Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Pursuing our New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year is almost one month old. How about your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you still pursuing them or have you given up already and fallen back into your old habits? If you have fallen back into your old habits, are you asking yourself how you could keep exercising more, maintaining a healthy diet, or pursuing your career goals by conquering your weaker self?

In a TED Talk, Dan Ariely outlines what all of us are familiar with: when we have to do something bad or deny ourselves something good in the present in order to achieve something good in the future, we are often unable to control our impulses. This is natural. However, he also explains how we can overcome these impulses: by reward substitution (substitute a reward in the future with a reward in the present) or self-control contrast (make yourself able to not be tempted).

Thus, there are quite a few aides we can use for controlling our impulses and have more self-control. Be it a special alarm clock that makes us get up in the morning, some software that prevents us from surfing web pages we are not supposed to surf… self-control is something we can achieve and it will help us exercise, lose weight, pursue our career goals, and achieve many other things that require our future self to be in control!

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