Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I love behavioral science

This is a great blog post on the science of self-control, an issue that I think about a lot on those days when I find myself abandoning my diet of fresh vegetables and eating six M&M cookies just because they were there and I made the mistake of leaving my house. (Leaving the house, this article would suggest, causes me no end of ego fatigue, which explains why I don't do it much.)

There's a lot of interesting stuff in the article, but one of the takeaways is "Don't make decisions on an empty stomach," which made me laugh, because it seems the hardest decision our family EVER has to make, just from the apparent degree of anguish involved, is whether and then where to go out to eat. Knowing that the problem is a depletion of glucose is interesting but unhelpful at the crucial moment.

I wonder if there's a way to PRE-make decisions for yourself when you're refreshed and replenished and all your higher-level executive brain functions are at their best. If you could schedule out every meal, every workout, every task, every leisure activity—say, after dinner the night before—would it preserve willpower and decision-making ability for the next day and allow you to carry it all out? Or would your rapidly depleting ego just toss it in the trash, play Scrabble on Facebook, and never make another schedule again? Maybe the better question is how can I turn more productive or healthy habits into things I do without ever needing to have them on a schedule at all (like I've done with breakfast)? I want my whole day to be "mindlessly delicious"!

1 comment:

  1. this is why in LE we were to make our week's worth of meals on Sunday aka The Sunday Ritual. Shop. Chop. Package. Pre-Cook. And always always always eat SOMETHING before making any of those "ego-depleted" decisions.

    ... not that I continue to do it. ;)