You are on a mission and you are pumped. At long last, you will lose the 20 pounds you’ve been meaning to lose. Finally, you are going to kick that addiction to the curb. That degree is going to be yours. You have your S.M.A.R.T goals set, and you have a plan of attack. Then, after a couple of days, you start to get tired. The energy you once had is fading and you start making excuses. Before you know it, you don’t even make an effort. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, and you are ready for change, this article is for you. Here is how to have willpower so that you can finally attain the goals that have been so elusive for you.
You May Also Like: Self Discipline in 5 Steps
Listen to this podcast episode:
Three Facts About Willpower
Before we share get into the strategies on how to have willpower, it’s important to understand the traits of willpower. Here are three facts.
- Willpower is like a muscle, so you must build it like one. It is important to understand that willpower isn’t something you just have. You have to work to have it, just like big muscles. You build more and more willpower over time the more you use it.
- Willpower can be depleted. We all start each day with a tank of willpower. Some have more in their tank because they have built it up, and others have barely in their tank. Throughout the day as our willpower is being tested, it is depleted little by little.
- Willpower is constantly tested. From the time we wake up until we go to bed, our willpower will be tested. Count on it.
If you understand these facts and change your perspective on how willpower works, you will be better equipped have more willpower and accomplish your goals.
7 Hacks To Willpower
1 – Get Enough Sleep To Have More Willpower
We know that as the day progresses, willpower diminishes. It does this even faster when we are tired. So make sure you get enough rest so that your tank is full when you wake up every morning. The key to more rest is having a night routine. I’ve come to understand that a productive and successful day does not start in the morning, it starts the night before. Specifically with routines. For instance, you can start a nighttime routine an hour before bed that includes prepping your food and workout clothes, turning off all electronics, reading, and then meditating. Choose a routine that works for you.
2 – Exercise First Thing In The Morning
Add a little extra boost of willpower each morning by exercising first thing. Exercise helps to raise your energy levels and your endorphins. When you feel good and you are energized it is much easier to have willpower when you need it most.
3 – Visualize
When you start running low on willpower, recharge yourself by visualizing your end goal. Have a clear mental picture in your head of what you want to accomplish. Close your eyes and focus on it for 5 to 10 minutes. This will rejuvenate you. If it’s pushing 3 pm and you are starting to crave a candy bar from your work vending machine, get away from your desk, go to your car, and visualize yourself in your perfect body. If it is right after lunch, and you are craving that cigarette, visualize yourself as being a non-smoker with clean and healthy lungs.
This does two things. First, it takes the focus off the stimulus (the pizza, and the cigarette) and puts the focus back on your goals. Second, it recharges your willpower batteries.
4 – Calm Your Mind
When that voice in your head is telling you to take the easy route and to give in to your temptations, breathe deeply, close your eyes, and go to a peaceful place in your mind. That could be a beach, that may be fishing, shopping, the fortress of solitude, wherever. Think about that place right now, then put it in your back pocket. When you need to go there, you’ll have it ready. You can also find a physical place to go to to find peace and quiet. Whatever you decide, get in the habit of calming your mind to have more willpower.
5 – Do It Now To Build Willpower
When you face temptation and avoid it, your willpower muscle is becoming stronger. Each time you are able to resist, it will become easier for you. An important thing to realize, however, is that you do not have to face a temptation to build willpower. You can develop it throughout your day by doing things when you think of them and avoiding procrastination. For example, if you come home and there are dishes in the sink, instead of thinking you’ll do it after dinner, do it now. If you’ve been putting off cleaning out the garage till this weekend, do it now. If you need to wash your car, do it now. Whatever you know you need to do, do it right now. Avoiding procrastination and doing things when you think of them will build your willpower muscle tremendously.
6 – Avoidance
Although your willpower muscle gets a little bit stronger each time you avoid temptation, it still drains your willpower tank for that day. So every temptation you face makes you weaker and weaker. Because of this, you should add avoidance as one of your daily strategies. If you know that you have a hard time avoiding Starbucks on the way to work, then take a different route. If you know that hanging around your drinking buddies at the bar is too much to handle when you are trying to quit alcohol, then stop hanging around them at that time. Avoidance is an effective technique to have more willpower.
7 – Take Baby Steps To Have More Willpower
Do not try to do too much at once. Take baby steps and start small. Willpower is a mental game and when you have a string of smaller successes you will be more motivated, and energized going forward. On the other hand, if you do too much and have extremely high expectations coming out the gate, you will more than likely feel like a failure when you slip up. Start small and give yourself a break when you do mess up and give in. Just pick yourself back up and keep going.
Just think of all the things you can accomplish once you build your willpower; Stop smoking, 6 pack abs, finishing that book, getting that certification, anything! Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise early, visualize, calm your mind, do it now, practice avoidance, and take baby steps to have more willpower.
What could you do with more willpower? Let us know in the comments below.