All of us use willpower everyday to some extent to make decisions. By waking up extra early in the morning to work out or study, by not buying those expensive shoes, or by deciding to forgo that unhealthy snack sitting right in front of you so readily available. All of these need willpower so that the better and tougher option can be implemented. We’re faced with so many temptations through the day that can actually drain our willpower and test our self control.
“Any act that requires self-control requires willpower,” explains Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, a professor of psychology at Florida State University and a coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.
The problem is that we only have a certain amount of willpower on a daily basis and it is much easier to practice it at the beginning of the day than at the end.
Willpower tends to be strongest when we have more energy and that’s why it’s so important eat healthy and often. It sort of works like any other muscle in the body, it can be fatigued through overuse, but it can also be strengthened to make you a more productive, less stressed, and happier person.
Whatever your goals are, get ready to reach them with these simple tips to strengthen your willpower muscle on a daily basis so you can be at your very best.
Find your focus
From our cell phones going off every few minutes to the TV blaring, we live in a very noisy world. Working on shutting out that extra ruckus can sometimes use up all our willpower. It’s a good idea to find a quiet place to do your work and shut off any outside distractions when trying to focus.
Eat your energy
It’s much easier to practice self control when you have the right kind of energy that can only come from eating healthy meals and snacks. This will help stabilize blood sugar levels and make it easier to say no to junk food. Good eating habits will help keep you sharp and focused all day. For best results eat light meals every 4 hours to keep the energy flowing all day. Of course get the right amount of sleep every night as well, or you will be too drained to practice self control the next day.
Cutting down on the number of decisions that have to be made will actually help your willpower muscle get stronger, since you won’t be overusing it. Plan your meals, workouts, events, outfits, and office work for the week and write it down!! Having some form of a planner or to-do list can really take the stress off of having to remember every single little thing yourself. Finish everything set on your planner for the day and you will find yourself procrastinating less.
Reward yourself well and often
Incentives can work wonders for a person. Set goals for yourself and if you reach them, treat yourself in some way but have it planned out. Working towards your goals with a reward in mind can give you the motivation you need to get the task done.
Practice makes perfect
You have to put in the time just like anything else you want to get good at. Practice willpower daily in different areas of your life to strengthen that willpower muscle and make it better. With time, you’ll realize that it gets much easier. A good way of remembering is placing plenty of reminders of your goals wherever you are.
Take these tips and put them into action so you can have strong willpower too. You need it to turn your goals into reality so start today!!
Adapted from Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, by the psychologist Dr. Roy F. Baumeister and the New York Times journalist John Tierney. It is out now, from Penguin Press ($27).