Is there a way to strengthen your willpower? Research says that willpower is like a muscle, which gets tired from overuse and requires food to replenish. With the right practices, willpower can be improved just like any other muscle in the body.
Although this goal is difficult in the short-term, it eventually will be easier to say no to distractions & wasteful thoughts. Once you make up your mind, you can make it to the gym and stick with your long-term goals!
Here are 10 simple things you can inculcate in your daily life to strengthen your willpower. You might not be able to make room for all these, with the strict study schedule you follow, but try to be as inclusive as possible. It will help a lot!
1. WORK ON YOUR POSTURE
Every time you find yourself slouching, sit up straight. This seemingly-trivial practice can improve your perseverance. To get started, simply correct your posture every time you catch yourself slouching at work or home. When you buckle up, you’re essentially doing “one rep” with your willpower muscle.
2. 10 MINUTES OF MEDITATION
Meditation will give you faster results than any other willpower workouts. It helps you train the brain to focus and resist the urge to wander. Our brain loves to flow like an aimless river. It wants to believe that anything and everything is exciting. During meditation, the goal is to resist these urges. By placing your attention on your breath, you are training the brain to become more focused and disciplined. The more you practice resisting your brain’s urge to wander, the easier it will be to resist other temptations in your life as well. If you can control your thoughts, you will be more likely to control your diet, productivity and exercise routine as well.
3. MAINTAIN A FOOD DIARY
Research says that those who kept a food diary managed to improve their willpower. Most of us don’t make a note of the food we eat, so it takes willpower to keep track of it all.
4. USE YOUR OPPOSITE HAND
Using the opposite hand is a difficult task and doesn’t come naturally to anybody. Your brain is wired to use your dominant hand, so it takes willpower to use the opposite one.
5. CORRECT YOUR SPEECH
Another test that the researchers conducted was to change the subjects’ natural speech. It includes resisting the urge to use swear words, or to say “hello” instead of “hey”. Again, it takes willpower to consciously go against your instincts. It doesn’t matter how much you correct your speech; you’ve succeeded as long as you change your natural speech habits. Keep some time for this practice and choose the words you will change.
6. CREATE AND MEET SELF-IMPOSED DEADLINES
Anyone who remembers their college days, remembers what it was like cramming for a test or finishing a last-minute paper. Your willpower gets taxed as you try to tune out distractions and become hyper-productive. Using this same principle, researchers found that by creating self-imposed deadlines, you can work your willpower in the same way. Simply pick a task on your to-do list that you may have been putting off. Set a deadline for accomplishing it, and make sure you adhere to it.
7. BE MORE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR AUTOMATIC DECISIONS
The final exercise is to simply be more mindful of your decisions throughout the day. We are often so lost in thoughts, that our actions become automatic. Taking time to think about why you are making your daily decisions, will increase your ability to focus and resist temptations.
Try to understand yourself in an automatic behavior moment and ask yourself why you are doing it. This may be questioning why you are eating cereal instead of eggs for breakfast, or it may be questioning why exactly you put 2 tsp of sugar in your coffee.
8. SQUEEZE A HAND GRIP
For the truly determined, who want to increase their perseverance, squeeze a hand grip until you feel exhausted. If you’ve ever squeezed one before, you know that it gives you a deep forearm burn. So, it takes willpower to keep squeezing. Simply get a hand grip, and squeeze it with each hand. Continuing squeezing even when it hurts, will increase your perseverance.
9. CARRY SOMETHING TEMPTING IN YOUR BAG
Increase your ability to say “no” by carrying around something tempting with you all day. First, learn how to resist a craving. Then carry something small but tempting with you. It doesn’t need to be for an entire day, but for long enough that you will be truly tempted. By consistently saying “no”, you will increase your ability to resist other temptations and ignore distractions!
10.KEEP TRACK OF YOUR SPENDING
Most of us neither track the food that we eat nor our spending habits. Even if you don’t cut back on spending – which would also be a willpower workout – researchers found that keeping track of where your money went will improve your willpower. To get started, try using a budgeting app like Mint. By simply reviewing this on a regular basis, you will see an improvement in your focus and ability to resist temptations like sweets.
Like all muscles in the body, willpower can be strengthened too. You don’t need to try all the techniques at once. Determine which workout seems practical and effective for the goal you want to achieve and get going.