Remember how the theme of this blog has become the research surrounding Willpower?
(Quick recap: Willpower is a finite resource and comes from the same pool as decision making. Willpower is depleted by any act of self-control or decision making, replenished by food and rest, and strengthened/expanded in the long-term by consistent non-strenuous self-control.)
Here’s one of the ways this research has changed my life. Today I picked up my kids from the gym at 1:30, a solid hour past lunch. Peppers pushes Salty away from the automatic door button so he can hit it himself even though it’s not his turn. Then Salty smacks Peppers upside the head for that. In the old days, I would have loudly called out for the lobby at large to hear, “Children! Hitting? You’ve never hit anyone before! What are they teaching you at this gym?” Instead I say distinctly for the benefit of the lobby at large, “It’s hard to control yourselves when you’re this depleted, my chickens. It’s not your fault. It’s mine. I brought snacks for you in the car.”
And that’s another way it’s changed my life. We use the term “depleted” a lot more. “We’re having crackers and cheese for dinner. After taking the kids to swimming and showering everyone and getting them into pajamas, I was too depleted to cook. Actually, I may have been able to cook, but I was too depleted to decide what to cook. So Salty chose.”
It also appears in my new and favorite catch phrase:
“You. Deplete. Me.”
Neither as sweet or romantic as the one from Jerry MacGuire, but let’s be honest, more accurate. And it gets used a lot more often.