What the hell effect

March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve all been there.
We are carefully saving our money to follow our strict budget plan.

Or measuring calories and eating healthy in preparation for some event like a wedding.

Inevitability some type of roadblock occurs and we get thrown off our path.  We are out shopping, and our willpower gives in and we make an exciting purchase.  Or while out to dinner with some friends you get ridiculed for your food selection so you end up ordering the nacho platter.

Ok, so we suffered a minor set back.  Now the question is what next?

It is common to throw the towel in here, and say well since I just blew my plan, I might as well spend more money, or I might as well order some chocolate lava cake.

But this kind of irrational thinking can be fixed.

Essentially we are using the all-or-nothing approach.  Since I messed up, I might as well mess up even more.

What are we pitching a perfect game here?  Is the goal to be perfect?  When a pitcher lets up his first hit of the game does he now lob the ball across the plate?

How can we get away from this destructive mental approach ?

“The what-the-hell effect can be avoided by having longer-term goals and transforming inhibitional goals into acquisitional goals. Changing short-term to long-term is obvious, but how can inhibitional goals be turned into acquisitional goals?”

An example of an acquisitional goal is thinking about how many consecutive days you have been successful at something.  Similar to how Alcoholics Anonymous encourages people to focus on how many days they have been sober.



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