Increasing Willpower – Small Steps
Increasing willpower is easy to talk about but hard to do. Increasing willpower requires the very thing which you are trying to improve. The trick is to start small. Don’t try to go from sleeping in until 10 am to getting up at 5 am. While the “sledge-hammer” approach might work for a few people, most will just burn out quickly. Start small by getting up 15 minutes earlier than you normally get up.
Try getting up a bit earlier than usual for a week. According to research in this Psychology Today article: Exercising your will is much like exercising muscle. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Do it once and it will be slightly easier the next time. Get up 15 minutes early for a week and you have the foundation of a new habit. Repeat this for 21 days and your fledgling habit is born. Repeat this cycle four times and now you are consistently getting up at 9 am and not 10 am.
You can change any aspect of your character or any habit that you have. It takes time and effort. Just like working out, you have to keep practicing.
Willpower and Temptation
There is a great article on Bufferapp.com about willpower and why it’s so hard to avoid temptation. Part of the reason willpower is both a brain and a body response. What this means is that both physical and mental responses are involved. Your body and mind are often at odds. For example, a smoker knows that smoking is bad for them, but their body has become addicted to the nicotine.
Need some more help?
Check out these articles at the Huffington Post. There are several interesting articles on willpower and how to increase it. If you have a favorite author or blog that helps you with willpower or motivation, I would to love to hear about it. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Darren Daily (sign up for his free daily newsletter)
- Pick the Brain (check out their blog)
- Lifehack.org (lots of great articles and lists like this one)
Share your thoughts
What do you do to increase your willpower? What has worked? What has failed? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us.