Willpower - Limited Resource

Darryl Bachmeier
Mar 20, 2020

The lack of willpower is the greatest obstacle to change; this is what was reported by 27% of the respondents in an America survey published in 2011.

We base on willpower to continue our exercises, diet, quit drinking or smoking, save money, overcome delaying tactics and eventually achieve any of our goals.

Willpower affects every single area of our daily life. However, while it is not a new concept, most majority of us do not have much awareness about it in addition to how to use it wisely. To figure out many amazing facts about your Willpower keep reading this article.

What is Willpower, How it Works, and How it is Limited

Most people have an intuitive sense of what willpower means but they lack the scientific knowledge to realize the forces that undermine it.

According to the American Psychological Association, willpower is defined as:

The ability to delay gratification besides resisting short-term temptations with a view to meet long-term goals. The ability to exceed an undesirable thought, feeling or impulse. The capability to employ a “cool” cognitive system of behavior rather than a “hot” emotional system. The effortful and conscious regulation of the self, by the self. A limited resource capable of being depleted.

While Dr. Kelly McGonagall says in her book “The Willpower Instinct”: “Willpower is a response that comes from both the brain and the body.”

This response is a reaction to an internal conflict. You want to do a thing, like smoking, but you know you should not. Alternatively, you have to do something, such as going to the gym, but you would rather do nothing.

However, willpower is limited; just as a muscle subject to fatigue, as you cannot keep your muscles flexed forever. As a result, exerting more willpower could mean exhaust your self-regulatory strength, at least temporarily. That is why you always have to use it wisely by focusing on your priorities in addition to strengthening it by following the tips below.

Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Willpower

Fortunately, willpower is something you can train. You can increase your willpower through regular training and here are some ways that can help you boost your willpower:

Handle your stress and stay positive

We need to admit that there are some events in our life that we cannot control. This leads us to act innately, without thought and making decisions quickly. So if we could just stay positive, take a few moments just to breathe, and try to relax that could be an as great start to handle our stress.

Moreover, self-persuasion could help you to get more self-restraint, and keep you to stay calm and increases your trust to make more wise decisions according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Better exercise and nutrition

While it is simple, it is a great way to support your brain for higher willpower. Regular physical exercise can make you more resilient to stress, in addition to boosting your willpower. Both yoga exercises and intense physical training can provide these benefits.

Moreover, what you feed your body affects how much energy the brain has to work with. So eating more healthy food with less-processed diet makes energy more available to the brain and can improve every aspect of willpower.

Good nutrition and exercise will not only improve your willpower, but they will also make you feel better. As the exercises make us happy by releasing, endorphins which tend to prevent the feeling of pain and associated with the feeling of euphoria.

Sleep more

Many medical studies have shown that lack of the long-term sleep may increase symptoms of depression associated with feelings of stress and anxiety, as healthy sleep enhances mental health and improves brain function that leads to improve our mood which help in Decision-making process were one of the medical studies confirmed that the more the mind takes a lot of healthy sleep free of insomnia the more its decisions are right and sound, because good sleep helps its owner to make a better decision, and vice versa the stressed mind usually makes decisions quickly that sooner make you regret.

Practice meditation for at least 10 minutes a day

Scientists have estimated that meditation gives the fastest results compared to other will exercises by stimulating the mind’s ability to concentrate and resist dispersion. It helps the brain to increase its ability to think and concentrate; enhancing an individual’s ability to resist temptations, and meditating for only 10 minutes a day for two to three days increases an individual’s concentration and helps to regenerate their will power. To summarize the benefits of meditation:

Reducing stress and anxiety Promoting positive thinking and optimism Increasing focus and attention keeping memory and improving sleep Mental discipline, which is developed through meditation, may help people quit smoking, and may help control cravings

Create routines and habits

You can give your willpower a rest through creating routines, then transforming them into habits. When a habit is formed, it takes a little to maintain it, freeing up your willpower to be used elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

According to many studies, people who score high on self-control are more apt at regulating behavioral, emotional, and attention impulses to achieve long-term aims, contrary to more impulsive individuals. Therefore, it is essential to strengthen your willpower through sufficient awareness and in all possible ways for a better life.

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