If you want to make changes in your life you need to build willpower to make it happen. Your willpower is your internal resolve – the muscle you use to change the habits that are causing you to make bad decisions or bad outcomes.
These bad habits are for the most part automatic and run by your sub conscious self, named System One by Daniel Kahneman in his excellent book ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow.’ You use your willpower to break them and introduce the new habits that lead to better behaviour.
Your willpower helps you manage your self-control to resist temptation rather than give in to negative or destructive behaviours. This willpower is therefore important in enabling you to automatically resist distractions or diversions to achieve your chosen outcomes, which in itself is an important feature of those who are mentally tough. As this self-control is subconscious, you need to build willpower that is strong enough to automatically override any temptation.
However, if your willpower isn’t strong enough the good news is that you can build willpower so that it becomes so, by changing the brain’s neural pathways to those that lead to more productive and beneficial behaviours.
Here are 4 quick ways you can build willpower:
1. Constantly reinforce to yourself the benefits of achieving your goals
By constantly reminding yourself of the reasons you wish to achieve your goals, you strengthen your desire to achieve them, which in turn makes it easier to resist your temptations. These reminders may be through using your inner voice or writing notes or using a fridge magnet or similar. Whatever method you use, simply by being repetitive in wanting more self control, you will develop greater will power to achieve it over time. In this way it is like a physical muscle.
2. Willpower and self control are incremental
Interestingly developing your willpower in one area has an incremental influence in helping you to more easily develop it in another and so make beneficial changes elsewhere. This is helpful where you face a multitude of problems and don’t know where to start. By focusing your willpower in solving one problem you can more easily develop the willpower to solve a host of problems.
3. Stay nourished
An effective way to strengthen or at least conserve willpower is to ensure that you don’t get too hungry, because low sugar levels lead to a lack of concentration and self-control. Therefore when it’s important for you to have willpower and self-control then you should also ensure that you have eaten properly and that your blood sugar levels are adequate.
4. Maintain your positive mindset
Your willpower and self-control will fail you at times and mistakes will be made. However don’t “beat yourself up “ and be negative because this self-criticism leads to decreased motivation and a further lack of self-control. Instead, stay positive and focused and in control for the next assignment like a sea wall ready for the onslaught of the next spring tide.
For more on how to build willpower and mental toughness contact us.