Letting the slob side of your personality off the leash when you get home at the end of the day is not because your will-power bank has been exhausted.
International researchers says it’s because priorities shift with the move from a work environment to the comfort of home.
And when tired, people work less for things they feel obliged to do and work more for things they want to do.
Writing in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, the authors say the trick to fighting that couch potato urge is to find pleasure in productive activities.
”Although self-control is harder for people in these moments of fatigue; it’s not that people cannot control themselves, it’s that they don’t feel like controlling themselves,” said Michael Inzlicht of the University of Toronto Scarborough.
The dominant view in psychology has been that self-control is a limited resource like energy. Under that view, acts of restraint ultimately exhaust the supply until we are left powerless to control ourselves.
However, Inzlicht’s research team challenges this view.
Self-control might be boosted by changing the way we relate to our goals, Inzlicht says.
Try converting all of those ‘have-tos’ into ‘want-tos’.
When that fails, plan for unavoidable ups and downs. Steer clear of temptations when energy levels are low. Take a mental break and refresh.
Breaks and vacations actually boost productivity. “Some smart companies already realise this,” Inzlicht said.
In our personal lives, all of this may be more easily said than done “but it is not impossible,” he said.
”If someone wants to eat healthier, they should think of the enjoyment that they can get from eating delicious, yet healthy, foods; in contrast, they should probably not frame their eating goal as something they feel obliged to do because their doctor or spouse is trying to convince them to do so.
The key is finding a way to want and like the goal that you are chasing. Some people do this naturally – think of the person who loves to run and jogs as a way to relax or take a break.”
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