The willpower response is a feedback to an internal discord. You wish to do one thing, such as smoke a cigarette or enhance your dinner, but you are aware that you shouldn’t. Or you know you should do something, like write an article or go to the gym, but you’d somewhat do nothing.
We have many widespread names for willpower: determination, drive, resolve, self-discipline and also self-control. But psychologists distinguish willpower in more precise ways. Willpower can be defined as: The ability to delay satisfaction. It also means refusing short-term enticement in order to meet long-term objectives. It is an ability to supersede an unwanted thought, feeling or impulse. With will power comes the ability to cool off one’s mind and focus on the bounties that we’ve been bestowed with instead of chasing the negativities in our lives.
People think that they could enhance their lives if only they had more of that mystifying thing called willpower. With more of this mysterious thing called will power we would all eat right, exercise frequently, stay away from drugs and alcohol, save money for retirement, stop delaying or procrastinating, and attain all sorts of righteous goals. In its spirit, willpower is the ability to oppose short-term temptations in order to achieve long-term goals. And there are superior reasons to do so.
- Control yourself! We say to ourselves most of the times. We say it when we involve in behaviors that cause short-term pleasure for long-term problems and off course guilt. For example, eating the unhealthy things, being idle, staying up too late, involve in drugs or drinking too much. Why do we do these things? After all, aren’t we completely in control of ourselves all of the time? I think not! Studies tell us that willpower is a limited supply. Each of us only has so much of it. To be useful at controlling our wishes and making healthy decisions, the prefrontal cortex needs to be taken care of. That means feeding it with healthy food so it has enough energy to do its job and providing it enough sleep.
- Predict and plan for your times of low self-control. Now that you know that self-control is of limited supply and that reducing it means less for later, you can do some predictions and planning. For example, make sure that you’re not in the junk food and cookies side of the grocery store after a long day at work. Don’t start on your tax return after a frustrating drive.
- Exercise your willpower muscle to get more of it. Willpower is like a muscle. We all know that large muscles involved during exercise release endorphins that through interaction with our brains decrease our sensation of pain and thus, act like morphine and induce happiness in us. However, scientifically speaking, using muscles to exercise for a short period of time result in exhaustion. If continued for loner time, muscles toughen up and help in the growth process. This analogy can help us understand how, if we continue to exercise our will power in a positive manner, it will grow and we will largely benefit from it.
- Better exercise and nutrition: Another great way to train the brain, that is mostly ignored or underrated, yet it can help you to become more resistant to stress, and thus increase willpower, is habitual physical exercise. Both relaxing and mindful exercise for example yoga and strong physical training can grant these benefits. This is why nutrition is so essential. Drink some orange juice. It is believed that glucose is one of the main ingredients that your brain requires for efficient self-control. It’s not just for breakfast anymore!
- Learning how to manage stress should be one of the major goals, in fact it should be one of the most top most priorities. The first step is to identify the stress, the thought that generated a feeling which led to an action resulting in immense stress, disrupting the internal environment and induces the flight or fight response leaving it at the stake of our own will to choose the appropriate response.
- Sleep deprivation (which means getting less than six hours a night) is a kind of chronic stress that damages how the body and brain utilize energy.
- PUT first thing first: Postponing something you really shouldn’t have can be effectual if you’re trying to break an unhealthy habit.
I hope that you find this article informative and helpful. Some of you, I am aware, will be disheartened to learn that your ability for self-control is less than unlimited. As human beings we tend to believe that we are limitless and we have super powers. It is good to have a good self-worth but there should be a difference between narcissism and self-worth. Dealing with will power is no joke and it is not an easy task but believing that will power combined with skill power can help us do wonders. Our belief system is comprised of a number of complex entities (our logics, our cognitive triad, and our schemas), all we need is to believe in ourselves and trust our instincts because we are ultimately the designers of our fate. Believing with pre determinism wouldn’t help. Hence, you do have willpower, just not as much as you might like. But now you are very well aware how to get more!