Confidence Causes Us to Tempt Ourselves

Chocolate TemptationA Northwestern University study shows that people who are over-confident in their ability to resist temptation are the very ones who succumb to it most often. It turns out that we’re better off thinking of ourselves as wimps who will buckle to the first temptation to re-establish bad habits if we want to have a chance of beating the temptation. In the study, smokers were offered rewards for watching a movie filled with smoking scenes while having a cigarette nearby. It could be in their mouth, in their hand, on a nearby table, or in another room. Confident quitters tended to choose to hold the cigarette. They also tended to fire that bad boy up.

It’s too bad that good temptations don’t work the same way. Wait, maybe they do. I find that I’m far more likely to go out for my run if the people around me are going out for theirs. I won’t have another drink unless the people I’m with are having another. Same for ordering that rich desert.

So there it is. All we have to do to establish better habits is to spend more time with people who have good habits…and avoid corrupting them with our evil ways.


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