As a human being, it’s normal that we have our desires and goals to achieve at different stages of our life
To achieve these goals, we rely on our instinct and determination to pull us through and get it done.
However, we often find ourselves giving up before we are able to achieve these goals or sometimes, before we even start!
This is mainly because of our lack of willpower. This phenomena is also known as ego depletion.
Here is what you need to know about ego depletion
Ego depletion was studied by University of Florida’s Professor Roy Baumeister in the 1990s. In an experiment, two groups of people were deprived of food for several hours. Later, they were each exposed to the sight and scent of cookies and different types of candy.
One group was allowed to pig out; the other was asked to resist temptation, and eat radishes instead. When they were both given (unsolvable) puzzles later, the group that ate radishes quit much faster than the group that was allowed to indulge.
This is one example of ego depletion: we all have a limited store of willpower, which is depleted every time we must exert self-control.
Another simple example: We all tend to make better decisions in the morning, such as choosing a dress or breakfast
In the evening, we tend to loosen up when it comes to choices because we have exhausted our willpower by then. Hence, it is normal to see a person making bad choices in the evening than in the morning.
With some tasks, there is relatively less accumulation of reward, for expending willpower. There is some reward, in that you postpone the use of the money, or that you resist taking in unnecessary calories a while longer; but it’s nowhere near as tangible as the reward of, say, climbing a mountain (every exertion of willpower takes you tangibly closer to the peak).
Example, you can resist spending money on a dress or Starbucks coffee 10 times, 20 times, or even 30 times. But the one time you give in, it undoes all your previous efforts – the money is gone.
1. Assessing bigger reserves of willpower
There are two types of people that have higher willpower than the average: healthy ones and those that have higher goals. Healthy people usually have stable and healthy lifestyles that allow them to cope with life decisions rather than having to worry about their physical condition.
As for those who aim higher in life, they will have their precise set of standard and principles in life to follow. For example, many single parents can somehow find the reserves to work two or even three jobs, whereas the average person would find that to be too much.
When it comes to saving money, aim for the bigger price such as retirement life in another country and you will behave in such a way so you can afford that in the future.
2. Expending willpower more consciously
In simple words, allow yourself to relax on occasions – try to reserve your willpower for important situations.
For example, if you know you have a long list of important work tomorrow, you might want to allow yourself to indulge in that ice-cream tonight.
Or, if you decide you want to lose weight, you could set “cheat days” when you can have that bucket of fried chicken, while your stores of willpower recharge.
As for money management, it’s a matter of focus: try to cut down expenses in two or three specific areas (e.g. dining, transport, and movies), rather than by trying to control every single activity according to a budget. You’re more likely to find success in saving money this way.
3. Removing the need for willpower
For example, play a sport that you like, instead of forcing yourself onto a treadmill for an hour.
When it comes to budgeting, try something cheaper and see if you like it more. If your tendency is to go to restaurants, why not try “hawker food” for a month, where you explore something local (and cheaper)? If you like movies, maybe try Netflix instead of the cinema for a month.
You will likely find that switching to a lower-cost substitute, or learning to enjoy something cheaper, is easier than trying to build up your willpower.
This article first appeared on CompareHero.my