It's so easy to convince yourself that two heads are better than one and, if you and your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse team up, you can tackle any goal. Fitness, finances, home improvement—no matter the task, together you'll be unstoppable!
Haha, guess again. There's a reason the dishes just keep festering right there in the sink.
Time reports on a recent study out of Boston College. It appears that, despite all your wonderful intentions regarding dusting, salads and money-saving, your motivation as a unit sinks to the level of whoever's got less get-up-and-go:
"Self-control is essentially a social enterprise," writes Hristina Dzhogleva, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston College and lead author of the new paper. In a series of experiments with both real couples and lab simulations, the researchers found that the people with higher self-control tend to cave and give into the more indulgent preferences of their partners in order to keep peace in the relationships.
If you're both terrifyingly motivated healthy cooks who never ever order takeout, go ahead and shell out for that CSA share. But sadly, you just can't borrow your spouse's strange willingness to swim laps at 6 a.m. The paper concludes that, "Higher self-control individuals should be wary of partnering with low self- control individuals," adding it "may negate their innate advantages in pursuing long-term goals." Ah, romance!
Of course, if you're equally lacking in motivation, you might as well splurge for that joint gym membership. Maybe sitting around staring at your mirror image sitting around will serve as a reminder.
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