Most of us wish we had more willpower. We’re not very good at doing the things we don’t like doing. Willpower is in limited supply, so it must be used wisely.
It’s possible to build your willpower reserves by holding yourself to a standard or enduring misery. Neither is particularly fun, but situations that call for willpower never are. If it were enjoyable, you wouldn’t need willpower in the first place!
Keep in mind that your willpower is at its highest earlier in the day. Nearly everything drains your willpower, including fatigue, hunger, and any other form of stress.
Try these activities to strengthen your willpower:
1. Stand in the rain. Or go for a walk in the cold without your coat. That doesn’t mean you should walk down the throat of a thunderstorm or risk frostbite. The key is to be physically uncomfortable and stick with it.
- Rather than running for the house when the rain starts to fall, put on your shoes and go for a walk.
2. Meditate. Meditation might seem like one step up from a nap, but meditation can be boring, uncomfortable, and tedious. It can take a lot of meditation to sit there for just 10 minutes, never mind an entire hour or more.
- Start a meditation practice. Start with 10 minutes a day. Sit by yourself and focus on your breath. Avoid moving around. That’s it.
- You thought that going to a romantic comedy with your girlfriend was boring? Try watching your breath intently for 10 solid minutes.
- This is a great way to build your willpower and simultaneously gain the benefits of meditation.
3. Try using your opposite hand. This will slow you down and force you to pay more attention to everything you do. Imagine your dominant hand is in a cast and a sling. Spend a full hour doing everything with your weak hand. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, feed yourself, and more.
- It will be funny at first, but the situation will quickly lose its charm. Prepare to feel exasperated. You’ll be shocked at how much more time and attention tasks require.
4. Create deadlines and finish tasks on time. Set deadlines and hold yourself to them. That includes everything from the laundry getting folded to making that phone call to your mother-in-law.
5. Eat deliberately. This is similar to meditation. No talking, watching TV, or playing on your smartphone. Give your full attention to your meal. Chew every bite at least 20 times. Count your bites! Take three deep breaths between bites. No cheating!
- You’ll probably find that you eat significantly less. For most people, that’s a good thing.
How much willpower do you have? If you’re like most people, you think you could use more, perhaps a lot more. Situations that call for willpower aren’t enjoyable, and that’s why we get so little practice. Most of us avoid these situations as much as possible.
Building willpower might not be fun, but the suffering you put in today can pay off tomorrow. Challenge yourself to increase your daily supply of willpower.
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