These keys endorsed by science will allow you to train your willpower to increase your perseverance and ability to sacrifice.
We will not deny it: life is full of temptations.
You want to get in shape, but just start the new season of your favorite series. You would like to enroll in English classes, but the sofa in your house is too tempting.
Or maybe you’re trying to quit and just find yourself with a pack of tobacco in an old pair of pants.
The force will affect all areas of our lives. Several studies have already shown that people with the greater capacity for sacrifice live healthier, enjoy better relationships and achieve more professional success.
But do we have to resign ourselves to the perseverance that nature has given us or is it possible to improve it in some way?
I bring good news. It is possible to increase your willpower by avoiding various psychological traps and treating it like a muscle: the more you put it to the test, the stronger it will become.
1. Abstain from external rewards
If you are looking for an external motivation for your goals, such as rewarding you with an aperitif every time you go to the gym, your unconscious mind will assume that you do not really want to do what you are doing. After all, that’s why you need to reward yourself, right?
In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the group of money-motivated volunteers took 3 and a half more minutes to solve a puzzle than the group that was not promised any financial compensation.
Whenever you need perseverance, look for your inner motivation. Doing something for health or for your family is stronger than doing it for money or fame.
2. Visualize the process, not the objective
Another great myth about willpower is that you have to visualize yourself reaching your goals.
But the reality is that it is impossible to control the difficulties you are going to encounter. You can not know how your body will respond to the exercise, what questions will put you on the exam, or when will you be offered that promotion at work.
Why then do you judge yourself on those goals?
Instead of visualizing the results, focus on what you can actually control. Imagine the process that you are going to follow to get them and recreate in your mind those instants where you can run the risk of falling into temptation.
According to investigations by doctors Gollwitzer and Oettingen, this is the true way to increase your chances of success.
3. Divide your goals into stages and monitor your progress
What motivates us to keep playing a video game?
The feeling of progress. According to research from Harvard University, this is responsible for many people becoming addicted to the game consoles.
To train your willpower, divide your goals into smaller stages that will allow you to control your progress. In this way, as you reach them you will feel closer to your final goal, which will increase your confidence.
4. Do not claim that you can do it, ask yourself
Although self-affirmations have been shown to have no positive effect on our motivation, many people still use them.
Repeating yourself constantly that you are going to achieve it or that you are able to get it will not help you because your mind is not naive. You know it’s a fallacy that you use to self-conquer.
Instead, ask yourself if you can get it. Questions start an unconscious mental process to find a solution, and that will provide you with additional resources to succeed.
5. Meditate to avoid distractions
In one study participants were allowed to choose between eating a chocolate bar or fruit. However, a group of them were presented with this option while being asked to memorize a telephone.
The group that had to memorize the phone while making the decision chose the chocolate bar 50% more often than the control group.
The researchers’ conclusion is that when we are distracted, we are more likely to fall into temptations. To avoid this, teach your mind to escape distractions with meditation.
Is not difficult. The studies reveal that with only 3 hours of total practice it is possible to improve your self-control.
6. Put small challenges and recharge your sugar
Science has also revealed that willpower is like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it will become. But if you pass, you will exhaust it.
If during the day you resist too much temptation or expose yourself to compromised situations (such as marathon work meetings), you will end up without reserve, and that will increase the risk of falling into temptation.
To train it, take small challenges on a regular basis, like a pot of chocolates at the entrance to your house to force you to resist every time you pass.
Surprisingly the simile with the musculature does not end there. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that raising your blood sugar is another way to recharge your willpower.
7. Exercise regularly
Finally, it is not good to forget the benefits of physical exercise. In one study it was shown that only 15 minutes of sports are sufficient to increase self-control significantly.
Also, thanks to exercise you will release endorphins, known as the Wellness hormones, which will boost your confidence and further strengthen your ability to resist temptations and withstand pressures.
These seven tactics have already proven effective in increasing willpower. Now it all depends on you go out there and start putting them into practice.