I’m currently reading a book entitled Willpower by Tierney and Baumeister. In it the authors term the erosion of willpower as “ego depletion”.
A few days ago I exerted a lot of willpower through abstaining from alcohol in an environment highly conducive to drinking for me, doing Duolingo, writing on 750words, my own work, meditating, and reading. The next day I was completely and utterly depleted.
So I looked online to see what recharges ego-depletion. Sleep and glucose (like a candy bar) work, but neither was helpful in the situation - I couldn’t sleep and I don’t want to go to sugar when later on I’ll be incorporating working out and nutrition to the program.
One suggestion was to watch funny youtube videos. So, I attempted it, timing myself, and using a rudimentary ego-depletion scale (1-10) to see how it affected me over time. After 5 minutes of watching a favorite standup comedian, I felt I had gotten to about a 4. After 12 minutes, I was up to a 7, and after 20 minutes I was up to a 9.
Later that day I felt more depleted, but had a piece of cake, which immediately got me writing my daily 750words.
Although I didn’t complete my Duolingo and meditation for that day, I did accomplish more than I thought I would, given my level of mental exhaustion.
Clearly, watching funny videos has to be incorporated into my program.