hardly using it at all.

Psychologists Milyavskaya and Michael Inzlicht recently confirmed and expanded on this idea. In their study, they monitored 159 students at McGill University in Canada in a similar manner for a week.
...
“There’s a strong assumption still that exerting self-control is beneficial,” [Marina] Milyavskaya, a professor at Carleton University, tells me. “And we’re showing in the long term, it’s not.”

What we can learn from people who are good at self-control

1) People who are better at self-control actually enjoy the activities some of us resist — like eating healthy, studying, or exercising.
 
So engaging in these activities isn’t a chore for them. It’s fun.
 
“‘Want-to’ goals are more likely to be obtained than ‘have-to’ goals,” Milyavskaya says. “Want-to goals lead to experiences of fewer temptations. It’s easier to pursue those goals. It feels more effortless.”
 
2) People who are good at self-control have learned better habits
 
In 2015, psychologists Brian Galla and Angela Duckworth published a paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finding across six studies and more than 2,000 participants that people who are good at self-control also tend to have good habits — like exercising regularly, eating healthy, sleeping well, and studying.
 
“People who are good at self-control … seem to be structuring their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place,” Galla tells me. And structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity — like running or meditating — at the same time each day have an easier time accomplishing their goals, he says. Not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier.
 
A trick to wake up more quickly in the morning is to set the alarm on the other side of the room. That’s not in-the-moment willpower at play. It’s planning.
 
This theory harks back to one of the classic studies on self-control: Walter Mischel’s “marshmallow test,” conducted in the 1960s and ’70s. In these tests, kids were told they could either eat one marshmallow sitting in front of them immediately or eat two later. The ability to resist was found to correlate with all sorts of positive life outcomes, like SAT scores and BMIs. But the kids who were best at the test weren’t necessarily intrinsically better at resisting temptation. They might have been employing a critical strategy.
 
“Mischel has consistently found that the crucial factor in delaying gratification is the ability to change your perception of the object or action you want to resist,” the New Yorker reported in 2014. That means kids who avoided eating the first marshmallow would find ways not to look at the candy, or imagine it as something else.
 
“The really good dieter wouldn’t buy a cupcake,” Fujita explains. “They wouldn’t have passed in front of a bakery; when they saw the cupcake, they would have figured out a way to say yuck instead of yum; they might have an automatic reaction of moving away instead of moving close.”
 
3) Some people just experience fewer temptations
 
Our dispositions are determined in part by our genetics. Some people are hungrier than others. Some people love gambling and shopping. People high in conscientiousness — a personality trait largely set by genetics — tend to be more vigilant students and tend to be healthier. When it comes to self-control, they won the genetic lottery.
 
4) It’s easier to have self-control when you’re wealthy
 
When Mischel’s marshmallow test is repeated on poorer kids, there’s a clear trend: They perform worse, and appear less able to resist the treat in front of them.
 
But there’s a good reason for this. As University of Oregon neuroscientist Elliot Berkman argues, people who grow up in poverty are more likely to focus on immediate rewards than long-term rewards. Because when you’re poor, the future is less certain.
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Berkman argues that the term “self-control” ought to be abolished altogether. “It’s no different than any other decision making,” he says.

In Berkman’s lab, he’s testing out an idea called “motivational boost.” Participants write essays explaining how their goals (like losing weight) fit into their core values. Berkman will periodically text study participants to remind them why their goals matter, which may increase motivation. “We are still gathering data, but I cannot say yet whether it works or not,” he says.
 
Another intriguing idea is called “temptation bundling,” in which people make activities more enjoyable by adding a fun component to them. One paper showed that participants were more likely to work out when they could listen to an audio copy of The Hunger Games while at the gym.
by Brian Resnick
source: http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/11/3/13486940/self-control-psychology-myth
locaprisa: (Default)
2017-02-25 02:17 pm
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on journaling

goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.
 
Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.
 
http://jamesclear.com/goals-systems

Only when you record the situation and then re-examine it from a third-person perspective does the solution become clear. Sometimes the solution is so obvious that you’re shocked you didn’t see it sooner.

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2004/10/journaling-as-a-problem-solving-tool/

Getting Ready to Write
Find a time and place where you won’t be disturbed. Ideally, pick a time at the end of your workday or before you go to bed.
 
Promise yourself that you will write for a minimum of 15 minutes a day for at least 3 or 4 consecutive days.
 
Once you begin writing, write continuously. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. If you run out of things to write about, just repeat what you have already written.
 
You can write longhand or you can type on a computer. If you are unable to write, you can also talk into a tape recorder.
 
You can write about the same thing on all 3-4 days of writing or you can write about something different each day. It is entirely up to you.
 
What to Write About
Something that you are thinking or worrying about too much
Something that you are dreaming about
Something that you feel is affecting your life in an unhealthy way
Something that you have been avoiding for days, weeks, or years
 
In our research, we generally give people the following instructions for writing:
Over the next four days, I want you to write about your deepest emotions and thoughts about the most upsetting experience in your life. Really let go and explore your feelings and thoughts about it. In your writing, you might tie this experience to your childhood, your relationship with your parents, people you have loved or love now, or even your career. How is this experience related to who you would like to become, who you have been in the past, or who you are now?
 
Many people have not had a single traumatic experience but all of us have had major conflicts or stressors in our lives and you can write about them as well. You can write about the same issue every day or a series of different issues. Whatever you choose to write about, however, it is critical that you really let go and explore your very deepest emotions and thoughts.
 
Warning: Many people report that after writing, they sometimes feel somewhat sad or depressed. Like seeing a sad movie, this typically goes away in a couple of hours. If you find that you are getting extremely upset about a writing topic, simply stop writing or change topics.
 
source: https://liberalarts.utexas.edu/psychology/faculty/pennebak#writing-health
James W Pennebaker
Professor — Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin