Willpower – The power to reach your goals
Willpower is the power you have to make wise decisions and use your self-control.
Our willpower is not limitless. It affects our self-control and the more decisions we have to make, the less willpower we will have, especially if the decisions are difficult or unpleasant. This is why it is often harder to make good choices when we are stressed or tired. For example, it is usually harder to resist the urge to eat junk food after a stressful or busy day at work.
Your willpower is like a muscle. Just like your body gets tired after you exercise, you will have less willpower when you have to make lots of decisions and exert self-control.
Here’s the good news. You can train your willpower, like you can train your body in the gym. By making positive changes in certain areas of your life and exerting self-control, you can get into the habit of making good decisions.
So how can you both save your willpower and train it? You can reach your goals more easily when they are achievable and you have enough willpower to motivate yourself.
Tips to boost your willpower
Willpower is not limitless and it takes time to develop your willpower. Focus on changing one or two things about your lifestyle at a time. After you’ve made some changes successfully, you will feel positive and motivated to change more.
Just Do it!
Procrastination, putting off something you’re supposed to be doing, may reduce stress in the short term, but will create more stress later. Put the easy and short tasks at the top of your to-do-list. Getting these done will help you to get focused and make you feel more motivated to tackle the longer and more challenging tasks.
Be Healthy and Positive
Our willpower depends on our mental energy. This is why we sometimes crave things more when we feel weak or low. Eating healthily, being active and sleeping will make you feel fresher and fitter, boosting your willpower and making it easier to make wise choices. Also, being positive and rewarding yourself for progress will lift your mood and boost your willpower.
Avoid Willpower Battles
A willpower battle is where we know what we should or want to do, but find it so difficult to make the right choice. Plan ahead to try to avoid temptations during these times. For example, if you crave snacks after a long day at work, do your best to avoid them. Prepare your dinner ahead of time and don’t keep snacks easily available. Although it is difficult to avoid temptations, small changes like these will boost your willpower. Use times when you do feel motivated and energetic to do more difficult or important tasks.
Plan for failure, to succeed!
This is the last but probably most important tip. It is difficult to truly know how we will feel in the future and our brains are wired to seek short term gratification. This is a big reason why our goals sometimes fail. Plan how you will reach your goals and change your habits (learn how to on our goal setting and habit pages).
Check out our other life posts