Developing willpower is very similar to building body muscles. Firstly, willpower can be trained - whenever you use willpower, even it is for a small cause, you are indeed training your muscles of willpower. This will, in turn, enable your overall willpower to grow.
Secondly, just like overworking your body, you should be careful not to exhaust your willpower. If you overuse it, it will somewhat get tired and have a hard time serving you.
Here are 7 Most Popular and Good Habits to Develop Willpower
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1. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."(Benjamin Franklin)
As we already discussed, when you are exhausted in general and you lack energy, your willpower is also not at its optimum.
In fact, research showed that when you’re tired, less blood is allocated for the higher energy requirements of your brain. Mechanisms that are responsible for self-control are especially affected.
This is because when the body is low on energy, important biological needs are given more importance than advanced traits such as willpower. Therefore, if you're tired and haven’t had have enough sleep, you'll have a hard time maintaining your willpower and resisting temptations.
2. Make Rules To Reduce The Necessity Of Decisions.
Whenever you need to make a decision, you spend some part of your mental energy on this process. This, in turn, tires you (even if it is little) and leaves fewer resources to boost your willpower.
Therefore, wherever you can eliminate the number of decisions you need to make, the more resources you will be able to save for your willpower.
Here is an interesting fact –
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, decided to wear the same clothes every day to eliminate the number of decisions he needed to make.
You too can come up with rules like this for different aspects of your life. For example, you can decide to spend a certain amount of time every morning to exercise. This will, in turn, save you time from deciding for or against exercise every morning.
It's been proven that meditation increases your brain capacity for self-control and willpower.
4. Be Careful About Who You Surround Yourself With
Research has shown that the chances for you to become overweight, alcoholic, or a chain smoker are directly proportionate to the number of people in your surrounding who do the same things.
Therefore, it's a lot easier to follow the “right path” when you're surrounded by like-minded people. In contrast, if the people around you are on the “wrong path,” it will take more energy and willpower for you to do remain on the “right track.”
5. Use A Planner
Plan your day in advance. Create a list of tasks or things you're going to do during the day. As you go through the day, all you will have to do is just stick to your plan without second-guessing or spending time deciding. This will conserve a lot of energy as you will not have to spend time analysing the tasks on your to-do list again.
6. Be Decisive
Make decisions quickly with no second-guessing. The second biggest enemy of your willpower (after temptations) is your doubts. When you have doubts, they suck your mental energy out leaving no power for your will.
Therefore, it is always a great idea to reduce the number of doubts that you have. This way, you will make decisions quickly without second-guessing.
As a chess grandmaster, I've spent a lot of time studying decision making processes. I've also tried a lot of things myself. What I found is that very often your very first intuition is actually the best one.
Often times, after spending a considerable amount of time for thinking, we may not be able to come up with anything better than your initial intuitive decision.
You may notice that there are a lot of people who say that they are thinking. They think so much and not do anything in the end. Doubts are probably the root cause of their inaction. The transition between thinking and acting should be relatively quick. If you make a rule for yourself to be decisive, you will be in the small percentage of the top performers in this world.
“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” – Tony Robbins (motivational speaker)
7. If You Stumble, Find The Trigger
Even though you've learned many ways to develop your will power, there may be times where you fall at the prey of temptations. Usually, we start becoming upset about this and start blaming ourselves for our “lack of willpower.”
However, falling at the prey of temptations is absolutely normal. In fact, we are innately ingrained (over millions of years of evolution) to make decisions that give us immediate gratification.
For example, if one saw food, the best decision that one could make was to actually go ahead and eat it right away because there were no refrigerators and one could never predict when this opportunity would appear again in the future.
Nowadays, of course, the situation has changed. Yet, it is hard to override our innate biological tendencies.
Therefore, there is no need to blame yourself. It is totally fine. But what you can do is - find the trigger! Find the root cause that made you stumble. Next time, you can make sure to be aware of this trigger and stay away from it.
For example, let's say you could not resist having a late night snack. Analyse the situation rationally without emotions. Understand what the reason for it was.
Maybe it was that you were tired - as we discussed earlier, when you're tired, your willpower to is at its lowest. Or maybe there was simply too long a gap between your last meal. What was it that triggered you to act against your best wishes?
Finding the trigger will make sure that you will be aware and k know how to fight the same in the future.
P.S I'm curious to know the ways that you used to maintain your will power and to resist temptation. If you know other ways that are not listed in this article, please write it down in the comments section below.