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How to Boost Your Willpower

Build good habits

When people are stressed, they tend to fall back on ingrained habits - regardless if they are helpful or harmful.
Start responding to mild stressors with better choices. The more you strengthen your habits, the more likely they will be there to rescue you when a major stressor comes along.

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Willpower Depletion
Willpower Depletion

It is the idea that we place our willpower under much strain and as we put in much more effort into anything, the more it gets drained.

The consequence of ...

Roy Baumeister
Roy Baumeister

Self-control is a huge predictor of success or failure in life.

The Lab vs The Real World
  • Numerous studies have been performed by various researchers to indicate how real willpower depletion is and if it is even real at all.
  • Even with the contention of its existence, some areas of research are showing promising studies that we can exert control over our willpower through workouts or rituals.
  • It showed that even small, regular tests of willpower can give your self-control a lift. Willpower workouts don’t have to be especially taxing to have an effect.
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.
What willpower is
What willpower is

Willpower is the ability to resist or delay short-term desires to achieve long-term goals. Other names for willpower are self-discipline, self-control, self-regulation, determinati...

Benefits of willpower
  • Self-control appears to be a better predictor of academic achievement, a determining factor of effective leadership, and essential for marital satisfaction.
  • People who harness their willpower more effectively are happier, healthier, have better relationships, are further ahead in their careers, are more able to manage stress and deal with conflict.
The neuroanatomy of willpower
  • The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the part of our brains situated right behind our forehead. It is responsible for abstract thinking, analyzing thoughts, and regulating behavior.
  • The PFC controls what we think about, what we pay attention to, how we feel. Studies point out that this part of the brain is only fully developed around age 25.
  • The "I will power" is controlled by the region near the upper left side of the brain and helps you start and continue with not so fun tasks.
  • The right side handles the "I won't power," preventing you from acting out on every impulse.
  • The "I want power" sits in the middle of the PFC and keeps track of your goals and desires.