Occasionally, it is tempting to slump on the couch, turn on the television, dial out for a Chinese food or pizza, grab an alcoholic beverage, and go ‘home shopping’ on the iPad (maybe with money you do not have), and indulge.
However, the majority of the time, to make every day successful, we must discover the strength to do the right thing. We require willpower.
What is willpower?
As we speak of willpower we utilize terms such as ‘determination’ and ‘grit’. However, to comprehend willpower it is useful to see how psychologists and scientists explain it:
The capability of delaying gratification, resisting short-range temptations to meet long-range objectives.
What is the importance of willpower?
The strength of willpower is closely connected with your capability of succeeding. It’s more important than knowledge and intelligence. We know this from a number of psychological studies, which date back to the ‘marshmallow test’ initially performed in the 1960s. Researchers at Stanford tested the willpower of four year-olds by providing them an option of treats, which included marshmallows. They could consume one marshmallow immediately, or wait and consume two marshmallows later. Around 30 percent resisted the temptation and obtained the reward of two marshmallows. Years later, the researchers tracked the participants down in high school.
The four year-olds who possessed the strength to resist temptation and delay gratification became high school students who had substantially higher SAT scores and high school grades (they were additionally better able to sustain friendships and possessed a higher ability to ‘handle significant problems’.
Five ways to strengthen willpower
Put away obvious temptations
Researchers have compared willpower to a muscle (studies show that the strength of our willpower will diminish if we must constantly use it). Do not tire yourself out with avoidable and obvious distractions. Put away snacks, instead of leaving them on the table. Take beer out of the refrigerator and put it away inside a pantry. Save up your strength for when it will matter most.
Plan out moves
Utilize a ‘what if” model in order to prepare ahead and anticipate times when your willpower is challenged. For instance: ‘What if I am offered coffee and dessert?’ Determine in advance how you will react: ‘Okay, I’ll order an espresso and fruit platter; this will keep my calorie consumption on track.’ Preparing ahead will make for wise use of your willpower.
Concentrate on one challenge
Your list of New Year’s resolutions seldom works because your willpower is spread around too many challenges. It is better to concentrate on one challenge, build the right routines and habits up in one concentrated area, and move on to a different challenge. As we’re feeling motivated to change it is tempting to say ‘All right, I am going to change this and that’, yet resist, pick a single challenge, and concentrate your efforts for maximum results.
Do it for yourself, not other people
Studies prove that our willpower is stronger as we are taking action for ourselves, instead of having change imposed upon us. For instance: it might be that your spouse wants you to stop smoking. That is good, yet to provide yourself the ideal opportunity at success, you first must identify all of the reasons why you wish to stop smoking. If you do it for yourself, rather than trying to please someone else, you will be more likely to succeed.
Often and little
Similar to a muscle, it is possible to strengthen your willpower with the proper exercise routine. Too much and you will become burned out and exhausted, too little and you will under-achieve. Establish challenges which are suitable, accomplish small wins, and gradually build up your strength over time.