Have you ever tried to resist an urge to do something really hard, but then end up failing?
For me, I get this with food.
If I know my cupboard is filled with lots of delicious, pre-packed, ready to eat food, I’ll struggle to resist eating it. It’ll be there in the back of my mind and I’ll have to resist the urge all day. I tell myself to not eat unless I’m hungry. Eventually, in a moment of weakness or frustration, I’ll inevitably fail and eat something I shouldn’t have, or eat too much, or whatever.
On the other hand, if - like today - I know that I only have raw ingredients in my cupboard, I can go for a long time without eating or thinking about eating until my stomach is actually complaining and telling me to put something in there.
I figured this out when I was trying to lose weight at university, and basically figured out that it was easier to make a willpower decision once - not buying those kinds of foods whilst in the store - than it was to buy it and then resist it until the ‘right time’.
I realised that once I had bought this kind of food, I had essentially already lost the battle.
I came across this video today and have been thinking about it pretty much all day since.
It argues (with research studies to back it up) that willpower is a limited resource - an argument that I vaguely recall having seen before - and that if you’re resisting too many things, it makes it harder to resist other things.
According to the video, the people who claimed that they were best at resisting temptations, reported that they had less total temptations.
…which makes total sense from my experience. If I don’t have the thing I need to easily do my ‘bad habit’… I won’t do my bad habit.