Do you lack willpower? Ever wonder why some people seem to have so much more willpower than others?
Let’s start with the continued debate:
-Can willpower be depleted as it’s used, like a muscle? Can glucose intake increase willpower as it begins to deplete?
-Or is willpower self generated, hinging on your beliefs?
The concept that willpower can be depleted greatly concerned me and drew my attention to the subject.
If willpower can be depleted what happens to the poverty stricken person that has to use willpower throughout each day just to fight through hunger, to push on until a safe place is found for the night? How will this person continue the fight with such a high level of daily willpower depletion? Some individuals do however fight through this, How?
Are there other factors in willpower? You finally have enough willpower to push yourself outside to exercise. You return home to indulge in your favorite cheesecake? Why?? Was your willpower depleted during your push to exercise or did you simply feel you worked off enough calories to “deserve” the cheesecake. Many of us realize the workout did not truly offset the cheesecake input, but we still do it. Then we often feel horrible about it afterwards. Where was our self control??
If willpower is not depleted due to use, is it due to a lack of self worth? Do people believe willpower cannot be self generated? For example, I exercised, but I know I will not keep up with it, so who cares I’m eating my favorite cheesecake! I have no energy left to believe otherwise. What if this person trained themselves to believe willpower can be self generated? Would they have more power to overcome the cheesecake craving?
Both sides of the debate agree that achieving better self control can help you to achieve more success in life, more peace, and better health.
So, How can Willpower be Increased?
1- Incentives definitely play a role in many cases of willpower. You may not be able to will your empty glass to become full of water, but you may be able to push through a race if someone promised you money for simply finishing it. Pick a small reward for yourself each time you show willpower.
2- Willpower is a positive attribute. Some people describe willpower/self-control as constricting. Allowing binge drinking may feel rewarding at the time, but keep in mind the following day will be restricted due to your physical and mental health, and could possibly keep you in bed all day! By having the willpower not to binge drink you kept yourself from constricting your health and well-being the entire next day.
3- Being told to do something can lower some individual’s willpower. This is one reason some people may be seen to have better willpower than others. Some of us like to follow rules and others of us feel trapped by rules. So think of having the willpower to do these positive things for yourself, not necessary for others.
4-Use One Mindfulness to focus your willpower on one task at a time. This focus can help distract you from the negative powers outside your current task.
5-Use meditation and breathing exercises to increase willpower.
6-Take small steps to increase your willpower. Use willpower to complete a task. Prove to yourself it was possible and feel the empowerment, then move to the next task.
7- Keep temptations far away. It’s easier to deny the temptation the further you are from it. So if you have a deep love for potato chips, keep them out of your house. Having to drive to the store can often times stray you from the temptation. Plus you will not have to watch others in your household eat them in front of you.
8- Practice resisting your negative temptations. Many theorize that you can build the portion of your brain that supplies willpower by resisting temptations. The more you resist, the stronger your willpower will become. Exercise your willpower.
9- I would say, at this point, don’t run to sugar to increase your willpower. We already have a society facing high levels of obesity and diabetes.
10- Don’t give up. If you succumb to low willpower, pick yourself up and try it again. You are worth it!
How have you increased your willpower?
Reference Professor Roy Baumeister for information with regard to willpower depletion.
Reference V, Job, Walton, G., Bernecker, K., and Dweck, C.S., “Beliefs about Willpower determine the impact of glucose on self-control”.