What would you do if you had more willpower? Most of us would go to the gym more and stop eating sugar! So how do we get more of it?
Control your thoughts and attention
Willpower is learning which thoughts to listen to and which to ignore. Adults can develop willpower by exercising self-restraint repeatedly on a small task. Ignore the ‘hot’ voice telling you to give in and choose the ‘cooler’ background voice. This become a habit and you no longer have to make a conscious choice.
Focus on the pleasures of the task
It’s much easier to stick to something if you enjoy it. According to Professor Inzlicht in Toronto this is because willpower isn’t a loss of self-control. It’s a shift in priorities from what you “ought to do” from what you “want to do. Surely there’s a great reason to find the right gym and enjoyable exercise?
The brain needs a steady supply of glucose to perform at its best. Keep your blood-sugar level constant by eating small healthy meals throughout the day. A glass of lemonade worked for many people in one study. Getting enough rest also helps avoid brain fatigue.
Divide your tasks up
Tough jobs are easier to tackle in small chunks. Give yourself a nearby finishing- point and suddenly you’ve got that extra whoosh of willpower. For example, rather than forcing yourself to use the treadmill for 30 minutes, commit to 10 minutes and then change machines.
Enlisting support from others boosts your willpower. Talk to your friends and gym instructors. Even consider investing in a personal trainer if you’re really struggling. Use internet forums and read professional advice.
Visualise your goals
Picturing your goal is powerful way to get rid of unwanted habits, or start new ones. Many top athletes use visualisation as a way to improve their performance under pressure. Try imagining willpower as a colour which is pouring into you, raising your willpower ‘level’.
Feeling that willpower raging now? Go grab yourself a gym pass!
Derek - it sounds like you've got a lot of drive and that's no bad thing. maybe you can use the tips above to learn to relax more? Give yourself mini-breaks away from pushing yourself, visualise relaxing and doing not much, focusing on the pleasure of doing nothing etc.....just an idea
What if you've got too much willpower?? I keep being told I just need to ease up and relax a bit...
This can all help at the gym. I would definitely agree with the dividing tasks up. I can handle doing more lifts if I count up in sets of 5s, not just aiming for a straight 30.
an article on willpower that recommends eating something! What a refreshing change. The starve and binge cycle of diets is not only useless, but makes the dieter a real pain to be around. Do your colleagues a favour, don't diet!
Visualising is my preferred method from the list. If I picture myself lifting more than I've ever lifted then it spurs me onto to actually achieving it. One day maybe anyway - I don't think I'll be entering The World's Strongest Man any time soon.
A bit of willpower is a good thing, but I also quite enjoy falling off the wagon occasionally. If my willpower was better I probably wouldn't drink quite as many pints at the weekend. But then, it's what I enjoy!