Over­com­ing willpower fails

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - ROB STOCK


Can’t con­trol your spend­ing?

Don’t blame your weak willpower.

Blame your wrong-headed idea of what willpower is.

Aca­demics from Stan­ford Univer­sity and the Univer­sity of Zurich found some­thing strange about peo­ple.

Those who be­lieved willpower was ‘‘weak­ened’’ by use were more likely to binge eat, binge on TV, and binge spend.

While those who be­lieved willpower was not were less likely to fall into a cy­cle of self-de­nial fol­lowed by splurge.

The old ac­cepted the­ory was that willpower was de­pleted by use, a bit like a per­son get­ting tired dur­ing run­ning a foot race. After willpower had been ex­erted, it needed a jolly good rest to re­cover.

Worse, self-re­straint was fol­lowed by that ten­dency to overindulge. Us­ing your willpower could be dan­ger­ous!

But if the US-Swiss aca­demics are right, and willpower is more

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