Okay, that’s a harsh headline. Have a read of the much more softly-worded 5 Habits of People With Remarkable Willpower over on Inc.com but I tell you, the first one is probably the best:
Eliminate as many choices as possible. We all have a finite store of mental energy for exercising self-control.
The more choices we make during the day, the harder each one is on our brain–and the more we start to look for shortcuts. (Call it the “Oh, screw it,” syndrome.) Then we get impulsive. Then we get reckless. Then we make decisions we know we shouldn’t make, but it’s as if we can’t help ourselves.
In fact, we can’t help ourselves: We’ve run out of the mental energy we need to make smart choices.
That’s why the fewer choices we have to make, the smarter choices we can make when we do need to make a decision.
Say you want to drink more water and less soda. Easy. Keep three water bottles on your desk at all times. Then you won’t need to go to the refrigerator and need to make a choice.
Or say you struggle to keep from constantly checking your email. Easy. Turn off all your alerts. Or shut down your email and open it only once an hour. Or take your mail program off your desktop and keep it on a laptop across the room. Make it hard to check–then you’re more likely not to.
Read the full piece.