Will Power… How to Improve Willpower
Have you ever thought…
“Man! I wish I had more willpower! Then, I could resist that cookie or I could motivate myself to get up early and workout!”
Like other skills, how much willpower a person has varies based on your genetic makeup and a combination of many other factors like your upbringing, parents and schooling. Regardless though of whether you have demonstrated high or low levels of willpower in the past, I have some good news for you on your journey to lose weight. Will power is not something reserved for those few, super strong people that seem to have it all together. If you want to know how to improve willpower, think of it as a skill that the more you use, the better you get. With practice you can become a willpower… well, power house!
Here are my personal secrets that I follow to increase my own willpower:
How to Improve Willpower tip #1 – Recognize that you have the power
…you just need the practice. As a mental muscle that can be strengthened with practice, the more often you use your willpower the more will power you have over time. Research also shows that improving your will power and developing healthy habits in one area of your life will bleed over into others. For example, if you begin flexing those willpower muscles by consistently going to the gym and you make that into a healthy habit, you may find it easier to stick to a budget or to give up smoking. Even though the two habits are not connected specifically (exercise and budget) you are setting new neural pathways in your brain that make it just a bit easier to make those good decisions each time you do it.
I love the insight of either Kelly McGonigal in her book about willpower and habits.. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. Willpower has become the thing that distinguishes us from each other, says McGonigal (emphasis mine):
“People who have better control of their attention, emotions, and actions are better off almost any way you look at it.
They are happier and healthier.
Their relationships are more satisfying and last longer.
They make more money and go further in their careers.
They are better able to manage stress, deal with conflict, and overcome adversity.
They even live longer.
When pit against other virtues, willpower comes out on top. Self-control is a better predictor of academic success than intelligence (take that, SATs), a stronger determinant of effective leadership than charisma (sorry, Tony Robbins), and more important for marital bliss than empathy (yes, the secret to lasting marriage may be learning how to keep your mouth shut). If we want to improve our lives, willpower is not a bad place to start. To do this, we're going to have to ask a little more of our standard-equipped brains.”
How to Improve Willpower tip #2 – Create habits that support the actions you want to take.
I make a point of creating a series of habits that I can follow which lead me directly to the task I need the most willpower to complete. Let’s say that on my journey to lose weight, I want to wakeup super early in the morning for a workout. To remove as much resistance as possible in the morning, I make sure I am ready. I lay out my workout clothes the night before, have a water bottle chilling in the fridge and have my coffee ready to go so I just hit the button as I come down. Then, when the alarm goes off, I am able to just grab my stuff and go. The best part of this practice though is that I have committed myself to the workout the night before with my actions. I don’t leave things to chance – I tell myself in the things I am doing that I will be working out in the morning. I now expect it of myself and don’t want to let myself down. In your journey to lose weight and discovering the keys on how to improve willpower setting up personal expectations makes a huge difference.
If you are working to develop strong habits and want to really know how to improve willpower, then start by understanding how you can change a habit. This is a great method that you can enact yourself by looking for the cue that causes you to begin a specific action, the reward that you receive by completing that action and then the routines you have established over time. Understanding how to improve willpower starts with understanding the cues that cause you to complete an action in the first place.
How to Improve Willpower tip #3 – Don’t expect too much from yourself at once.
Need some help flexing that willpower muscle?
Let me help! With a combination of personalized workouts and nutrition guidance designed by me specifically for your body and your goals, along with a ton of support and motivation I will help you develop incredible healthy habits and find more will power than you could ever have imagined before! I have worked with hundred’s of women over the last 15 years helping each one achieve their personal best! Now is your turn!