Take in a Saturday matinee or put in a shift at the soup kitchen? Buy a louder sound system or donate a bigger chunk to charity? Inhale a box of Fruity Pebbles or fletcherize a bowl of bran? The ancient struggle between what we want to do and what we should do besets our species at every turn. And in the clinch, virtue often loses to desire.

But researchers Todd Rogers and Max H. Bazerman have discovered one way to help people choose their shoulds over their wants: Don’t make them act now....

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