For a long as I can remember, I feel like I’ve been in a constant battle with my willpower. Whether it was finishing an assignment on time, sticking to another crazy diet or keeping to a new workout routine, it has always been a struggle. I’ve spent years trying to figure out why we don’t do the things we know are good for us. Today, I am going to dispel some myths of willpower and selfcontrol that will shift the fight back into your corner.
The most common excuse I hear as a trainer is, “my willpower is weak”. This may be true, but not for the reason most people think. We often think of willpower as a feeling, but it’s more like a muscle. It can be strengthened, just like your biceps. Simply brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand at night with help strengthen your willpower.
Just like climbing a flight of stairs after a jog, your willpower can become tired if you use it throughout the day. The quality of your problem solving actually deteriorates the more decisions you make (called Decision Fatigue). Powerful men and woman will systematically take simple decisions out of their everyday life to ensure high performance in quality decision making. Former President Obama wears the same two suits every day. This may sound like a minute detail but the weight adds up.
People often think self-control is their biggest weakness because they rely on willpower to get what they want out of life. The best way to get your desired behaviour or habit is to ensure your willpower is never engaged. If you are serious about making changes, first figure your triggers. When I’m dieting, there is no junk food in my house. Why tempt yourself when you don’t have to? Get rid of the itch before you feel the need to scratch.
- Peter Lane (The Jedi)