Hot and cold states
This comes from Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational.
The concepts of self-control and procrastination are vital for managing energy intake, which is essentially a series of small choices that accumulate over time.
We tend to make decisions in two states: cold or hot.
Cold states are where long-term rational decisions are made.
This would be sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and setting a recomposition goal for longer-term health benefits.
Hot states are when were give into gratification and postpone the decision we made in the cold state.
This would be leaving the salad in the work fridge and going out for takeaway lunch on Thursday.
Ariely calls postponing the rational decision to be procrastination.
It’s a good way to explain the situation.
I’ve always thought of procrastination as putting off a task that needed to be doing such as writing an article or finishing a report.
But if you think about it, by putting off the healthy salad really just procrastinating on the recomposition goal, not giving up on it.
I like the way this reframes the concept.
Many people question why they can’t adhere to their goals, sometimes to the point where highly-intelligent people think they are dumb.
If they know what good or bad food is, they know they need to move more, and have an idea of what they can change now, so why don’t they do it?
Dumbness has nothing to do with it.
As we get more stressed, busy, tired, and anxious, the temptation to seek short-term gratification from food increases massively.
Food is readily accessible, cheap, and we know what we are getting.
But the key isn’t to stop stress or anxiety or make food expensive and inaccessible.
Instead, it’s up to us to identify this pattern and put steps in place to manage it.
So maybe we haven't failed the diet, we've just procrastinated being consistent with it.