deepstash

Beta

© Brainstash, Inc

AboutCuratorsJobsPress Kit

Willpower is like a muscle

Willpower is like a muscle

Just like going to the gym and building up strength, the more you train your willpower by accomplishing tasks on a consistent basis, the more you’ll have of it.

@zara_michaels

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Long term change is better served by building better habits, than by forcing your willpower. 

You will choose the apple over the cake for a number of times ... and then give up. Building a habit to start the day by going to the gym will work better.

Habits  = “automatic” responses...

 ...to familiar environmental cues. 

They form when you engage in a behavior repeatedly in the presence of consistent stimuli.

  • An environmental cue (that triggers your brain to initiate a habit);
  • behavioral response (the manifestation of the habit);
  • reward (that reinforces the habit).

...means changing the cue that triggers it.

Instead of focusing on developing the habit of “working out,” develop the habit of putting yourself in the position to work out regularly: get home, get into workout clothes, prepare you water, go to the gym. 

There’s no magical number...

...of days to form a new habit.

Instead, habits come about gradually over time and in a non-linear fashion.

Making a good habit stick requires:
  1. Knowing the basics about how habits form and how they work
  2. Adjusting your perception about the habit you want to build - If the habit seems impossible, then it will feel harder
  3. Planning for when things go wrong

While consistency is key, missing one or a handful of opportunities to practice the desired habit will not ruin your chances at establishing that habit in the long run. 

Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

GET THE APP:

RELATED IDEAS

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.

4

IDEAS

Identifying the cue and the reward you’re craving is key to eliminating bad habits.
More often than not, you can quit bad habits by adding a little “friction”.
With this information, you can replace any bad habit with a healthier one that offers the same reward.

The habit-forming philosophy is that you should do things slowly and steadily. Slow and steady leads to a more sustainable strategy for the long-run. But in many areas, this strategy doesn't apply.

  • In many difficult projects, such as starting a business or going back to school, it is necessary to put in a bigger effort at the start.
  • When learning a language, slow and steady may be disastrous initially as it tends to push people to passive learning techniques that are ineffective.

The mistake here is assuming slow or fast always works best, without first checking if your specific strategy will be the best approach.