I have to study now, exams are near, oh well I have time I’ll do it later, later, later and this goes on until the last day before the exam when we realize the truth that we haven’t studied at all and it’s too late. This is not just about studies, for every single decision we have to take in life, be it dieting, working out, work, we use our Willpower.
Yes, it is the same thing you have heard again and again in your life. Successful people have great willpower, if you don’t have willpower you cannot achieve your goals, willpower will take you to great heights. Well, guys today we are going to get to the bottom of it all. What is this so-called willpower? Do you have it? Can you use it, if yes How?
Yes, friends today is the day I explain to you the basic fundamentals and dark secrets of what make you who you are.
What is willpower?
First of all willpower is an abstract term that we use for the idea, that it is needed to accomplish great things in our life. Whether it is career goals, fitness goals, family goals whatever we fail at, we always blame willpower. Come on guys remember all those times when you said “only if I had more willpower” or looking at someone else’s success and saying “I wish I had their willpower”.
But the thing is that what we call willpower is actually a muscle. The ability to have willpower and make choices is located in the Prefrontal Cortex of our brain, which is sort of the newly evolved region of our brain. It helps us to make decisions and push ourselves further.
Since it is a muscle our willpower will also get tired, the more decisions you take the more tired your willpower gets (think of it as the life bar of your character in video game, the more you play the lesser it gets).
How you deplete your willpower?
The more choices you make the more strain you put on your prefrontal cortex, which will, in turn, result in a condition called as decision fatigue.
Willpower is drained whenever you exert emotional control, I’ll make it more simple, imagine you are watching a movie and is trying not to cry that drains your willpower or think about when you are out with your friends and you are trying to be happy when you are actually feeling gloomy that drains your willpower even more.
And one of the biggest things that drain our willpower on a day to day basis is decision making, the more times you go back and forth in making a decision the more it drains your willpower. For example, should I eat or not, should I read or not, should I call him or not. All these might seem like small tasks but the more you think about these the more it drains your willpower.
So now you might be thinking that the successful people have enormous reserves of willpower right. Sorry to break it to you guys, but in most of the cases, they don’t they have the same amount of willpower as you or me. The only difference is that they know how to use it more efficiently and today I am going to teach you some of their secrets.
It’s not about fighting inner struggles.
This is really important friends if you want to get what you want in life, it’s not about fighting your inner struggles and conquering them day after day, rather it’s about setting up an environment, a system, and a lifestyle so that you don’t have to fight all these battles. You should conserve your willpower for where it really matters.
Make decisions more quickly
This might sound weird since throughout your life everyone was telling you that, before taking any decisions think about it a lot. Now they are right if the decision is regarding your life like what career path should you choose, or who to marry etc you should take your time in such matters. But if the decision is about what to eat or should I text him/her or not this is wrong. And your brain is hard wired to the fact that you should over think everything.
So guys stop saying I don’t care about all these small things and go easy on your brain. And take small decisions quickly or be prepared for all the repetitive circumstances like what to cook or what to text.
Start setting up rules for yourself.
Now to all those who are about to shout at me point out that I’m not a person to go by any rules (some of that new generation shit). Listen to me, if you have a rule to run every day in the morning, eat only 3 times a day, avoid fatty foods, reading a book when you get free time. The lesser will be the amount of decisions you have to take. Just think about it for a second.
This might seem a little bit draconian but trust me guys you will be able to use your will power more efficiently where it matter the most, like if you are trying to quit smoking the willpower you are saving will help you there.
Change your environment so that it helps you
Now I’m sure that you have heard this before but think about it, the easiest way for you to not eat junk food is to not have them lying around the house. Now I had a severe addiction to social media (every other second I used to check the notification on my facebook account) so what I did what to delete the app from my phone for a period of time so that I didn’t have to make to choice every time to open the app or not and believe me friends it helped a lot.
So think guys how can you transform your environment so that it supports you on what you are planning to do. And a big thing to think about is your friend group and who you hang out (on and off work/class). Choose people who have similar goals as you. If you want to stop procrastinating then hangout with people who are more proactive or if you want to stop smoking/drinking resist yourself from being in situations which will force you to do so.
Create an Identity
This must be the hardest one to implement but it is the most effective means improve your willpower. If your identity says that I’m the type of person to go to the gym or I’m the type of person who works on my Business every single day, it will not take you any willpower to do it because that is who you are. Observe everyone around you, why is it easy for someone to say that I don’t drink or I don’t smoke or I am a winner. It’s because it is their identity and it is who they are. May be you have created an identity for yourself like I am a slacker or I am not good at communication (think guys you are the only person who can make and break this identity).
Now guys identity is a whole topic on its own and please tell me if you want to know how to make an Ironclad Identity to follow your dream all the way through.
Inspired by the book Willpower by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister