It’s easy to set goals, but the chasm between saying you’re going to do something and exercising the willpower and self control required to actually follow through can be enormous. Psychology Today recommends setting a mental budget to improve your self control.
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography.
The basic requirements for setting a mental budget, as laid out in the blog post, are four-fold (and in this instance are written with food/diet goals in mind):
- You need a point of reference for setting your mental budget. In the case of diet, for example, you need to know what sort of consumption is normal.
- You need to be able to track your goal (e.g. you need to be able to see how many calories a food items contains).
- It may not sound all that fun, but your mental budget will be most successful if you’re thinking about the negative aspects of failing your goal rather than the positive (e.g. you’ll be more successful with your diet if you think about the fat content of chocolate bars than the deliciousness).
- Last, you need to remember that your budget isn’t guaranteed, and you have to make your budget realistic if you’re going to stick to it.
As noted, the Psychology Today post focuses mostly on food and diet, but the concepts laid out for setting a mental budget seem like they could apply to goal setting across the board. Want to dive deeper into self control? Check out the willpower techniques you can learn from the marshmallow test.
Setting mental budgets as a means of self-control [Psychology Today]