People often behave as if they possess multiple selves with different, competing interests.
The want-self is myopic and desires instant gratification.
If left to its own devices, the want-self would always act on immediate, visceral desires (e.g., spending instead of saving money, eating junk food instead of health food).
The should-self, on the other hand, prefers to behave in a way that will maximize long-run benefits.
If left to its own devices, the should-self would always act on behalf of an individual's long-term best interests (e.g., saving money or donating it to a good cause instead of spending frivolously, eating health food instead of junk food).
Understanding the 'Want' vs. 'Should' Decision in the 16 July issue of Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge.