Willpower is the psychological science of self-control or discipline. People believe that with the right willpower, they can achieve anything they set their minds to. It acts as a way of disciplining oneself, and also developing self-control.
So, can you learn willpower? Is willpower constant throughout our lives? Or can we alter the course of our willpower according to our like if we try?
Our willpower is conscious, effortful regulation of ourselves, and when it reaches below a certain threshold, we find ourselves in a state of ego depletion. The lack of willpower in such cases results in us making poor life decisions and failing to say “no” to bad habits.
Ever wondered how we can increase our willpower or self-discipline? Well, our willpower is like a muscle, and just like any muscle, it grows stronger with more exercise. But what exercises can you do for your willpower?
Since it is generated from the brain, in this article, we will discuss some psychological techniques by which we can train our brain to have more willpower. Hopefully, these tricks will always keep you motivated and also act as a deterrent for the state of ego depletion.
In general terms, chunking means taking a large piece of something and breaking it down into smaller pieces. When it comes to any activity, instead of looking at the long-term goal, it often helps to focus on the short-term goals to keep you motivated.
We actually have unlimited willpower, but at times, seeing the greater picture, our brain exhausts itself and we give up. This is where chunking comes in. Instead of focusing on the greater picture, you look forward to the small tasks of the collective goal.
The small tasks deceive the brain into thinking they are possible to complete and by taking one little task at a time, we can finish the entire workload.
For instance, instead of telling yourself you have to write an entire essay, tell yourself to make it to one paragraph at a time. By focusing on the small targets one by one, we generate extra willpower to overcome our obstacles.
So, the next time you find it difficult to join the gym, thinking you have to work out daily, just tell yourself to go through one day at a time. And then when you make it to the gym, chunk your routine to one exercise item at a time.
Confidence is another psychological trait that pushes you forward. The more confidence you have in yourself to complete a certain task, the less willpower you actually need because your brain already knows you are capable of doing it.
So, how do you boost up your confidence? Just set up end goals which are tiny milestones, and keep telling yourself that you can easily do them. By paying attention to small milestones, you become more confident with every step.
So, how do you use it in your daily routine? Let’s put things in perspective- what’s easier for you to achieve, losing 1 pound or 20? Obviously, the answer is losing 1 pound. That is the small milestone you need to achieve 20 times to complete your end goal.
View of Willpower
The truth is, we are what we believe. Hence, the more you tell yourself that you are something particular, the more your actions are aligned towards that certain aspect. Thinking that your willpower is limited, makes you actually believe that it is. But once you start thinking it’s not, you can tap into its unlimited potential.
For example, the more you think of how you are going to ace a presentation, the more your thoughts are regarding it. This means you train a subconscious part of your brain to work on a particular subject in the back of your mind at all times. Thinking about something for a prolonged time often generates subconscious willpower that helps in carrying out the task in reality.
Changing Your Identity
No, we are not talking about getting a fake identification and moving to another country. The identity in question is how you represent yourself.
If your identity aligns itself with your goals, you are bound to make progress in achieving them. Sounds complicated? Let’s simplify things a bit.
Say a person wants to quit smoking. Therefore, from the moment he decides to quit, he is going to identify himself as a non-smoker. This sounds like a simple act of changing one’s identity but is a difficult process to follow through.
This is because you not only have to identify yourself as something but also need to alter your language correspondingly. Saying “I’m trying to quit smoking” identifies as someone who smokes but wants to give up. On the other hand, saying “I’m not a smoker” identifies oneself as someone who doesn’t even smoke to begin with.
A common change of language is replacing words such as “can’t” or “have to” to “can” or “want to” respectively. Eventually, this change of identity helps people to achieve their goals and strengthen their willpower.
As we mentioned earlier, thinking plays a significant role in how you shape yourself. Likewise, people who have high-level thinking are said to have more willpower than people who have low-level thinking.
You must be wondering what they are. Low-level thinking means being concerned with the small-term objectives and their specifics, meaning how you will go to the gym, or when you will have your dinner.
In contrast, high-level thinking is concerned with general objectives and long-term goals, such as why you are going to the gym, or why you are changing your diet.
It’s alright to have low-level thoughts but then again, try to dwell on high-level thought as well. The latter creates a sense of purpose and meaning, and in turn increases your willpower to achieve more.
Your mind is capable of doing great things only if you know how to push it right. But before you start training your brain to increase your willpower, make sure you allow yourself proper rest by getting good nights of sleep. Motivate yourself to do better and follow the tips we recommended to create a better version of yourself.