Some theorists, like my friend Roy Baumeister, believe that self-control is a general trait. My experience with weight-loss versus exercise belies this. I have weighed 95 kg for the last twenty years, and I have dieted a dozen times only to return to 95 kg each time, usually after losing about 5 kg. No self-control? Hardly. Eighteen months ago I took up walking, knowing that 10,000 steps per day halves cardiac risk for someone my age and with my profile of risk. I have walked an average of 14,000 steps per day ever since and my New Year’s resolution is 5,000,000 steps in 2009. I am well on track to my goal. So self-control is for me highly domain specific. For you?
Martin Seligman is Fox Leadership Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He founded the field of positive psychology in 2000 and has published over 20 books and 200 articles on motivation and personality. In 2002 he was named among the 100 most influential psychologists of the twentieth century by the Review of General Psychology.
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