Remember the Consequences (Achievement Nudge about Better Control)

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Bill Truby

It’s Thanksgiving. You’re stuffed. Yet you go back for seconds AND eat a huge piece of pumpkin pie for dessert. As you lay on the couch watching football and rubbing your Buddha belly, wondering which is worse, the pain in your gut or the pain in your conscience, you ask yourself, “WHY did I do that!?!?”

Achieve Better Control by Remembering More Than What You Remember

When you go for seconds, eat the dessert you shouldn’t have, order “one more drink,” or watch one more movie when you’re dead tired and really should get some sleep – you do it because your body has taken over instead of your conscience mind.

Research shows that when our five senses encounter something in the present that was pleasurable in the past, there is a flood of mood-lifting and pain-avoiding neurochemicals released into the pleasure center of our brain. It happens with anything that gave us significant enjoyment in our past, from salty foods, to gambling, to sex. And when these chemicals are released, we experience an altered state called “anticipatory pleasure.”

During this altered state, we experience bodily sensations in anticipation of the pleasure we are about to receive. The subconscious mind remembers the past experience and triggers everything from mouthwatering to tingles in anticipation of having the same experience again. And this altered state is strong, so strong that it’s difficult to say “no” to such a powerful desire.

But some do. How do they do it?

Those who can say “no” are people who take a CONSCIOUS look at the past pleasurable event. They see it AND the RESULTS of the event. Those who can’t (or don’t) say “no” to the anticipatory pleasure response, are people who remember the pleasurable event, but not the consequences. It’s what addicts experience: they are only able to remember one aspect – the pleasurable experience, but not the consequences.

For the addict, the consequences of the addictive substance or behavior are completely ignored when getting “the fix.” It’s only when the “anticipatory pleasure” has been satisfied that they have regret. But by then, it’s too late.

This Nudge is NOT saying that pleasure is bad or the “anticipatory pleasure” state is negative. Whether it is salty food, gambling, sex or any other pleasure, it is absolutely fantastic to have the FULL experience of (1) the “anticipatory pleasure” state, (2) the choice to indulge, (3) the pleasure of the event and (4) the joy of reliving the experience in your memory. THIS Nudge is to help with the choices we make that cause regret. Here’s what you can do.

It’s simple…regret comes when we remember the pleasure, but we don’t remember the consequences. To prevent this, anytime you feel the body responses associated with “anticipatory pleasure,” stop and allow your conscious mind to speak. Ask, “Last time, I really enjoyed ‘X,’ but what were the consequences?” The answer will be your conscious mind speaking, not the voice of your pleasure center.

Dessert anyone?

Bill Truby

Founder and President of Truby Achievements