We all know people who are annoyingly healthy.
They hit the gym like clockwork … and they’re excited about it! They eat nothing but the healthiest foods, and even prepare all their carefully-measured meals at the beginning of the week. And you can always count on them to share their encyclopedic knowledge of the best supplements.
Where do they get this amazing willpower?
Well, as we examined last week, it’s likely not willpower. These people are intrinsically-motivated to be healthy, which is why it’s appears so effortless for them.
You, on the other hand, are intrinsically motivated to play marathon sessions of World of Warcraft. Any yet, you know you need to get off the couch and take care of yourself … even when you don’t want to.
So, are we back to willpower? Not really … unless you’re looking to fail.
Joel Minden is a clinical psychologist specializing in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The good doctor decided to turn the tables on himself to lose the weight he had accumulated over the years.
Minden wasn’t intrinsically motivated to eat better and work out, so he devised “tricks” that would either create logical barriers to undesirable behavior, or eliminate barriers to desirable behavior.
One thing he did to eliminate night-time snacking was to floss his teeth early in the evening. He didn’t want to floss again, so he didn’t eat.
In the mornings, he would often get lost in email and social media, which made him miss the gym. So he turned his computer completely off at night, and the thought of waiting for the computer to boot up in the morning got him to head straight to the gym instead.
His process is similar to the WOOP procedure from last week, except for the “tricks” you implement to create or eliminate barriers:
- Identify the behavior you wish to change.
- If you’re not intrinsically motivated to change, it may be easier to manipulate your environment or change other behaviors to make the process easier.
- To decrease a problem behavior, create a logical barrier.
- To increase a desirable behavior, identify the current obstacles, and eliminate them.
- Give yourself credit for changing your behavior without having to rely on self-control or willpower.
- Enjoy the benefits of better health.
When it comes down to it, our actions define who we are. How you motivate yourself to act can be your little secret.
Shrinking Fast and Slow
Eating healthy, staying active and cutting calories are proven ways to lose weight, but they are part of a gradual process that’s not always easy. So, is it better to lose weight at a more rapid pace?
My Brain Made Me Do It
Forget willpower: Brain signals drive what, how, and when we eat. If you’re eating too much, here’s how to take back control.
Hard Drive Heaven
I’m not sure I’d want my brain uploaded into a computer even if it becomes possible. Still, this is a fascinating topic, and gives a whole new meaning to longevity.
Amy Chua (of Tiger Mother fame) proposes that a specific combination of psychological traits can explain success, and that people from certain groups are more likely to possess them. What does science say?
Just like positive thinking alone if worthless, one cannot create a positive workplace simply my mandating it. What actually works?
In today’s highly competitive business environment, we all need to be in constant learning mode. No one can afford to take a vacation from developing new skills, especially as economic and political uncertainty threaten businesses and job stability and make future career prospects unclear
By conservative estimates, about 20 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders and even more will experience anxiety attacks at some point in their lives. But our brains have always been driven by fear to some extent, according to neuroscientist Dean Burnett.
We’re faced with difficult choices every day. Now, scientists have a clearer understanding of how our brains make the tough calls — and how they make us smarter as a result.
A good walk can clear your head, push you into discomfort, and help you appreciate the majesty of life in a way that you rarely do while at home. I can’t wait to go on another today.
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