How often does your willpower to change dissolve into more cookies?

In the July issue of Scientific American Mind, an article on “The Willpower Paradox” caught my attention.  The article is about surprising findings from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the connection between willingness and willfulness.  In this  study the researchers  explore the structure of self talk.   The study involved two groups, one that framed their self talk in the form “I will” and the other that framed their self talk as “Will I?”  Surprisingly, in multiple scenarios the willful group underperformed.  “In other words, the people who kept their minds opened were more goal-directed and more motivated than those who declared their objective to themselves.”

One scenario dealt with the health and fitness of the study participants.  The group whose self talk contained phrases such as “I will go to the gym today.” and “I will eat healthy” did not fare as well as those who began their day with phrases like “Will I get to go to the gym today?”  The negative undertones present in the “I will” statements colored the entire day for them and resulted in poor performance.  By focusing entirely on the positive, the “Will I?” group was able to be more successful and take charge of their change.

The bottom line is you can’t guilt yourself into success.  By focusing on truly positive self talk, you can talk your way to a better you.

Posted in Inspirational | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment