From: The Cut

To Change Your Life, Consider the Easy Route

Change is hard. Everybody knows that. So we head into our New Year’s resolutions with our teeth gritted, determined to battle our way to success. Sure, we know that most of us are doomed to fail, and that the yoga studios that are packed on January 2 will be back to their Zenlike calm by February. With enough willpower, though, we hope that we can beat the odds and bull our way through.

But what if this attitude has it exactly backwards? What if the key to success isn’t trying hard but not trying very hard at all?

The idea sounds crazy, because it runs contrary to how most people, and even most psychologists, view the process of self-control. In the standard version, people struggle with temptation because we have long-term goals (say, losing weight) that stand in conflict with short-term ones (eating cake). We can beat back the urge to indulge the short-term desire by using willpower, but we only have a finite amount, and the more we use it the more depleted it gets — until it ultimately runs out, and we eat the damn cake. So the way to achieve our long-term goals is to build up our willpower muscles so we can fight back longer and better.

Read the whole story: The Cut

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