Okay, so does any of this sound familiar..
Yes? You are not alone. Most of us say to ourselves “I wish I’d have more willpower” on a regular basis. However, is it really possible to increase your willpower, and if so, what’s the best way to go about it?
We often tend to think that willpower is some abstract character quality. Wrong. Willpower is a physical function of the brain.
Pre-frontal cortex, the part of your brain right behind your eyes and forehead, is where your ability to control your impulses resides.
It’s extremely important to understand and accept that willpower is a physical function of the brain because this knowledge will help you to have more willpower. How?
You see, more often than not, your lack of willpower is not a result of some character flaw, but a sign that, for some reason, your brain is working against you..
Good news are that..
Roy Baumeisteir, a psychology professor at Florida State University, is the person who made the most schocking discovery in the history of willpower research.
For the last 15 years, he has been asking people to exert their willpower in a controlled environment – resist sweets, ignore distractions, endure pain, control their emotions, and so on..
In a study after study, no matter which particular tasks participants were asked to do, their willpower deteriorated over time.
Moreover, it turned out that, say, trying to control one’s emotions didn’t just lead to lashing out, it also made people more likely to splurge on things that they didn’t need, as if all acts of willpower were drawing from the same source of strength that gets depleted over time.
These observations led Baumeister to an interesting hypothesis: what if our willpower gets depleted with each successful act of self-control?
Today, dozens of studies done all over the world support the idea that willpower is limited resource, and we can run out of it entirely if we use it too much.
In fact, our willpower, or should I say, our prefrontal cortex, is much like a muscle: it gets tired when used and it can give out completely when exhausted.
However, much like a muscle, your prefrontal cortex can become “stronger” through specific exercises..
There are things that impair the normal function of prefrontal cortex and leave you will-powerless - I call them willpower threats.
There are also things that improve the normal function of prefrontal cortex and make you more will-powerful – I call them willpower steroids.
Your best bet if you want to have more willpower is to get rid of the former and and focus on practicing the latter.
Think about it: when you want to have more money, you can either cut expenses or earn more, but the optimal approach is to do both, isn’t it? It’s exactly the same with willpower, which, like money, is a limited resource.
The research on the topic strongly supports the idea that one’s willpower is one of the best predictors of one’s success in life, by pretty much any measure you can think of!
People who have more self-control are healthier, their relationships are stronger and more satisfying, they make more money and are more successful at their careers. It’s not surprising that those who have more willpower are also happier.
In fact, here’s what Roy Baumeister, the guy who has been doing research on willpower for the last 15 years, has to say:
“Psychology has identified two main traits that seem to produce an immensely broad range of benefits: intelligence and self-control. Despite many decades of trying, psychology has not found much one can do to produce lasting increases in intelligence. But self-control can be strengthened. Therefore, self-control is a rare and powerful opportunity for psychology to make a palpable and highly beneficial difference in the lives of ordinary people”
Your willpower affects all areas of your life. How healthy you are, how attractive you look, how much you earn, how far you go in your career, how your relationships play out, how happy you are.. Could making a commitment to increase your willpower be one of the best decisions that you will ever make?
You don’t need to spend hours and hours reading tons of scientific papers in order to learn how to have more willpower.
I’ve compiled all the main findings of scientific research on willpower into one short e-book “How to have more willpower”:
- 5 willpower threats that you encounter in your daily life that leave you with less (or without any) willpower (+ what to do about them).
- 3 willpower steroids, specific exercises that are simple and don’t require much time that will help you to systematically increase your willpower (+ tips on how to incorporate them in your daily life).
This short e-book explains the findings of years and years of scientific research on self-control in an easy to understand manner and outlines practical steps that you can take to have more willpower.
What could you achieve if you would have more willpower?