I always love to find good news in bad news. And so I was happy to hear
that there's a positive perk in learning how to restrain one's spending --
how developing this money discipline may help you to achieve other greater
Says who? Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang -- psychologists who specialize in
Aamodt and Wang explain how the brain has a limited capacity of
self-regulation, but by practicing willpower in simply one area, your
willpower capacity can actually increase overall.
Meaning? If during "lean times" you exercise self-control and curb your
instinct to spend on things you don't really need, you will then be
strengthening your willpower for other important goals.
For example, if you can get yourself to resist indulging in that pricey
Frappuccino every morning -- you will not only save money - but your
willpower muscles will be strengthened just that wee bit more - perhaps
motivating you to finally go to that yoga class.
Basically, every person has (1) short term willpower capability and (2)
long term willpower capability.
(1) Your short-term willpower requires making small adjustments in order to
help you reach smaller goals. Little by little the more you display just a
little willpower the more your short-term willpower increases.
(2) Your long-term willpower is used for bigger, tougher goals. And the way
the brain is structured, it helps if you take on only one big goal at a
time. Once you are able to achieve your first long-term big goal, it's
easier to conquer your second -- and so on.
The good news: Eventually, your brain grows accustomed to tapping into both
techniques of self control. Thus over time it becomes easier to focus on
doing more positive habits which lead to greater success.
Aamodt and Wang mention how increasing willpower capacity can even begin
with something as simple as brushing your teeth for two weeks with your
non-dominant hand. This personally chosen shift will eventually increase
your willpower muscles, and help you gain control over those other more
irascible parts of your life.
Meaning? If due to today's tough economic times you must strengthen up your
money muscle, cheer up! You'll be simultaneously strengthening your
opportunity to improve your life in a variety of other areas as well!
Karen Salmansohn is the best selling author of THE BOUNCE BACK BOOK:HOW TO
THRIVE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, SETBACKS AND LOSSES.
Follow Karen Salmansohn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/notsalmon