I've struggled my entire life with willpower. I've been able to force myself to do things I don't want to do, but always come up a little short of my personal expectations. This is a no-nonsense, down to earth, [add third cliche here] work. Read it.
Here is the basic outline of ideas:
People cite lack of Willpower (WP) as one of the #1 things holding them back
- There are 3 types of challenges
- Doing things that you normally put off/ignore
- Refraining from negative activity
- Much more complicated, so probably best to leave alone for right now
- Pick a more complex goal, work towards it [combines will/won’t]
- Stress -> Sympathetic nervous system [amygdala] -> low heart rate variability ->BAD for WP
- Self control -> Parasympathetic nervous system [pre-frontal cortex] -> high variability
- Exercise [even just 5 minutes] automatically increases self-efficacy, attention span, saving, self-control, procrastination, etc.
- Meditation [5 minutes a day] 4-6 breaths a minute or a breath every 10-15 seconds)
- Healthy Eating (low glycemic index)
- Sleep: deprivation impairs glucose, triggers caffeine, enhances fight/flight
- Spend time outside
4. Increasing impulse control
- Realize what you crave is not a threat to survival (fight or flight)
- Pause and Plan: slow your actions down and consider the ramifications of an action
- What is the actual source? Why am I struggling right now?
- Correct inspiration & incentives: My future self will really love me if I…
- Visualize doing this action every day, not just today. What will you lose?
- Mindfully indulge: was it as satisfying as expected?
- Wait 10 minutes
- Reduce temptations = don’t have access
5. Self control is a muscle
- Willpower is decreased as used, all willpower draws from the same reservoir
- Create willpower exercises to increase strength
- Create small self-imposed deadlines
- When you feel willpower exhaustion, it isn’t an actual boundary
- Practice will make it easier
6. Why we give in
- Having “been good” makes us feel licensed to give in.
- Dopamine makes us feel like we will be satisfied
- Guilt makes us give in.
- Tomorrow I’ll be better (you won’t).
- To hell with it. I’ve already messed up.