Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Finding pleasure in productive activities the key to boosting self-control

16.01.2014
After a long, tiring day many of us simply give in to the urge to grab a favourite unhealthy snack and avoid tackling obligatory tasks. But we don’t have to.

A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough shows that while people have a harder time controlling themselves when tired, it doesn’t mean they’ve exhausted all of their willpower. The key to boosting self-control is finding pleasure in the necessary activities of life.

“When people are fatigued they experience a change in motivational priorities such that they are less willing to work for the things they feel obliged to do and more willing to work for things they like to do,” says Michael Inzlicht, professor in the Department of Psychology at UTSC and affiliate faculty at U of T’s School of Public Policy and Governance.

Inzlicht defines self-control as the mental processes that allow people to override thoughts and emotions in order to adapt their behavior from one moment to the next. The prevailing view in psychology has been that self-control is a limited resource where repeated acts of restraint exhaust supply until individuals are left with little to no willpower at all.

While it’s true that people tend to lose their focus after performing specific tasks over a period of time, Inzlicht says that is the result of a shift in priorities and not an absence of self-control. In fact, there may be ways to avoid hours of being unproductive when one’s energy and focus are low.

The important thing is to convert tasks from “have-to’s” into “want-to’s,” says Inzlicht. When that fails, it’s worth planning for the unavoidable ups and downs in motivation by steering clear of temptations and taking mental breaks in order to refresh.

For individuals with busy personal and professional lives this may be easier said than done, but certainly not impossible, notes Inzlicht.

“If someone wants to eat healthier they should think of the enjoyment they can get from eating delicious nutritious foods. They should not frame their eating goal as something they feel obliged to do because their doctor or spouse told them to do so,” he says. “The key is finding a way to want and like the goal you are chasing, just like the person who loves to jog as a way to relax or take a break.”

The study, which was co-authored by Brandon Schmeichel at Texas A & M University and Neil Macrae at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, is available online and will appear in the upcoming edition of Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Online link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661313002945

For more information, contact:

Michael Inzlicht
Tel: 416-820-2395
michael.inzlicht@utoronto.ca
www.michaelinzlicht.com
Don Campbell
Media Relations Officer
University of Toronto Scarborough
Tel: 416-208-2938
dcampbell@utsc.utoronto.ca

Dominic Ali | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>