practice increases willpower capacity, so that in the long run, buying less now may improve our ability to achieve future goals

That’s from this article in the NY Times. The article also says that in the short run our willpower gets depleted, like you have a willpower-meter, it goes down as you use your willpower, builds back up when you don’t, and the whole process increases the total size of your meter. Like something out of an ill-conceived video game.

I’d like to think I’ve done a decent job with my willpower meter. I exercise regularly (when injury free), routinely spend less than I make and avoid emotional outbursts. Of course, I enjoy exercising, so I don’t know if I’m exercising any willpower there. My frugality might be more of a learned habit from semi-habitual self-inflicted unemployment. Behavioral economics tell me it takes a while to adjust to changes in the amount of loot one has. As for the lack of emotional outburst, that might be more related to personality defects, at least that’s what comments from various girls I’ve known would have me believe (comments comparing my emotional status to robots and such).

On the side of lack of willpower, I can’t kick caffeinated beverages, and I regularly drink more than I intend to (once I get started). So perhaps my willpower is only weak in relation to liquids? As the man said, I like cold beverages.

Any thoughts or experiences with your own willpower meters? Before signing off, I would like to point out that I do have emotions.