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How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough

Avoid temptation

Steer clear from “danger spots” where temptation is present and willpower is necessary.

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How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough

How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-ways-increase-our-willpower.html

lifehack.org

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Key Ideas

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, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, to avoid the glucose rush.

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.

Adequate rest

Rest reduces the body’s need for glucose, and it allows our bodies to make better use of what we have.

Self-control requires brainpower, and when we are tired, our bodies don’t deliver enough glucose to our brains.

An adult should sleep for 7-8 hours a night.

Avoid temptation

Steer clear from “danger spots” where temptation is present and willpower is necessary.

Develop good habits

Good habits strengthen our willpower because they build self-discipline and self-control, and they spread to other areas of our life.

Start with something as simple as making your bed. This can have a positive effect on your willpower.

“To-do” lists

Making endless lists that cannot be completed leaves us worrying more than doing.

Make sure your "to-do" list is manageable.

Take frequent breaks

We can “run out” of willpower and end up making poor decisions if we don’t allow ourselves to take breaks.

Rest from time to time. You will feel refreshed, have more willpower and produce better work.

Meditate

When we become “mindful,” we are also engaging that part of our brain that we need for willpower.

Take 5 minutes and detach from the chaos around you.

Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcohol impairs judgment, reduces self-awareness, and impedes willpower.

Be mindful of how much you’ve had to drink when making decisions.

Plan in advance

Having a pre-determined plan can significantly increase your willpower when presented with temptation.

Do you have a plan to deal with your temptations? Write out an action plan even if it is very simple.

Remember the purpose

When you consistently remind yourself why you are doing this, your willpower increases to stick to your plans.

Figure out what you are trying to accomplish. What will you lose if you give in to your bad habits?

Do the opposite

Every time you change your routines, you are exercising self-control. 

Start with small changes. When you succeed in making small changes, you develop the ability to take on much larger ones.

Choose a reward in advance

Our brain is hardwired to pursue positive rewards.  Determine a reward in advance for making a change.

Anticipate roadblocks

When you anticipate roadblocks in advance, you will have a stronger willpower to deal with them.
Consider what roadblocks may arise in your path.

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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 reasons we crave junk food
  1. The sensation of eating the food: what it tastes like, what it smells like and how it feels in your mouth.
  2. The blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates t...
How craving are stimulated artificially
  • Salivary response: the more a food causes you to salivate, the more it will cover your taste buds.
  • Rapid food meltdown: this tells your brain that you’re not full, even though you’re eating a lot of calories.
  • Calorie density. junk foods are designed to convince your brain that it is getting nutrition, but to not fill you up.
  • Memories of past eating experiences: When you eat something tasty, your brain registers that feeling and will bring it up in the future.
Building better habits means changing your environment

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But your environment has an incredible ability to shape your behavior.

Nowhere is this more true than with food.

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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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