5 Techniques To Boost Willpower
“I’m starting Monday.” Surely you’ve thought this, more than once. Whether it comes to losing weight, quitting smoking, or starting a project (business, study, etc.) it’s easy to decide set a start date; the complicated part comes around when you need willpower to keep going.
Motivation and your good intentions can dissipate with time. Laziness, lack of conviction or lack of support can be cause our willpower to wane, when what we really need to do is stay strong.
What you need to know about willpower
There are two important things you need to know about willpower:
- Willpower is a finite resource. Willpower can run out. When we exert effort in one area, we have less willpower to focus on other things.
- Willpower is like a muscle. It has to be trained and strengthened. If it isn’t, if it becomes atrophied, and even though it’s possible to rev it up again, it’s very difficult to do. In this sense, we can say that willpower is trainable.
Why is willpower important?
Willpower is the force behind turning your intentions into reality. Willpower helps us overcome inertia. When we believe we lack willpower, our self-esteem drops, we replace doing with fantasizing, and we think about what we’ll do in the future when we succeed in that one thing we weren’t capable of doing, as if thinking about it was going to make it happen. But that’s not how it works, and nothing will ever get done if we don’t take the necessary measures.
How to train your willpower
To train your willpower effectively and cause it to grow increasingly, follow these techniques:
1. Recognize the limits of your willpower
There are situations where we need all the willpower we’ve got. And in those moments, we decide to put all hands on deck to do everything we’ve ever dreamed of: go to the gym, lose a bunch of weight, quit smoking, read a book in a week, start a blog and write posts every day, cook every day, spend more time with family…the list goes on.
That was exhausting to read, don’t you think? Imagine what it would be like to put do start it all up in one day.
Projects need to be started up one at a time. You’ve been needing to do it and thinking about it for years. No matter how much energy you currently feel, if keeping it up for one task is hard, imagine trying it with two or more.
2. Start small
Even just one project can sometimes be too much to handle. Beginning a small phase of the project will help you keep that initial drive going, and start getting you used to the idea. It’s like going to the gym, and giving your all the first day. A day or two later, you’ll barely even be able to move; much less exercise.
When you finish a goal within your project, move on to the next level. Little by little, you’ll start to integrate that newfound habit into your life, by making smaller efforts that are easier to maintain.
3. Avoid negative influences
There will always be lots of people waiting to tell you that you can’t do something or that it’s not for you. Envy is powerful; people aren’t capable of accepting that other people can do what they can’t or won’t do.
Get rid of those “energy vampires” that feed off others to justify their miserable existence. You have to face people that try to drag you into their drama and negativity.
4. Make a plan
Any task that requires a great amount of willpower must be considered in context. To prepare and get set before starting your new routine, it’s a good idea to plan a dedicated time to getting yourself settled, and getting all the mental energy you need.
Meditation or any activity that helps to calm you and helps you find yourself will help you recharge and prepare your body and mind to face the oncoming challenge.
5. Remember your “why”
When we take a path, it’s easy to stay on it if we know that what we’re doing fits into our core values. In determining what our core values are, we’re less likely to act on impulse. When we do things impulsively, we stop thinking and start acting emotionally.