Not Letting Myself Off the Hook Day

~ 2 Minute Read.

Fol­low­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion on twit­ter, I’ve been lis­ten­ing to “Willpow­er In­stinct” by Kel­ly Mc­Go­ni­gal Ph.D. on au­di­ble.

It ed­u­cates the lis­ten­er/read­er about how willpow­er works and while I al­ready knew about the mus­cle anal­o­gy, what was most fas­ci­nat­ing to me are the un­con­scious be­hav­iour schemes that we hu­mans fol­low to “let our­self off the hook”. Whether it be mak­ing an ex­cep­tion, be­cause “you did so well with some­thing” to­day, or raise a cred­it on your fu­ture self—I can do that to­mor­row, no prob­lem—or the most scary to me, moral li­cens­ing, where you al­low your­self a moral slip, be­cause you re­cent­ly demon­strat­ed (or thought about demon­strat­ing) moral strength in the same area.

I feel a bit ter­ri­fied by this, be­cause I can see some of these be­hav­ioral pat­terns in my­self, even with harm­less things, it sig­nals a loss of con­trol in a way.

This morn­ing, I again didn’t get out of bed, ris­ing at noon I de­cid­ed to make this day a “not let­ting my­self off the hook day”.

For one day (and that is easy, right, it’s just one day!), no ex­cus­es, no ex­cep­tions, on­ly the hard way. If you no­tice your­self try­ing to take a short­cut, or “look­ing away from some­thing that takes ef­fort”, go the oth­er way.

One of the most im­por­tant mes­sages I got from lis­ten­ing to not quite half the book is that the feel­ing of ex­haus­tion does not mean ex­haus­tion. If you have the feel­ing that your willpow­er is de­plet­ed, that is not ac­tu­al­ly true. Yes­ter­day evening was the last time I took the feel­ing of willpow­er de­ple­tion as an ex­cuse for any­thing.

Writ­ten in 15 min­utes, ed­it­ed in 3 min­utes.