Are you a fan of your friends who manage to put them back in the freezer after taking just two balls from the box of chocolate ice cream, can tolerate the environment they sometimes have to be in, update their resume on the internet every three months for possible job opportunities, and wake up early every day? It is actually not difficult at all to gain the willpower and the ability to control oneself in order to stay away from anything that has to be done or to avoid it any longer. You can learn ways to improve your inner discipline.
1) Know how to use the word “no”.
If you perceive the concept of will as being deprived of something, this may be the underlying problem. “The thought of trying to control yourself motivates you, but if you see it as a kind of pressure, you lose motivation,” says Ethan Kross, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. At this point, make a decision to say no when you are in a situation that you should not do or do not want. Say no the moment you realize that you are going to act recklessly towards something or a situation. Many people are unhappy with the work they have to do because they can’t say no in their business or personal lives. Don’t succumb to your current short-lived happiness or craving for a little appreciation, say no.
2) Divert your attention.
It might sound counterintuitive, but maybe you shouldn’t be too concentrated to use your willpower. Experts say that distraction can be helpful, suggesting that you adopt a kind of “out of sight becomes out of mind” attitude. The moment you feel that urge, get up and take a walk in the office. If you want, you can take out your notebook and scribble something or do something else you love. Or do you want to avoid sweets, for example? Allow yourself to eat them only when you go out. If you cook chocolate cake at home, you will definitely eat more than one slice.
3) Fill your tank.
According to a report published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, low blood sugar may be the culprit of some habits caused by lack of willpower. Glucose fuels brain activity, so when you’re hungry, tired, and stressed when glucose levels are low, you’re less likely to resist or say no to anything you crave. Eating protein-rich but small meals will keep you strong throughout the day.
4) Start with small steps.
When you need to change things, you have to start small if you want to ensure long-term success. Small activities done regularly will help you improve your ability to control yourself. For example, instead of immediately implementing a challenging exercise plan, you can start by exercising twice a week. Or you can take the first steps towards saving by putting aside the money you spend on a latte every day. If you want to start the day earlier, you can gradually change your sleep pattern.
5) Choose the right time.
When the frontal cortex of our brain, the area responsible for will power, is filled with information, our will power begins to weaken. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, a group of participants were asked to remember a seven-digit number. Another group was given a two-digit number. Among the participants who were offered a slice of cake or fruit salad, most of those who tried to memorize the seven-digit number preferred the cake. This is because people with information overload tend to make emotional rather than rational choices. If you aim to spend time on the treadmill every day, want to make healthy choices at the grocery store, or if you want to be stable in your business or enterprise, do such activities or decision-making in the morning. During these hours, your brain is not yet full of details. On a Friday afternoon of a tough week, it may not be right to decide and make a choice on all the tiredness of the week. Because then fatigue and laziness will come into play and willpower will be weak and it will be difficult to resist the right thing to do.
6) Lock on target.
Usually, we get wasted when we forget to see the big picture. In order to prove your business skills to your boss, you want to finish that project as soon as possible, but for some reason you always linger or get lazy. Studies have found that people who think about their goals have better self-control. When you feel the urge to put things off for later, remember what’s more important to you. Make a quick to-do list and post it where you can see it. Or take a picture of something you really want to buy and promise yourself to buy it as a reward when it reaches your destination.
7) Turn your goals into action.
A person uses his will when he can turn his difficult demands into action. When we can’t make free choices, when we can’t act in line with those choices, even if we do, we experience a lack of will. For this reason, do not leave your decisions to words and prepare a plan to take action as soon as possible, start right now without waiting.
8) Don’t put the blame on anyone else.
One’s action can be based on the choices of others: if we act based on the choices of others, we are not displaying our will. Under this condition, our actions are the product of another will. E.g; If we have entered a profession that is not suitable for us by being caught by the wishes of our environment, we may think that we do not show our will in this matter. When we put the responsibility of what happened to us on others, we unconsciously say between the lines: “The responsibility of what happened to me belongs to someone else, not me; then it is useless to do something to get out of the situation I am in.” This way of thinking is wrong, it is an expression of resistance to doing something. Throwing responsibility on others creates problems in two main areas. It makes it difficult for individuals to get rid of mental problems, besides, it prevents the development of societies and organizations, and in a sense, it impairs their mental health and management health. Make your own decisions and know that you are responsible for the consequences.
9) Give importance to breathing exercises and sports.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Say “inhale” as you inhale and “exhale” as you exhale. When you notice your mind starting to wander, bring it back and continue to focus on your breath. This will activate the prefrontal cortex, quieting your brain’s stress and desire centers. You may find meditation very difficult when you first start out. This is perfectly normal: in our daily life, we often fail to realize how distracted and noisy our minds are. Sitting still while trying to focus on breathing brings all that mess into our attention span. But no matter how bad you are at meditation: research shows that even 5 minutes of meditation a day will help you with personal checkpoints. Don’t be afraid to start small. Setting routines for yourself and trying to stick to those routines allows you to exercise regularly. Deciding to wake up early in the morning and go for a walk three days a week, and to continue this practice even if the weather is bad or you go to bed late at night, keeping a sports diary can be useful to strengthen your will and develop a habit.
10) Don’t blame yourself all the time.
We must stop feeling guilty and blaming ourselves for our failures that we think are related to our willpower. When you look at it, the reason for our lack of will is a result of chemicals in our brain, not our character flaws. If you do not expect the muscles to carry unlimited weight, you cannot expect the brain to have unlimited will.