Maybe you know the feeling. You plan to eat healthy, but by the end of the day you find yourself hiding in the pantry sneaking your kids’ leftover Halloween candy. Or you sit down on the couch and tell yourself you’re only going to watch one episode of Parenthood, but by the time you’ve almost convinced yourself that it’s 1:00 in the morning and you really should go to bed, Netflix has already started the next episode.
Why are we so bad at following through with our plans?
When we think about how to improve our follow-through, we often focus on just that—our follow-through. We wipe the Kit Kat crumbs off our face and promise to do better in the future. So, we try a little harder next time. And what happens? We find ourselves once again hiding in the pantry wiping Kit Kat crumbs off our face. How did we end up here—again?
When we look at our failures to avoid temptation, we often think our problem is lack of willpower. We think if we just use more willpower next time, then we’ll be able to avoid the Kit Kats and Netflix binges and yelling at our kids.
But what if we’re actually more likely to avoid temptation by relying less on willpower?