Why You Have No Self-Control



Self_ControlIllustrated By Ly Ngo.
We're less than a week into the new year, and yet so many of us have broken our resolutions. Whether it was quitting sugar or cigarettes, a new study suggests our willpower — or lack thereof — may be even harder to control than we thought.

Researchers at the University of Oregon constructed a study that looked at participants' brains before and after they were asked to do a willpower-improving exercise. The result? Well, even though there was considerable improvement toward the task at hand, there was nothing that suggests brain-boosting exercises would help participants in everyday life — particularly when unexpected circumstances occur. So, while you can train yourself to control smoking (good for you!), it will tend to be habit-specific. In other words, you're not learning to be a person with more self-control — you're just able to exert more self-control when it comes to cigarettes.

Bottom line: Ease up on yourself the next time you have that cookie or glass of wine. It's out of your control, right? Well, sort of. (The Atlantic)