I know there are people who actually think that we have collectively lost our willpower and self-discipline during the last decades. The reason that is usually offered is that life is too easy these days: we have grown soft and gained boatloads of weight! I disagree, but I think there’s a grain of truth to it.
But let’s put my philosophizing aside and concentrate on how to gain self control.
I have been thinking about self control a lot lately, because I’ve been reading Kelly McGonigal’s book Willpower Instinct. (It’s an excellent book – one that everyone should read.)
It’s a captivating read because it helps you to better understand your behaviour, but at the same time it teaches you things about self control and willpower you didn’t know. (In my opinion, that’s an ideal combination in a book).
According to Kelly McGonigal, self control is an instinct just like the fight-or-flight instinct (aka stress response) we are more familiar with. Instead of running away from a saber tooth tiger or consuming a piece of chocolate cake, it makes us pause and plan before we act. [Read more…]