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Ego Strength

WLC Day #22

I recently listened to an audio book called "Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be" by Marshall Goldsmith. It is full of wonderful advice that is practical to every person at every level. He has an easy-going conversational tone that still challenges you to step up your game and truly become the person you want to be.

We all have an ideal us. The ideal us is probably 10 lbs lighter, with a better physique, makes better food choices, doesn't binge on Netflix, meditates regularly, exercises daily, and is super tuned in for every waking moment.

Then there is the real us. We give into temptation. We lack self control. We have limited will power.

Interestingly, there have been numerous studies that have shown that this is absolutely true. We do not have an unlimited reserve of will power. Will power is like a muscle--once we use it for so long, it grows tired and we start to give in to temptations more readily. This is a relatively new discovery, and you can read about its inception by following the Chocolate and Radish experiment.
Another great read about ego depletion...

Marshall Goldsmith calls this phenomenon Ego Strength. Apparently ego strength is the thing that the Whole Life Challenge is flexing. Yes, the goal is to develop healthy habits, but also, the goal is to have an 8-week discipline of developing ego strength.

Every day when I go downstairs for breakfast, I pour the kids a bowl of cereal. I want to eat the cereal with them, but it is not on my compliant food list. Therefore I use some of my ego strength and refrain from eating, thus exercising my will power muscle and also tiring it out a smidge. When someone brings in desserts to the office and I have to walk past them 5 times a day to get to my desk, I exert that much more will power and become that much more fatigued for later in the day.

So while I may be more cranky when I get home and more prone to snap at the kids, I also am building up a residual strength to will power that will enable me to withstand temptations even better after the 8 weeks are up.

Go about your daily activities flexing that will power muscle and know that every time you do, you will have better discipline tomorrow because of it.


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