You’ve committed to doing whatever it takes to (fill-in-the-blank), right? Each person has their own goal or commitment that fills in that blank. If you are running a small business, there are times when you are overwhelmed by new things to do, problems to solve, skills to learn. They become so overwhelming, you turn around and discover nothing got done.


Writing for Psychology Today, Emma Seppälä, PhD, says people have problems reaching their goals because they suffer from “self-control fatigue” — a version of “decision fatigue” that we’ve written about previously. Self-control is what keeps people on task and focused on doing the things they must do to reach goals. “But self-control actually exhausts us,” says Seppälä. “it’s a limited resource like gasoline or the charge on your iPhone. The more you use it, the less you have it. Researchers have found that it literally depletes your blood sugar,”

Some of the everyday things you do that drain your reservoir of self-control

Control our performance | Giving your best when feeling tired.
Control our behavior and emotions | You know you are right but is it really worth debating?
Control our thoughts | I wonder what Wikipedia says about this topic?
Control our impulses | Who brought in this key lime pie?

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Here’s how to stop letting self-control fatigue get the best of you

Embrace the morning | Self-control is stronger in the morning. Use it to exercise and organize and work on the projects that tax your brain the most.

Stay calm | Research shows that Americans prefer “high-intensity” emotions like excitement or even stress (for instance, like the kind you impose on yourself by waiting until the last moment to get work done). Unfortunately, such emotions burn up energy. Participate in activities that help you stay calm so you won’t get depleted so fast: yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. (And getting things done early.)

Relax in other areas of your life | Choose where self-control is important and give yourself some slack in the rest of your life. You can’t do it all.

Focus on the outcome | Neuroscientist Elliott Berkman points out, “when you are working on things you really want to be working on, you are less likely to become depleted.” He argues that if you remember what the end goal is–something you really want–you can muster up the energy it takes to exert that self-control.

(via: Psychology Today)

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