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3 Straightforward Ways to Increase Your Willpower Right Now

Do the Hardest Thing First

For most of us, our mental energy is at its highest in the morning.

As the day goes on, you'll feel more fatigued and so you are more likely to make bad decisions. Do the hardest thing on your list in the morning, and you will be less likely to crack under pressure later on.

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3 Straightforward Ways to Increase Your Willpower Right Now

3 Straightforward Ways to Increase Your Willpower Right Now

https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-straightforward-ways-to-increase-your-willpower-right-now

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Key Ideas

Eliminate as Many Choices as Possible

The more decisions you make (small or big) the less mental energy you have. Eventually, you'll lose your focus and you'll end up susceptible to bad habits.

If you limit the amount of decisions you need to make throughout the day, you can save some of that energy to make smarter choices.

Do the Hardest Thing First

For most of us, our mental energy is at its highest in the morning.

As the day goes on, you'll feel more fatigued and so you are more likely to make bad decisions. Do the hardest thing on your list in the morning, and you will be less likely to crack under pressure later on.

Refuel Frequently

Having regular healthy nutritional meals and snacks gives your brain little boosts of energy it needs to power forward. 

Without the proper fuel, your brain is more likely to focus on immediate indulgences and forget about those long-term goals.

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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 ...
Describing mental fatigue
Describing mental fatigue

It is the feeling that your brain just won't function properly. People will describe it as brain fog. You can't concentrate, and simple tasks take too long. You find th...

Causes of mental fatigue

Contributing factors to mental fatigue are poor nutrition, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalances, or cognitive overload. Cognitive overload can take the following forms:

  • When you focus on a single task for an extended period of time.
  • When you spread your attention across too many things.
  • Worrying about tasks. It is as mentally taxing as doing the task.
Give your brain high-quality fuel

Your brain is fuelled with the same food as your muscles. What you eat has an enormous impact on your cognitive functioning.

  • Cut down on refined sugars as it decreases alertness. Aim for sustained energy levels throughout the day.
  • Plan your meals in advance. If you wait until you're hungry, you're already low on energy and willpower and will reach for a quick energy boost in the form of sugar.
  • Don't skip breakfast. Without it, you may likely crash in the middle of the morning. Eat more eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal to sustain your energy levels until lunch.
  • Snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon to give your body consistent fuel.
  • Stay hydrated with water. Mild hydration can negatively impact cognitive performance.
  • Listen to your body to figure out what makes you feel best. The same nutrition advice won't work for everyone.

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“Micro quotas”

In the process of finding a balance between your desire to dream big and your day-to-day activities, create macro quotas.

These refer to the minimum amounts of work that...

Behavior chains

Creating new habits that stick is easier if we make use of our current routines, instead of trying to fight them.

Use "if-then planning": choose a regular part of your schedule and then build another “link in the chain” by adding a new habit. For example: "If it is lunch time, then I will only eat meat and vegetables.”

Simplify decision-making

Making repeated choices depletes our mental energy, even if these choices are mundane and pleasant.

If you want to maintain long term discipline, aim for fewer decisions during the day: identify the aspects of your life that you consider mundane and then ‘routinize’ those aspects as much as possible.

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