Key to boosting self-control is finding pleasure in productive activities
A new study has revealed that while people have a harder time controlling themselves when tired, it doesn't mean they've exhausted all of their willpower and the key to boosting self-control is finding pleasure in the necessary activities of life.
"When people are fatigued they experience a change in motivational priorities such that they are less willing to work for the things they feel obliged to do and more willing to work for things they like to do," Michael Inzlicht from University of Toronto Scarborough said.
Inzlicht defines self-control as the mental processes that allow people to override thoughts and emotions in order to adapt their behavior from one moment to the next.
While it's true that people tend to lose their focus after performing specific tasks over a period of time, Inzlicht said that is the result of a shift in priorities and not an absence of self-control.
Inzlicht said the important thing is to convert tasks from "have-to's" into "want-to's,". When that fails, it's worth planning for the unavoidable ups and downs in motivation by steering clear of temptations and taking mental breaks in order to refresh.
The study will be published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
(Posted on 16-01-2014)