Does exercising your willpower muscles make them stronger the same way using dumbbells strengthens biceps?
An important part of achieving your lifestyle goals comes down to
having great willpower.
In fact what endless studies have found is that ‘Willpower’ is the single most important key habit for individual success.
Take for example that feeling when you near the end of your working day when all of your energy stores have depleted and there’s that chocolate cake sitting on the table that’s been within reach for most of the day. Odds on you may see yourself reaching for the cake that you’ve resisted temptation of 10 times throughout that very day.
Research shows that it takes energy and effort to resist temptation especially if it’s something you crave.
So how can we strengthen such a muscle as willpower that can leave us bouncing out of the office without cake in hand, or belly?
In order to strengthen your willpower in one simple step is to train your brain to make it into a habit so that it becomes automatic.
To automate your willpower muscle is to choose a certain behavior ahead of time, and then follow that routine when an inflection point arrives.
Sometimes it looks like people with great self-control aren’t working hard – but that’s because they’ve made it automatic’
So much of what we do on a day-to-day basis is actually automated without us barely noticing, like brushing our teeth, or having morning coffee break, whichever your habits may be.
However what I notice often is that willpower will diminish when we are fatigued, and to be able to have strong willpower under such levels of fatigue is a huge key to developing successful, sustainable habits and results.
It’s all in the training.
Willpower is a muscle, like the muscle in your arms and legs, it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.
If you use it up on too many tedious tasks all the strength will be gone by the time you get home from work, which means that chances of you not doing that run after work or eating that cake on the way out may be significantly higher.
If you want to do something that requires willpower – like going for a run after work – you have to conserve your willpower throughout the day.
Todd Heatherton, a researcher at Darmouth says that ;
“When you learn to force yourself to go to personal training, or eat a salad instead of a hamburger, part of what’s happening is that you’re changing how you think. People get better at regulating their impulses. They learn to distract themselves from temptation. And once you’ve gotten into that willpower groove, your brain is practiced at helping you focus on a goal.”
So there you have it team, by training the muscle of willpower is to know how to remain focused, and disciplined, even at the end of an eight-hour shift.
Staying strong regardless of the conditions is about having the self-control to ignore the urges, and focus on what you desire as an end goal.
It’s about being able say no to what may not serve you and yes to what does.
And it’s about developing ways that may distract you from the temptation or urge and retraining the thought pattern process surrounding it to move you towards attaining your goals.
Although you can have your cake and eat it too, in moderation of course lol. Maybe next time challenge your levels of thinking…
Is that piece of cake that’s high in unhealthy fats and sugars actually going to serve and support your energy stores long term? Probably not, so maybe have that glass of water or apple instead and see how much better you feel in the long run.
Here’s to stronger willpower team, it’s your time, make it count.
Reference – The Power Of Habit – Charles Duhigg
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