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If You Think Guilt Can Help You Discipline Yourself, You’re Totally Wrong

If You Think Guilt Can Help You Discipline Yourself, You’re Totally Wrong

In an experiment conducted by psychologists Clair Adams and Mark Leary, women who were watching their weight were encouraged to eat doughnuts and candy. The aim of the experiment was to find out if people will indulge less if they do not feel guilty about it.

The experiment

The dieting women were divided into two groups. One group was encouraged to feel better about breaking their diets, while the other group were left to feel guilty about it. At the end of the experiment, the psychologists would determine which group ate the most candy.

The women were told that they would be participating in two distinct studies. The first study would look at the effects of the food on a person’s mood. The second study would be a taste test.

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In the first study, each woman was directed to select either a chocolate or glazed doughnut and to finish it within a four-minute time frame. They were then told to drink a full glass of water. The aim was to make the women feel guilty and overly full.

After the first study, the group that was encouraged to feel better about breaking their diet were given the following message: “Sometimes, participants feel guilty about eating a whole doughnut, but you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself about it. Remember that everyone indulges sometimes.” This message was intended to help these women get rid of some of their guilt. The second group did not receive any message.

Both groups were then given candy and told to sample each candy and rate it. They were told to eat as much candy as they like so that they could achieve an accurate rating.

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The results

The remaining candy was weighed by the researchers.

The women who were given the message to feel less guilty about having eaten the doughnut ate approximately 28 grams of the candy. Comparatively, the women who were allowed to feel guilty ate almost 70 grams.

The researchers concluded from these results that feeling guilty leads to indulging more.

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Let us take a look at some examples of scenarios that may leave you feeling guilty and see why these guilty feelings may lead to overindulging in unwanted behavior.

Drinking too much

You may find that lately you have been drinking too much alcohol. Your efforts to reduce the amount you are drinking are not working and you are left feeling guilty about it. The guiltier you feel, the more you drink. It becomes a vicious circle.

Procrastinating when there is work to be done

You have a lot of work to do but all you are doing is procrastinating. You feel guilty about procrastinating and hence you continue to put off your work. The guiltier you feel, the less work you find yourself doing.

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Spending too much money on jewellery or clothing

You may be splurging on jewellery and clothing, buying yourself something new every time you walk into a shop. The money you are spending seems to be adding up, but the more remorseful you feel about it, the more you find yourself buying and buying.

Gambling too much

You have been gambling a lot lately. All the money you have in your savings seems to be going to waste. The more you gamble, the worse you feel about it. You are guilty and you don’t know what to do. However, it seems that the guiltier you feel, the more you gamble.

Smoking too much

You may be a heavy smoker. You have tried several times to quite but without success. You feel very guilty every time you smoke a cigarette, but this only leaves you craving the next cigarette even more. The more remorse you feel about smoking, the more you smoke.

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

The Reinvention Checklist

Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

Resilience

Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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Support

Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

Self-Care

During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

  • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
  • Spending time with your support system
  • Taking some time to walk in nature
  • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

How to Reinvent Yourself

Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

1. Discover Your Strengths

This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

2. Plan

This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

3. Try Things Out

Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

4. Manage Your Finances Well

Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

5. Muster Your Courage

Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

6. Use Your Support Group

As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

Final Thoughts

If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

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Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

Reference

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