Can You Pass on the Donut? What is Your Self-Control Strategy?

Accountability Growth mindset Management


Self-control is becoming a topic that I want to spend more time with. Why? We can have the best intentions and information but can we personally execute? Do we have a personal system for discipline and self-control? Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, just published a great blog on this. His view is that self-control as a behavioral focus may be “something we can tap into to make sweeping improvements in life outcomes.”

Ariely goes on to note that research by people like Walter Mischel and others suggest that those of us who develop greater self-control capability are likely to get better results in a wide range of areas including work. There are many temptations to get distracted while working. The “donut shop” facing today’s worker may be Facebook or Angry Birds.

So what are some strategies for improvement in self-control?

  1. Try establishing a binding agreement with yourself by using the support system found in a web-site like
  2. Up the ante by applying “self imposed fees or fines” when temptation wins. Learn about fines to ante-charities.
  3. Get help from others, “For god’s sake don’t let me order dessert tonight!”


Character Move: let’s recognize that self-control, like most things, requires a system and purposeful practice. Will power alone will not work for most of us humans. Read the book We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess by Daniel Akst for more insight and tactics!

Passing on the donut in the Triangle,