How To Increase Willpower And Be Mentally Tough - Abiodun Lambaba Blog

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Saturday, 4 August 2018

How To Increase Willpower And Be Mentally Tough







Everyone has something they’d like to change. The desire for self-improvement and the progression is inmate. It is in our DNA.

Unfortunately, when it comes to change, old habits are hard to break, and it seems that we fail more often than we succeed. For those things that we struggle with, it also seems that our willpower is never quite enough.

What can we do about this? Are we doomed to live the same behavioral partnerns of the past? Can we actually increase our willpower, and create lasting positive changes in our lives?

The answer is a resounding YES! Willpower is like a muscle and it gets stronger with regular use.

Recent research, as detailed in such books as, Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, The Willpower instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why it Matters, And What You Can Do About It by Kelly McGonigal, and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, suggests that we are not forever bound to our poor habits, and that we can actually change, and increase our willpower in the process.

So how do we do it? how do we increase our willpower, and direct powerful changes in our lives?

To assist in this process, I’ve summarized the research on the subject into 15 “actionable steps” that, if built into habits, will yield powerful results:

1. Feed our brains with regular, protein rich meals


Don’t skip meals. Our brain is our decision making muscle and it's ability to provide us with the necessary willpower to make correct decisions is influenced by whether it is sufficiently fed.
So we should eat regular meals, ideally low-glycemic foods, healthy proteins, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, so that we can avoid the glucose rush (associated with sweets and simple carbs) that immediately plummets.

2. Keep it simple: work on one change at a time


Willpower can be increased, but it is slow and gradual process (just like increasing muscle mass). So daily we are working with a fixed amount of it (although that amount can increase over time with practice).
We can't change everything all at one, and we can't massively change our lives at stressful times. If we want to see real change, we should start small, and tackle one long term goal at a time.

3. Take a bite of dark chocolate for a quick energy boost


Sometimes we are in a position where we need to make a quick decision, and it feels tough. We should take a bite of dark chocolate. Seriously. The small energy boost will help our brains with the decision.
Obviously, it is much better to eat healthy, slow burning foods to provide a steady source of fuel to our brains, but in the event of a “willpower” emergency, indulging a little isn’t a bad thing. It can actually help to increase our willpower.

4. Get a good night’s sleep


Adequate rest improves our self-control and provides an optimal environment for the brain to function. Rest reduces the body’s need for glucose, and it allows the body to make better use of what we have. Adequate rest is generally 7-8 hours a night for an adult, and 10-12 hours a night for a child.
Self-control requires brain power, and when we are tired, our brain bodies generally don’t deliver enough glucose to our brains.

5. Steer clear of temptation


People who have lots of self-control don’t need to exercise their willpower as often. Therefore, when willpower is required, it is strong and in steady supply.
So we can increase our willpower by not putting ourselves completely clear of those “danger spots” where temptation is present and willpower is necessary.

6. Develop small but powerful habits


Research confirms that good habits strengthen our willpower. Even if we start with something simple – like making our beds – this can have a powerful positive effect on our willpower. This occurs because these small habits build self-discipline and self-control, and that spreads to other areas of our life.

7. Make sure our “to-do” list is manageable


Everyone has some form of  a “to-do” list. We may not realize it, but this ubiquitous productivity tool may actually be increasing our stress, and decreasing our willpower.

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