5 Simple Techniques for Building Your Willpower

November 1, 2016

5 Simple Techniques for Building Your Willpower | @2inspiredaily

Most of us have areas in our live we want to improve, but for some reasons just can’t find the motivation to tackle them. This comes down to our level of willpower in a specific area. One thing is for sure, if you struggle with willpower, you’re not alone. In the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey, participants regularly cite lack of willpower as their number one reason for not implementing changes. Unfortunately, a number of studies have shown that willpower is an essential aspect to living a fulfilling and happy life. (No pressure!)

Luckily, willpower is not something you’re either born with or you’re not. The more you follow through with tasks and commitments, the more willpower you will develop. This can help give you the needed inner strength to do (or not do) something you desire in the future. To work on building your willpower, here are a few tips to help you master your ability to delay or resist instant gratification in order to reach your long-term goals.

1. Understand Your Willpower Is Limited

The first thing that needs to be understood is that we each have a limited amount of willpower to use every day. As we make choices, that amount is slowly used up, until eventually we run out! So, one of the most important things we need to be doing is making sure that we’re spending that willpower on things that matter. One easy way to help accomplish this is to eliminate choices wherever possible. We can do this by getting rid of small choices, e.g. laying out an outfit before we go to sleep, preparing meals for the week, finishing the day by making a to-do list for the following day, etc.

2. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can actually lead to an increase in willpower. This stems from the fact that exercise is a delayed gratification choice – putting in the work now to see results in the future, rather than making a less-than-healthy choice with immediate benefits. When we make the long-term choice to improve our physical health, other decisions will naturally begin to trend toward the same path.

3. Have an Accountability Partner

Sometimes we have to accept that we’re going to need some help from an outside source to keep us on track. Having an accountability partner can be a great asset in this regard. This doesn’t need to be someone who’s constantly bugging you about every move you make, but rather a friend who’s available for a quick daily or weekly check in where you both talk about what you’re doing to reach your personal goals. This should be an arrangement that offers encouragement and advice rather than negativity, so make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the right kind of people.

4. Map Out Specific Goals

One of the biggest mistakes we make is laying out unclear, abstract goals for ourselves. This leads to missed deadlines, unclear workflow, and frustration. To counter this problem, take your overall goals and break them down into individual, measurable goals. Instead of saying, “This week I need to work on project X,” figure out exactly what needs to be done for the project to be finished, and then assign each of those tasks to specific days. Not only does this help you keep track of all the various components of the project, but it gives you a definitive stopping point each day. Instead of wondering if you’re far enough along come Monday night, you can be confident that you completed the day’s tasks and that you’re on the right track.

5. Have a Snack

While being able to push through and get things done is a excellent quality to have, there are also times when you might need to take a break and regroup before moving on. If you find your willpower waning, studies have shown that raising your glucose levels can actually help you rebuild your self-control. A quick snack to boost to your blood sugar level might be just the thing to get you right back on track.