Feeling slightly determined, but don’t have enough willpower to get the job done? Every commitment we make requires motivation and follow-through if we expect to be successful. Maximizing your willpower is possible, and the following guide can help you achieve your goals.
Where There’s a Willpower, There’s a Way!
The American Psychological Association describes willpower as the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. It’s basically, “the psychological science of self-control.” So, if you can keep yourself from giving in to something that distracts you and stay focused on the big prize, you’ll be set!
How Can I Maximize My Willpower?
In order to meet your goals, you need to get motivated to take action. Motivation is compelled by emotions. You can have thoughts about what you want to do, but in order to get jazzed up, you really have to feel it.
Find your motivation and you’ll find the core of your willpower. Most often “reward” is the most powerful motivator. You can feel rewarded from:
- losing weight
- quitting smoking
- buying something new
- getting a promotion
along with a plethora of other positive goals.
Willpower is a muscle. You need to practice and work it. Picture your goal and visualize your ultimate aim. Learn to ignore temptation and distraction. What will your reward be?
Keep in mind, the reward for exercising self-control has to be more important to you than indulging in the immediate behavior.
Get Ahead with The Ultimate Guide
Is your lack of willpower affecting your productivity? Do you feel that if you could maximize your willpower that you would be more successful—in all areas? Then check out the following tips:
- Research suggests that willpower can be strengthened with practice. If something tempts you (like a chocolate bar), practice not eating it. Next time the same scenario comes up, it will be easier for you to resist. You will have gained willpower strength.
- Exerting self-control regularly increases willpower strength. Try and exert self-control throughout your day, everyday. Without regular practice, your power decreases.
- Make your goals specific and clear. For example, “I want to give up drinking alcoholic beverages for one month,” or “I want to be promoted to manager within a year,” or “I’d like to buy a new SUV in two years.”
- Make a list of what motivates you. Do you enjoy eating? Then, if you know you are allowed a dessert if you workout, you are more apt to go to the gym that day. Do you want to earn more money? Then, you may work extra hard at impressing your boss and colleagues. Figure out what you want and then hopefully you will be rewarded with it after your efforts of self-control and willpower.
- Make a list of temptations and distractions. Identify your weaknesses. If you love social media but have a work deadline, turn off your phone. If you love iced-flavored coffee drinks but you’re trying to shed some pounds, make coffee at home. Figure out your temptations and be proactive in avoiding them.
- Constantly remind yourself of the rewards if you stick to your plan. Practice an “if” and “then” philosophy—implement a behavior with intention. For example, you may say yourself, “If I exercise daily, then I will increase my weight loss and muscle tone.” What is the “if” that you have to do to meet your goal?
- Find meaning in your motivator. When you have a “purpose”, you’re more likely to take action. People want to feel as if their behavior and accomplishments have value. Will your actions “make a difference”?
- Eat well, sleep well, and exercise. These three are essential to optimum mental health. And after all, willpower requires brainpower.
Practice resisting desires that steer you off the path towards your ultimate goal. Congratulate and reward yourself when you succeed in implementing self-control. Before you know it, your willpower will strengthen and you’ll be able to achieve the maximum!
Dan Ariely—Ted Talks