Choose Success

We love having options… chocolate or vanilla? Comedy or drama? Boxers or briefs? But would you believe the numerous choices we face every day deplete our stamina, focus and willpower? Researchers have shown that self-control is a limited resource, so our brains tend to default to the path of least resistance when we’re overwhelmed with choices.

Keep that in mind when trying to adopt a positive new habit. For example, I wanted to start exercising in the morning. But in the fog of waking up, there were too many choices: hitting the snooze button or popping out of bed, what to wear, whether to run or go to the gym, kickboxing or yoga. There were so many bridges to cross that, without forward momentum, I couldn’t get started.

So I began sleeping in my gym clothes—clean, I swear! I also put my sneakers next to the bed. And each night, I wrote out the next morning’s workout plan.

It worked, and now I have a lifetime habit of morning exercise. But this isn’t just about working out; try putting the floss right next to your toothbrush, or keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for on the nightstand.

In your work and home life, what would it mean to be able to “just slip your shoes on and go” toward the positive change you desire?


Shawn Achor is a Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Get a daily dose of happy at Shawn's Facebook page.

Leave a Comment