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New research on the power of good (and bad) habits


By Mandy Oaklander for

PreventionGetting through work is the easy part of your weekday. Among the things that really wear you out: mustering the motivation to go to the gym, resisting the urge to get Thai takeout for dinner again, and willing yourself not to think about donuts (so much for that!).

After a long day of being oh-so-good, you might find you have no willpower left to resist any other temptations. (Make no mistake: your body creates willpower in limited quantities.) So does that mean you’re destined to flop on the couch and faceplant into an angel food cake?

Not necessarily, finds a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Yes, we fall back on bad habits when our self-control reserves are empty. But we also fall back on good habits.

In one of five related studies, researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles surveyed business students about their daily habits for 10 weeks. Because the study fell during exam week— a time infamous for destroying self-control—the results would show how we rely on healthy and unhealthy habits during tough, frenzied times.

Keep reading to find out more on what the study found… 

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