Willpower can be defined as the ability to resist short-term temptations and desires to achieve long-term goals.
When we think of willpower, the first things that pop into our minds are the challenges that require us to resist temptation, like refusing chocolate cake or resisting online shopping.
In a willpower study, researchers set out to study self-control in children with a simple yet effective test known as the Marshmallow test. Each child was told that the researcher had to leave the room for a few minutes, and if they waited until their return, the child could have two marshmallows. If the child couldn’t wait, they could ring a bell, and the researcher would immediately return, but they could only eat one marshmallow.
Years later, the research team followed up with these kids and found that the children who waited for long enough to earn the second candy generally fared better in every area of life, even 30 years later.
Here are 4 Ways to Strengthen Willpower:
1. Improve your self-awareness
How many food choices do you make in a day?
Most of our choices are made on “autopilot,” without any awareness of what’s driving them or their effects on our lives. So, the first step to changing any behaviour is self-awareness.
For many people, exercise is their willpower challenge. But exercise is one of the best tools to strengthen your willpower. Start with a realistic goal and remember that consistency is more important than intensity.
3. Eat well
Researchers believe that we constantly use our willpower from the moment we wake up until we sleep. Exerting our willpower uses a considerable amount of this energy. It’s important that we eat foods that will fuel our bodies to avoid a drop in blood sugar levels that drives us to eat sugary food.
Stress will shift your brain to a reward-seeking state. Whatever will make you happy at the moment will become a fixation, as you find yourself craving whatever your brain believes will make you feel better.
The promise of reward doesn’t always equal satisfaction. Your mind tricks you into believing the object of your desire is what will make you happy. However, long-term satisfaction is rooted in your ability to refrain from impulses that stray from your goals and values.
Next time you’re faced with a willpower challenge, what will you do?