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Want Willpower: Play Offense not Defense

How to Win the Willpower World Series


Most of us wonder how we can have more willpower in those moments of temptation.

But Roy Baumeister—the world’s leading expert on willpower, and one of the most cited social psychologists on the planet—tells us that the people who use their willpower the most wisely don’t actually use it to deal with that many temptations.

When we chatted, Roy told me that willpower exemplars play OFFENSE with their willpower not defense.

What’s that mean?

Well, let’s say you don’t want to eat sugary cookies anymore. First: Good decision!

Now, the way to play offense on that goal is to NEVER buy those tempting cookies again. You want to, as Tom Rath says, “Buy your willpower at the store” so you don’t need to use it at home.

The less effective “defensive” strategy? Buying those cookies and then trying not to eat them.

Guess what: When are you most likely to eat that junk?

When you feel the worst and your willpower is at its most depleted state, of course.


Again, play OFFENSE not defense.

Today’s +1: Think about a few of the ways you’re tempted to do sub-optimal things in your life.

Now think about one.

And think about how you could play OFFENSE with your willpower to create an environment where you’re simply not exposed to that temptation.

THAT’s how to win the Willpower World Series.