Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Avoiding the will-power trap

Real-life example before the theory:
I want to use the stairs more often going to my office instead of the elevator.
Right now, I don't feel like walking up from floor 1 to 7.
I don't want to force myself,
and ask myself `what part of that do I feel like doing?'
I realize it's walking just up to floor 2.
I do that, and take the elevator from there.


There is no isolated event,
and with every action we take,
we are reinforcing certain behaviors and habits.

How to reinforce a desired behavior?
Perform that behavior, or one similar to it,
while feeling a positive emotion.

What if you don't feel like doing it?
You have two options.
Not do it, or do it while using substantial will power..
well the second option is many times only hypothetical,
as you might not have the sufficient will power at that given moment for
that action.
The second option, in addition to not always (perhaps even usually) not existing,
 may not be good for reinforcement of a habit,
as performing an action using will power may evoke negative emotions
that will be associated with the behavior.

My suggestion:
Perform the largest part of the action that you are able
at that moment, without passing your `will power threshold'.
The threshold is the point beyond which negative emotions of stress are generated while doing the action.
Again, this threshold is not a constant, and changes from moment to moment.


This way you perform an action you wish to reinforce, while feeling positive emotions.


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