The strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans.
With that in mind It’s safe to say that our willpower can play an important role in eating well and exercising regularly [Key factors for getting lean and strong] but the golden question is can we increase our willpower? Because surely if we did we would always achieve what we set out to do. We would always want to go to the gym and always eat healthy!
Short answer; yes! I believe that we can increase the amount of willpower we have but it’s important to remember that it’s a finite energy source that we only have a limited amount of and must spend wisely.
Think of you willpower like you phone battery. Once its reaches 0% that’s it until you charge up again.
Mobile phones and motivation
Think of your personal willpower like your phone battery. Providing that you charge it up, you start each day with a full battery. Now, with every action you take, every picture and every app you open you use up that power. How quickly it runs out depends on the number and type of apps you use.
Our personal willpower is much the same. Providing we have rested well the night before and started our day in a positive way, we too start with 100% charge and then every little action and decision we make through our day costs a little of that willpower.
How much willpower it cost depends on the size of the decisions being made. Something simple like the stairs or the lift for example could only cost a little but a massive work project may drain you of all your willpower by 10am leaving the cake shop near the station in your crosshairs.
President Barak Obama relieved that he limits his choices to avoid decision fatigue. Even down to the little things like what he wears and eats.
With that in mind is it much of a surprise that after an early morning and a busy day working that you end up talking yourself out of your gym session? Due to that busy day of making decisions come 7:30pm you’re out of power (willpower) and you convince yourself that it’s ok to miss today.
Most of us will have had this type of experience before and will put it down to a lack of motivation/ drive/ willpower and whilst that’s partly true, it’s not that you didn’t want it enough. You just need to get better at managing how and when you spend your willpower.
Another huge realisation is that just like your favourite app, your willpower can get upgrades that improve running speed, decrease battery usage and remove bugs. We call them “habits” and with consistent practice you can slowly change something from a conscious effort to a formed daily habit. This is why some people can just say no to dessert without thinking (formed habit) but for others it’s a real conscious effort. The latter, with consistent practice, will eventually ‘upgrade’ to a fully formed habit.
How to maximise your willpower
#1 Start with a full battery
Get a good night’s sleep and start each day with a positive habit like meditation or journaling. A rushed morning drains your battery before you have even started. Ever wondered why your diet sucks when you’re stressed and getting zero sleep? learn more about the importance of sleep here.
#2 Remove unessential app
Take a look at the volume of different choices you make daily and chop away anything unessential. A brain bump is a good exercise to perform and see what you can remove, delegate or finally do. The less choices you make the less energy you use. Check out my FREE cheat sheet to learn how to perform a brain dump.
#3 Open less and use more
Stop trying to do everything at once. Avoid making drastic changes to your eating habits or exercise routine. Start small and just make one change at a time. Discover 5-Simple steps to making your goals bullet-proof!
#4 Prioritise important tasks
Whatever habits you’re trying to build, get them done as early as possible when your willpower is still high and life hasn’t had a chance to get in the way. An early morning run or lunch time workout is more likely to happen than that 8pm gym session.
#5 Get a second charger
Most people have a second charger at work to keep topped up. You can do the same by setting aside time during your day to take a step back and recharge. It can be as simple as using your lunch break to step away from all work to read a book or go for a walk. It’s especially important on the busy days (that’s when it matters). Argue all you want but 90% of the time a 15 minute break is not going to be the end of the world. In fact, you will not only come back a little more relaxed but more productive too.