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7 Ways You Can Easily Increase Your Willpower - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Procrastinating

Postpone your temptation to gain discipline.

Tell yourself "not now, but later." It is more powerful than denying yourself something.

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7 Ways You Can Easily Increase Your Willpower - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

7 Ways You Can Easily Increase Your Willpower - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/07/willpower/

bakadesuyo.com

7

Key Ideas

“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.

Build Willpower

Willpower is like a muscle. When you overuse it, it gets tired. But exercising it over time will make it stronger.

You want to rely on habits and exercise willpower steadily.

Eat And Sleep

Improving willpower is as easy as eating and getting enough sleep.

Adults who routinely shortchange themselves on sleep have less self-control.

Procrastinating

Postpone your temptation to gain discipline.

Tell yourself "not now, but later." It is more powerful than denying yourself something.

Cut yourself some slack

The reality is that you will give in to temptation. What is important is what you do after you fail.

Don't blame yourself. It reduces self-control. Showing self-compassion increases it.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

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. 

...
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. 

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“Positive” Procrastination

At the top of your to-do list, put a couple of daunting, if not impossible, tasks that are vaguely important-sounding (but really aren’t) and seem to have deadlines (but really don’t). 

...

Dashes

dash is simply a short burst of focused activity during which you force yourself to do nothing but work on the procrastinated item for a very short period of time—perhaps as little as just one minute.

The first thing is to take one minute and just write down the steps you need to do to finish the task - just a rough draft, at first, and that’s it. 

Now there is nothing else to think about, and there is no way to screw this task up. Everything is laid out and you can just start working on it.

Commitment Devices

First, give your friend $100. If you get the task done by 5 PM, you get your $100 back. If it doesn’t, you lose the $100.

Or make it $200 that the friend doesn’t keep — they donate it to some weird organizations, in your name.

Get the picture? That’s a commitment device.

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Self-Control

 ... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.

Research on Self-Control
  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. 
  • The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
  • A health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
  • Research has found that self-control is a limited resource. In the long-term, exercising self-control tends to strengthen it. 
Motivation and Monitoring

A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.

  • There needs to be a clear goal and the motivation to change. Having an unclear or overly general goal and insufficient motivation can lead to failure.
  • You need to monitor your actions daily towards the achievement of the goal.
  • You need to have willpower.

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Protein rich meals

The brain is a decision making muscle and needs to be sufficiently fed to provide the necessary willpower.

Eat meals at regular intervals. The meals should contain healthy proteins, ve...

Slow and steady

Willpower can be increased, but it is a slow and gradual process (just like increasing muscle mass).

Real change requires one small start at a time.

Dark chocolate

Sometimes we are in a position where we need to make a quick decision, and it feels tough. 

Take a bite of dark chocolate to help boost your willpower.

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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.

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The Morning Ritual
  • You need to wake up before the insanity starts. Before your goals for the day have competition.
  • The second part of your morning ritual is about mood. That feeling of control is what pr...
Important Work First Thing

Research shows that 2.5 to 4 hours after waking is when your brain is sharpest. Early morning is also when you’re most disciplined.

Do the work of your choice early in the day.

Regroup When You Slow Down

When the afternoon brain fog hits, it's often just because of our natural circadian rhythm.

First, take a break. Get a snack or a power nap if you can. 

What you need next is a mini-version of your morning ritual. Review your goals and the progress you’ve made this morning. Nothing is more motivating than progress.

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Sticking to a healthy lifestyle

Staying in shape is mostly about program compliance.

It’s not about having the best fitness program, but about having one that’s good enough, eating less junk food and making sure you...

Off limits foods

Successful dieters usually declare certain foods to be completely out of bounds, or allowed only during occasional designated cheat meals, rather than expecting themselves to eat everything in moderation.

Saying no to bad habits
It might seem like a simple matter of self-control. But it turns out that people with high self-control may not necessarily be better at resisting temptation. They might just experience it less often in the first place.

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Self-Control

Self-control is a key component of emotional intelligence, yet in a study where two million people were asked to rank order their strengths in 24 different skills, self-control ended up in t...

Strategies for self-control
  • Meditate.
  • Eat. If your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses.
  • Exercise releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses.
  • Sleep. When you are tired, your brain cells’ ability to absorb glucose is highly diminished.
  • Ride the Wave. Desire has a strong tendency to ebb and flow like the tide. Waiting out this wave of desire is usually enough to keep yourself in control.
  • Forgive Yourself when you slip up. Focus on what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.
Master Self-Discipline
  • Know your weaknesses. You can’t overcome them until you know them.
  • Remove temptations. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
  • Set clear goals and have an execution ...
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....

Meditate

Meditation improves your attention, focus, self-awareness, and lower your stress levels.

Meditating for even just a few minutes every day will help you to clear your head while activating the areas of your brain related to decision-making and emotions.

Develop Good Habits

When we are stressed, we tend to unconsciously fall back on ingrained habits, whether they are helpful or harmful.

Creating good habits helps you get through stressful situations without affecting your willpower.

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