Will power is scarce. It really is.
Please, read this article careful as it might be the most important fact you learn at this time of year when most of us set New Year Resolutions.
According to a fascinating experiment published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology”, one act of self-control depletes your ability to have self-control in another unrelated area. For example, when someone was told not to eat chocolates sitting right in front of them, their
persistence in puzzle solving went down considerably. Allow this to soak in; just staying away from chocolate hurts your performance in all other tasks!
A similar experiment simply asked people to suppress an emotional reaction to a movie. These people had problems solving a solvable anagram while the group who watched the movie without restrictions solved it without problems.
Both studies show that when we are asked to consciously use our “will power” we struggle in all other areas. Actually, we are really only able to use our will power (conscious self regulation) on one thing at a time. So if you are multi-tasking don’t be surprised if not all tasks are finished with the same excellence. If you focus your attention on some other act of self control… You can kiss whatever you were doing goodbye.
This is the overwhelming reason why willpower only works in the short term. You only have the conscious resources to exhibit willpower on ONE (or at the most two) fronts at one time.
This is why it is so hard to stay disciplined with healthy eating habits and exercise for instance.
Source 1: RE Baumeister, E Bratslavsky, M Muraven, and DM Tice. “Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited
Resource” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 74, 1998.
Source 2: Moraven, M., Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). “Self-control as a limited resource
Source 3: Zimmerman, M. (1989). “The nervous system in the context of information theory.” In R. F. Schmidt & G. Thews (eds.), Human Physiology, pp. 166-173. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.
Your conscious mind is only able to process approximately 50 bits of information a second, while your unconscious mind processes approximately 1,2 million bits per second.
That means your unconscious mind processes information THOUSANDS OF TIMES FASTER than your conscious mind.
Much of the time, your conscious mind is actually the bottleneck towards effecting true change, as its main role is getting you through the day in the here and now AND setting long term goals. Researchers call this “Executive Control.”
So the trick is to train your subconscious mind to think better, more positive and supportive thoughts. Wouldn’t it be nice if you naturally were propelled forward, towards living your dreams without having to use willpower?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you automatically had the behaviors you have always wanted to have; the behaviors that you need to actually get you where you want to go?
Well, strange as it seems, all you need to do is learn to use even a small part of your subconscious by starting to allow only supportive thoughts into your consciousness. As in all else the choice is yours. I share several techniques with you in my book “To be or not to be – the choice is YOURS!”