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Everyday you spend hours resisting the siren song of Facebook, resisting the impulse to check your inbox, resisting the text messages vibrating on your mobile phone, resisting the call of the laundry, resisting the sunshine outside, resisting the urge to turn the word processor off before you've hit your word count target.
After all that self control you are confronted with the last hurdle. There it is. Cake.
Can you resist it?
The answer is no.
According to Will Power: Rediscovering our Greatest Strength by psychologist Roy Baumeister and journalist John Tierney -
Will power requires fuel and that fuel is glucose.
Sugar is glucose. Therefore glucose is cake.
When people have more demands for self control in their lives their hunger for sweets increases though their hunger for food in general does not ... what's more even simply expecting to have to exert self conrol seems to have the same effect. John Tierney in BBC Science Focus Magazine
But before you surrender to the cake, Baumeister points out that Will Power is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the better you get at it. Focus Magazine offered these surprisingly useful tips to get us through:
- Use ritual to help you practice Self Control. Eg. Following a schedule to embed the habit of writing
- Monitor your progress. Dieters who weigh in everyday tend to lose weight more successfully - so monitor your word count religiously.
- Resisting too many things makes it hard to keep going. Conserve your will power by outsourcing self control. Eg. Dieters lose more weight when they do it with others. For authors, it might involve joining an organization like SCBWI. Let peer pressure do the work. (although peer pressure can also have the opposite effect of leading you into the Great Time Suck of social networking)
- And yes, glucose will help keep you going. But sadly cake is not the answer. Read up on goody goody sources of glucose. Sigh.
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