Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS -

It’s all in your mind. No, se­ri­ously, it is. All you need to do in or­der to achieve your goal – be it avoid­ing that fourth flap­jack or mak­ing your 7am tread­mill date – is be­lieve you can. The psy­cho­log­i­cal the­ory of ego-de­ple­tion has tra­di­tion­ally taught us that willpower is a lim­ited re­serve, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. But a new study is turn­ing this idea on its head. In­dian re­searchers re­cently repli­cated the orig­i­nal ego-de­ple­tion study, us­ing both US par­tic­i­pants, who gen­er­ally be­lieve that ex­ert­ing self­con­trol is drain­ing, and In­dian par­tic­i­pants, who tend to view it as en­er­gis­ing. Both sets of par­tic­i­pants com­pleted a dif­fi­cult task fol­lowed by a sec­ond tax­ing task to see if they gave up. While the US par­tic­i­pants ex­hib­ited ego-de­ple­tion, the In­dian par­tic­i­pants ac­tu­ally per­formed bet­ter on the sec­ond task when the first task was more dif­fi­cult – dis­play­ing re­verse ego-de­ple­tion – adding to a grow­ing body of re­search that sug­gests you have as much willpower as you think you have. Plus, those who be­lieve they have un­lim­ited re­serves are proven to be hap­pier and to ex­pe­ri­ence less stress. So next time you re­turn to the pasta pot for sec­onds (oh, fine, thirds), ren­der­ing your next-day left­overs, well, non-ex­is­tent, re­mem­ber: they don’t call it won’t power…

Strength of char­ac­ter

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