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Cookie Monster

I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of dark chocolate. It was probably the hardest thing for me to quit while I was doing my diet. I was on a diet where I basically wasn’t supposed to eat any carbs at all. I would sneak it in on really bad days at school and say “I will just make it up later.” I even researched different chocolates for hours one night trying to figure out how I could make dark chocolate a part of my lifestyle again. I ended up finding 100% dark cacao chocolate at Fresh Thyme and breaking the bark into “manageable” pieces and throwing them into an almond flour dough, just so I could say I had dark chocolate…It was disgusting…but I ate them anyways!

I know what you are thinking, “Seth, this better not be one of those blogs where I have to read the story about how you found the recipe hidden in the shoe of a dead Nazi while on an archeology dig in Argentina while working on your double-major in bakery science and finding Hitler.”

No. I promise this isn’t one of those. I find those exceptionally tedious; I mean, I want my cookies sooner rather than later because the sooner I have cookies, the sooner I am nicer to people again! So give me the freakin’ recipe already!!!

But if it was one of those tedious blog recipes, you would probably keep reading if you were even mildly interested in getting dark chocolate into your diet if you have been lost without it, right?! But if you knew there was no recipe, or it was for mashing up radishes and hoping they taste like mashed potatoes, you may be less inclined to read through this drivel.

In 1998, now famous psychologist Roy Baumeister did a study about self-control. Here is the basic layout of the study. Two groups of people were taken to a room that smelled of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Then, the monsters (read, scientists) even showed them the cookies before separating them into groups. Group A would get to eat the warm cookies and was told to resist a lukewarm bowl of radishes for a period of time. Group B would sit in the same fragrant cookie dungeon as Group A, but they were told not to eat the cookies and only eat the radishes instead.

Both these groups were then given an impossible puzzle to solve while the time passed. In the study, it was discovered that the people in Group A would spend twice as much time trying to solve the puzzle as the people in Group B. Group B was so tired from resisting the chocolate chip cookies that they didn’t have the resiliency to give a lot of effort on the puzzle. The theory that came from this was that we have a finite amount of self-control, some less than others, and eventually it will run out- if we don’t replenish ourselves. Therefore, making whenever you wake up in the morning your “peak” point of resilience,

One of the principles that I have tried to begin gleaning from this study is that if I am working towards a goal in something in my life, I need to do that at the time that I will be the most resilient. The morning. Early. Maybe really early.

I am yet to get up at the time I want (5 AM), but I am slowly waking up sooner. I am beginning to realize that there are things I want to accomplish today and at 5 AM is when I will have the most willpower to do it. For instance, I want to exercise this summer, but if I wait until 9 PM it doesn’t happen because I have lost the willpower to do so due to the fact it got used up throughout the day on other parts of life. We all have things that drain on our resilience; we have kids or jobs or spouses or in-laws or Professional Development or secret societies that are an obligation in our lives. Things that we may love, but drain us of our resiliency to be awesome in a way that we may not yet be awesome.

I am going to shoot for 5 AM every day this week. If that isn’t your thing, try it at a different time. But you are way more likely to retain the resiliency to become awesome if it’s at a time when other obligations are less likely to get in the way. I realize that it’s summer, and we all want to stay up late and sleep in, but let me ask you this: When else in your life are you truly more able to do what needs to be accomplished for yourself than at 5 AM? Hayden isn’t asking me about why we have nipples at 5 AM. Braden isn’t adding his own brand of feng shui to the house at 5 AM. The dog isn’t pooping on the carpet then, debt collectors aren’t calling, my honey-do list is yet to start at 5AM…NOBODY NEEDS ME AT 5 AM! So take back YOUR time! Even if it is just a half-hour before everybody gets up to read or play video games or swim or workout or train for the Iditarod (entries close on June 30th! You still have time! http://iditarod.com/resources/mushers/). Whatever and whenever it is, reclaim 30 minutes to yourself this summer and recharge yourself. Build the resiliency that you need to have for next year. Bank it! We are going to need it in August!

Thank you so much for reading!

Seth Tripp