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How to Improve Willpower: 10 Ways to Regain Your Strength

Get More Sleep

Sleep deprivation makes you weak and tired. It has a direct impact on your focus and decision-making, whilst slowly exhausting your source of energy.

Sleep between 7.5 and 8.5 hours a night. A good rest makes it much easier to deal with daily activities and challenges.

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What willpower is

The willpower response is a reaction to an internal conflict. You want to do one thing, but know you shouldn’t. Or you know you should do something, but you’d rather do nothing.

How willpower works in the brain

The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps us with things like decision-making and regulating our behavior, needs to be looked after.

Feed your brain with good-quality food so it has enough energy to do its job and get enough sleep.

Willpower is finite

Willpower is like a muscle—it can get exhausted by overuse, but we might be able to strengthen our willpower by training it.

Avoid willpower depletion

Building willpower is similar to building muscle. Continually exercising without giving yourself a break is not the best way to increase your strength or performance.

Don't allow yourself to be in a position where you constantly have to exercise self-control. It will eventually deplete your resolve. Allow yourself some recovery time away from temptation.

Use your imagination

Imagination can blunt the cravings that erode your self-control.

If you imagine lying on a peaceful beach, your body will respond by relaxing. If you imagine being late for an important meeting, your body will tense in response. Use this to your advantage in building willpower.

Think about something else

You can even use your imagination to keep unwanted thoughts away.

Every time that unwanted thought occupies your mind, consciously think about something pleasant instead.

“Keystone” Habits

The primary keystone habit is regular exercise. People who exercise habitually start changing other unrelated patterns in their lives, even unknowingly. They eat better, use their credit card less, are more productive at work and more patient.

Food journaling is another keystone habit. Just write down everything you eat, every day.

Do the most important things first

Willpower is limited. It is highest early in the day but decreases as we make more decisions. Most self-control failures happen at night.

Do the most important things first. As the day goes on it will only get harder to face big challenges.

Don't Use Willpower

Research shows we don’t use much willpower when something is a habit.

Build new habits by manipulating your environment so as to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn’t do hard. Remove the cookies from eyesight and put your running shoes next to the bed.