For those interested in why this is the most accurate answer, go read "Willpower" by Baumeister.
I am always surprised, though shouldn't be I suppose, that the first answer for so many people is some completely externalized solution (e.g. blockers, network disconnection, etc.).
There are tools that can help you to create habits, but you must be aware of the role that self-regulation plays in ongoing maintenance of these habits, otherwise the moment the tools or support infrastructures you've put in place are gone, your habits will revert.
Don't make your self control reliant on app updates.
It's not a completely pop-science book, more a translation of his research into an approachable lay-person format. I recommend it.
(edit - link to book: http://www.amazon.com/Willpower-Rediscovering-Greatest-Human... )
The fact is, we're all wired a little differently. Some who drink too much can simple moderate; some find the need to temporarily or permanently quit drinking altogether. Anyone trapped in the "metabolic syndrome" of a sugary diet will probably be more successful doing the latter.
Amazon links: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0452297710 and http://www.amazon.com/dp/0143122231
Thorough book notes:
http://www.quora.com/Leo-Polovets/Exceptionally-long-book-no... and http://www.quora.com/Leo-Polovets/Exceptionally-long-book-no...
"We devoted chapter 3 to the glorious history of the to-do list, but we realize that some readers might still not feel like drawing one up. It can sound dreary and off-putting. If so, try thinking of it as a todon’t list: a catalog of things that you don’t have to worry about once you write them down. As we saw in our discussion of the Zeigarnik effect, when you try to ignore unfinished tasks, your unconscious keeps fretting about them in the same way that an ear worm keeps playing an unfinished song. You can’t banish them from your brain by procrastinating or by willing yourself to forget them.
But once you make a specific plan, your unconscious will be mollified. You need to at least plan the specific next step to take: what to do, whom to contact, how to do it (in person? by phone? by e-mail?). If you can also plan specifically when and where to do it, so much the better, but that’s not essential. As long as you’ve decided what to do and put it on the list, your unconscious can relax."
Probably the most useful bit or research (also described much less technically in that book) is this:http://books.google.com/books?id=7CeE67IrVDUC&pg=PA130&#...</a>
- Create a todo list. Each thing must be specific, measurable and unambiguous. Update it every day, first thing.
- Grab a copy of "Will Power": http://www.amazon.com/Willpower-Rediscovering-Greatest-Human... Awesome book.
- Find someone to work with, or an accountability group. Working with someone is a great motivator for me.
- Track your time. See how much time you're spending on which thing, (or nothing).
- If you've been procrastinating on something or more than a month, then maybe you should remove it from your list.
- Have a clear understanding of where you're going and why. Perhaps your expectations of yourself are too high?
Check out this book about Willpower and the role of glucose.
http://amzn.to/nrwKnf (all links have my affiliate link. On my way to richness baby! ;)
I'm currently reading this one, so far so good:
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
This is a small list of books I want to read:
The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home
The book this article is reviewing discusses learning to exercise your will power through little mini tasks throughout the day (sit up straight, don't curse, don't eat the whole cake, pickup your desk before going to lunch, etc.) as a means of strengthening that skill.
In their studies they found that employing little tasks like that actually made the willpower muscle (let's call it) stronger, leading to more control over your day.
As to "why do I care?" both studies show that people with more willpower generally end up happier with their lives.
This article does make an interesting point that people with ultimate willpower are not markedly happier than people with nominal amounts of it, so you don't necessarily need to train your willpower muscle to the point of entering the willpower olympics, just slightly stronger than you have now (assuming it is weakened) to enjoy a happier life.
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