“The other reason that it’s difficult to resist temptation is because it’s an unequal battle between the present self and the future self. I mean, let’s face it, the present self is present. It’s in control. It’s in power right now. It has these strong, heroic arms that can lift doughnuts into your mouth. And the future self is not even around. It’s off in the future. It’s weak. It doesn’t even have a lawyer present. There’s nobody to stick up for the future self. And so the present self can trounce all over its dreams.”
Goldstein has come up with some interesting ways of balancing the power between present and future self that go beyond commitment devices (tying oneself to the mast) and into visualization of outcomes.
The scholarly articles behind Goldstein’s talk are available on his website: http://www.dangoldstein.com/