“Research shows that people who think they have the most willpower are actually the most likely to lose control when tempted. For example, smokers who are the most optimistic about their ability to resist temptation are the most likely to relapse four months later, and overoptimistic dieters are the least likely to lose weight. Why? They fail to predict when, where, and why they will give in. They expose themselves to more temptation,” Kelly McGonigal.
One of the most potent strategies for reaching a goal is to identify the obstacles ahead of time and develop a plan to address each before they are encountered. We want to be optimistic, but we don’t want to be a naive optimists. The naive optimist ignores the obstacles in their way and believes that they will not confront any challenges. The realistic optimist believes in their ability to accomplish their goal despite the obstacles in their way. They acknowledge and prepare for the challenges, which makes them much more likely to succeed. We want to have faith in our ability to overcome obstacles, not naively believe we won’t encounter them.