Bauer Business Focus

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Vanessa Patrick | January 6, 2012

Published on January 4, 2012

Vanessa Patrick, a marketing professor at the C. T. Bauer College of Business, stopped by Bauer Business Focus recently to discuss her forthcoming research on resisting temptation.

On Bauer Business Focus — A conversation on keeping those resolutions and saying “I don’t” to temptation with Andrew Schneider, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.

With a new year comes many new resolutions of quitting bad habits, becoming healthier, or trying new things. Good intentions aside, by February, many waver in keeping their resolutions and cave to the temptations, but with the help of research from Vanessa Patrick, Bauer Associate Professor at the University of Houston’s C. T. Bauer College of Business, nailing those resolutions may be easier than you think.

“We are told that when we are faced with temptation to just say no, but it’s not that easy,” Patrick said. “This research looks at the different ways of saying no, and comes up with a strategy that’s really simple, extremely easy to implement, using what we call empowered refusal.”

Patrick’s research focuses on using the phrase “I don’t”, which “is empowered refusal because saying that ‘I don’t do this’ is saying this is me as a person.” She adds that using phrases like “I can’t” signals deprivation and causes you to succumb to your temptation quicker, as opposed to using the more self-aware “I don’t.”

“We have to strategically make a choice of words for our refusal and have to learn to start saying ‘I don’t.’ ‘I don’t eat chocolate cake, I don’t eat fast food, I don’t take the elevator,’ and all of these things, the words, become this verbal feedback that allow us to feel empowered and become part of us. We are more likely to be able to stick with our resolutions if we use words like ‘I don’t’.”

Click here to hear the full interview.

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