Is technology sabotaging you? – Tara Swart

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer, Tara Swart

From Psychology Today

From Fitbit to HeadSpace to budgeting app Mint, technology is often billed as the solution to sticking to our New Year’s resolutions. With 80% of resolutions failing by February, the ability to track our exercise, food, weight, spending, and meditation habits at our fingertips seems like a no-brainer.

But is technology actually making it harder for us to stick to our goals? What if we are embracing the very mechanism responsible for sabotaging our good intentions?

Technology is highly addictive, by design. In a recent BBC investigation, a former Silicon Valley insider said social media companies were sprinkling “behavioral cocaine” over smartphone apps, adding features that deliberately keep us addicted. If not kept in check, using a smartphone app with the goal of sticking to your resolution may tempt you to do other things, such as checking your social media accounts instead.

To adults, apps are as tempting as marshmallows are for kids. Succumbing means multitasking, but the vast majority of us cannot multitask effectively. Indeed, research shows it’s harmful to productivity. Plus, apps have made global connectivity ubiquitous, contributing to the “always-on” work culture. With the world at our fingertips, we’re suffering from information overload, even when trying to develop healthier habits. Consequently, our willpower is being drained.

Read the full post at Psychology Today.

Tara Swart, M.D., is a neuroscientist and psychiatrist. She is a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan, a visiting senior lecturer at Kings College, London, and the author of The Source: The Science of the Brain.

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