Why are we so susceptible to innocent lapses of self-control? I'll just have one more bite/sip of that. I'll just watch a few minutes of the next episode. And the classic, just one more level!
Our tendency to repeatedly fall into this trap reminds me of the perennial gag from Peanuts. The one where Lucy promises Charlie Brown that this is the year she will let him kick the football. And of course, he always falls for it, finds only air and ends up on his back.
What's going on here? Some might say people lack of self-control and of course, to a certain extent, this is part of it. Another aspect to consider is for any activity, it's the first step that is often the hardest to take and then, like a boulder rolling downhill, momentum takes over. We all implicitly know this to be true, but when engaging in a guilty pleasure type activity, we tend to ignore this dynamic and lie to ourselves about its power.
Now what if you could harness this power for good instead of evil? Think of tasks in your life that are beneficial, but either because they are daunting or don't provide instant gratification, finding the motivation to tackle them is tough. Some that immediately come to mind - laundry, groceries, bills, exercise - pick your poison.
There is an EZPZ approach to getting these sorts of tasks done. Instead of committing to everything you have to accomplish, lie to yourself and only commit to doing a tiny bit. One load of laundry, one pushup, one bill payment is all you plan to do. This is a win-win situation because if you only do what you committed to, you've at least done something and you're done. What you will find, in many cases, is you will get on a roll and actually keep going beyond your initial commitment and before you know it, have accomplished the entire task!
So go ahead. Tell yourself lies. For your own sweet benefit.
Next post next Saturday, 6:30 a.m.