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Resist any temptation by rehearsing how you’ll act ahead of time

by | Jun 4, 2013 | Focus

Takeaway: Rehearse how you’ll react during a tempting situation to increase your chances of resisting that temptation.

Estimated Reading Time: 50 seconds.

Summer is coming, and with summer comes temptation – DQ Blizzards, unhealthy barbecues, and in my case, hoards of beautiful women. Luckily there is one proven way to resist temptation later on – rehearse in your head how you’ll act.

Our minds often have a tendency to switch back and forth between what is better for us in the short- and long-term.1 Luckily, if you want to tug your mind to focus more on the longer-term, rehearsing the situation in your head ahead of time works wonders.

According to Winifred Gallagher, “when you rehearse in your head how you’ll react to the lure of the all-you-can-eat buffet or the neighbourhood watering hole, you’re much likelier to resist temptation than if you trust in your spontaneous response.”2

It only takes a minute or two, and believe me, it works. The next time you know you’re going to be in a tempting situation, rehearse how you’ll react ahead of time to significantly increase your changes of resisting temptation when the time comes.


  1. “I really shouldn’t eat that donut, I need to drop another five pounds.”  “No man, trust me on this one – one donut won’t hurt that goal too much, you can always burn it off later!”  “Actually.. I really want to fit into that elephant-shaped speedo for the ladies at the beach this summer!”  “Dude, don’t worry about that.. They’re maple glazed!!” 

  2. Source: RAPT, a great book on managing your attention. 

Written by Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey has written hundreds of articles on the subject of productivity and is the author of two books: Hyperfocus and The Productivity Project. His books have been published in 27 languages. Chris writes about productivity on this site and speaks to organizations around the globe on how they can become more productive without hating the process.

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