Willingness: The Secret to Self Control [VIDEO]
Jonathan Bricker’s work has uncovered a scientifically sound approach to behavior change that is twice as effective as most currently practiced methods. His new methods are driving new norms and new apps for how people quit smoking and decrease obesity, saving many people from an early death.
Jonathan is an internationally recognized scientific leader in a bold approach called acceptance and commitment therapy. A Stanford researcher called his use of the approach:
a breakthrough in behavioral research [that] has major public health implications for the major causes of preventable death.
Bricker and his team, having received $10 million in total federal research grants to study this topic, are rigorously testing this intervention on multiple platforms, including smartphone apps, websites, and telephone coaching. His SmartQuit app for quitting smoking was recently launched and is now in distribution worldwide.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
My Tweak on Willingness and Self Control
When I first saw this video about acceptance and willingness, I noticed the idea of the third person approach to self control. In this case, the speaker talked about how people say “I have a craving” and then try to overcome the temptation. Instead, he advised to change your self-talk just a little bit and say “I notice that I have a craving.”
Self Control by Observing from the Outside
I decided to experiment with that. The key here is to observe yourself as another person would. You know, when you watch a movie and think to yourself, how this person can be so stupid, weak, inconsistent, careless, and lack self control.
Now do it to yourself. Let’s say you quit smoking and feel the cravings. Focus on mentally examining yourself with genuine interest. Something like:
- “Hmm, he really wants that cigarette.”
- “I wonder if he’s able to hold off? It’s hard, but think about the feeling of accomplishment.”
- “So, you want to get that pack of cigarettes? Well, I wouldn’t!”
You can use this type of self-talk in almost all situations and defuse the situation. You will give yourself some time between the craving and breaking your commitment. This time will, in turn, let you compose yourself enough that you will be able to regain self control and resist the temptation.
When you repeatedly go through cycles like this, your brain will learn and becomes more resistant to the temptation. As a bonus, you can use the willpower you gain this way on any other demanding task.
Next, you can take a look at this blog post if you want to get a first-hand account of how to quit smoking.