How to Build Your Willpower
Have you noticed some days you have amazing focus whilst others, you just can’t stick to anything?
There are times when things seem to just flow, you know what you need to do, and you get on and do it. And then there are the frustrating times when you really want to do something and for whatever reason, you just don’t make it happen. You struggle and battle but still, you don’t achieve your goals.
It comes down to your willpower according to ‘Willpower’ by Roy F, Baumeister and John Tierney. They believe self-control (or willpower) is the secret to success. This book is highly recommended if you want to dig into the science behind willpower.
At the core of willpower is the ability to wait for satisfaction over achieving short-term gratification. The studies in the book show people with high levels of willpower make more progress in their lives are happier and healthier.
According to the authors, you start the day with a bucket of willpower. As the day goes on, your willpower gets used up so by the end of the day, it is depleted. This is where a lot of people fall off the wagon whether it’s mindlessly scrolling through social media or having an online shopping spree.
Willpower affects all aspects of our lives and gets used on all sorts of things including:
- Making decisions – we make hundreds every day!
- Focusing on work and stopping yourself from being distracted
- Working with clients and managing them and their issues
- Following restricted diets or exercise regimes
- Suppressing feelings such as not allowing yourself to cry at a sad film
- Stopping yourself from doing something you really want to do
To me, this makes perfect sense. When life is flowing easily, I look after myself and achieve my goals. Throw in a few of life’s challenges into the equation and my willpower wavers along with my achievements. It feels like I don’t have the capacity to keep everything going and old habits creep back in, usually the ones which aren’t useful!
Building your willpower muscle
Willpower is something you can build, just like a muscle. The more you practice willpower in one area of your life, it will have a positive effect on others.
Become aware of your triggers for when your willpower wains. This self-awareness will help you to prepare in advance, so you don’t need to make decisions on the spot.
Limit your decisions
Constantly making decisions whether they are at home or work will deplete your willpower. Limit the number you need to make by forward planning, here are a few examples:
- Have an editorial calendar for your marketing so you know exactly what you need to create. Here’s how you create one.
- Put your clothes out at night so you’re not thinking about what to wear in the morning.
- Have a meal plan so you don’t have to think about what to buy at the shops or cook for dinner.
Focus your willpower on achieving one big goal
If you are trying to eat healthily whilst writing your book and working long hours to get your practice up and running, something is going to give, and you will return to your old habits before you know it.
Take the pressure off and decide what your focus is, and you will find as you move forward on that goal, your willpower will improve in other areas too.
Keep motivated and engaged
Constantly reinforce what you want to achieve in the long term by having your goal or vision displayed where you see it regularly. Remember to celebrate each step of the way to reinforce how much progress you’re making and keep you motivated.
Build pockets of calm into your day and do whatever you enjoy relaxing whether it’s exercising, reading, or meditating. The downtime will help to recharge your willpower and keep you on track with your goal.
If you struggle with willpower, contact me to find out how I can help you stick to your goals and achieve more.