10 Ways To Pump Up Your Willpower
We may have been super-inspired by the incredible benefits of exercise, or had every intention to start an exercise plan… but then we didn’t. “I’ll exercise tomorrow” is what we tell ourselves.
This is all comes down to willpower. Some of us are stronger than others as we battle the temptations life throws at us every day. If you’re feeling like you’re losing control, check out these 10 ways you can boost your willpower:
Adults should be getting around seven to eight hours of kip a night. Sleep deprivation makes us vulnerable to temptation. Self-control takes a lot of brain power and when we are tired; our bodies struggle to deliver enough glucose to our brain for it to keep our willpower engine ticking over. If you find yourself caught up in the midday slump, trade that extra injection of caffeine for a nap.
Our body needs a bit of every food group, including sugars and fats. Science has also revealed a clear correlation between depleted willpower and low blood sugar. Just remember, keep the portions reasonable – rewarding yourself along your exercise journey is great for motivation.
Let’s be honest – none of us are perfect. There are going to be times when we slip a little on our healthy lifestyle goal, regardless of how important we think they are. Instead of beating yourself up about it, remind yourself of all the times you’ve gotten it right. Staying optimistic is far more constructive in maintaining healthy habits and stronger willpower than criticizing.
Devise a strategy for the temptations you will be facing each day. Also, keep track of your progress in a diary or notepad. This is great for immediate motivation and on the days when you feel yourself faltering, you can look back at your log for a mental boost. Gaining a few pounds one week isn’t the end of the world if your chart shows a downward slope for the previous six months.
We can’t control – or predict – the surprise stresses that come into our lives. This is why we need to take advantage of the quieter moments. Things such as quitting smoking, drinking or starting a new diet are all best done when there isn’t much demand from work or other parts of our lives.
In times of struggle, remind yourself of why you started this process and question if it’s worth throwing it away after weeks of progress. Also, split what you really want from what you think you should want.
For example, you may tell friends I’m exercising so I can be a good role model for my children (what I should want). However, what you really want is to feel comfortable and healthy in a smaller pair of jeans. Research has shown that less moralistic motives tend to be more effective.
Your willpower needs to be constantly challenged in order to become stronger, just like muscles in the body. Persistent self-control converts into automatic behavior, so going through the motions of defying certain temptations eventually becomes second nature. Make sure to push yourself a little bit each day to improve your willpower not just in the short-term, but also to improve your reserve capacity in the long-term.
Sit up straight and focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders you’ll be building willpower when you notice that your mind has wandered. As mental experts point out, when you become aware of what you are doing you’re engaging the part of brain that you need for willpower, rather than letting impulses take over. Meditation helps engage self-awareness and strengthen self-control.
When procrastinators are bored or anxious, they are likely to give in to urges in order to boost their mood. In reality though, these people are just fooling themselves and end up suffering from willpower-depleting stress when they discover the results of their actions. We actually posted an article about this earlier this week which is well worth a read.
One of the best ways to fend off impulse urges is to ask yourself how your current decision will affect your goals in the long run. Visualizing success can often be just the encouragement needed to keep your willpower going. Push yourself past the “I don’t want to do this right now” mindset into the “But I’ll feel so much better afterwards” mentality.
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About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.