Willpower vs. Convenience

Currently, I’m reading an interesting book called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  It is essentially about what makes someone a happy person opposed to being an unhappy person (and is backed up by scientific research).

One of the sections is about our friendly nemesis willpower; how most people’s willpower can power them towards good habits, but throughout the day will get worn down and worn down until people give in.

For example, you eat healthy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you feel GREAT!  But then around 8 or 9 your cravings kick in.  You are so exhausted from the day and your willpower is running on fumes, so you chow down on some girl scout cookies.  One wouldn’t be too bad, but you go back for another…and another…and now you HAVE to finish the whole sleeve because a half empty girl scout cookie sleeve is bad Feng Shui!

Your willpower ran out and you gave in to convenience.

This is when the concept of “Path of Least Resistance” comes into play.  If the girl scout cookies are convenient (nearby, already purchased, easily accessible) then most likely you WILL give in to convenience. On the other hand, if it is inconveniet to get a girl scout cookie in your mouth (they are not at your house, you have to do 100 push-ups every time you eat one, you have your wife hide them) then most likely you WON’T give into convenience.

Instead of having girl scout cookies easily accessible, maybe you have prepared a healthy snack (a smoothie, mixed fruit bowl, or my favorite…frozen blueberries).  Make these the new path of least resistance.  Make these nutritious items the ones that are convenient.

So Achor’s simple idea was this:


Try this for a few days and see if it works.

Happy Friday!  Good luck in your journey towards your goals!