On Discipline


If you’ve ever believed or been told that you lack discipline, I would challenge that assumption. Here are three strategies that can help you make the changes you need to make, in order to achieve the results you want most.

Exhausting Our Discipline Reserves

Consider a study conducted by Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven and Tice, published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, pp. 1252-1265; 1998. The researchers told a group of college students that they were participating in a study on “food perception.”

The students were asked to not eat for a few hours prior to the study to ensure that they were a bit hungry upon arrival. They were then placed in a room, which at the centre was a table filled with radishes, piping hot fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and chocolate candies.

The students were told that chocolate and radishes were chosen due to their distinctive taste and that the following day each of them would be contacted to see what they could recall about their experience eating the foods.

The students were then divided into two groups, the first group were asked to eat only radishes but no cookies or chocolate. The second group were asked to eat only chocolate and cookies but no radishes (no arguments from that group). The researchers then left the room.

So, for the remainder of that phase of the study the cookie/chocolate eaters indulged on tasty treats while the radish eaters enviously looked on whilst eating food that even bugs bunny would balk at.

Spending Mental Faculties Wisely

At the conclusion of the eating study the students were asked if they would be willing to participate in an unrelated study comparing the problem-solving ability of college students to high school (GCSE/A-Levels) students… since they were already there.

The students agreed and were summarily given a problem to solve. Unbeknownst to all the participants the problem the researchers gave them was unsolvable.

The results were interesting; the group not subject to temptation, allowed to eat the cookies and chocolate spent an average of 19 minutes on the problem; whereas the


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