14 Surprising Things That Affect Your Willpower And Decision Making
President Obama only wears blue or gray suits.
As he tells Vanity Fair, it's a way of managing his willpower."I'm trying to pare down decisions," he says. "I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."Advertisement
Obama's focus on routine is backed up by research. Social psychologist Roy Baumeister has found that willpower is like a muscle - it can be strengthened or fatigued with use.
It's a crucial insight, given that a 2011 study of 1 million people around the world found that people think that self-control is their biggest weakness or character failure.As Baumeister details in his book "Willpower: The Greatest Human Strength" and a New York Times Magazine cover story, willpower and decision-making are interconnected. The house you grew up in, the number of decisions you made today, and what your friends are doing all affect your decisions in weird ways. Here's a look at how.
Make your most important decisions in the morning, before you experience "ego depletion."
Your brain needs glucose in order to make good decisions.Advertisement
Our finite supply of "decision-making power" means that making a series of decisions can be exhausting.
Once you're mentally depleted, you're more likely to make bad decisions.Advertisement
Developing routines helps you eliminate stress and conserve energy for important decisions.
If you want more willpower, get better sleep.Advertisement
Your unconscious plays a key role in helping you make good decisions.
Your decisions are shaped by your friends and family.Advertisement
Sometimes, it's best to run your ideas by others.
It can be valuable to cave in and say "yes" to the "wrong choices" once in a while.Advertisement
If you make an obligation to someone, the decision gets easier.
If you prepare for your moments of weakness, you'll be better able to make good decisions.Advertisement
If you can exercise your willpower, studies suggest you're more likely to succeed.
But sometimes what looks like weak willpower could be quality decision making.Advertisement
Successful people don't rely on willpower, they build routines.
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