Last week I talked about Motivation. And how many view their struggles as a lack of motivation. I made the point that in many cases, our motivation still exists. It is our reason for wanting to do something. However, it is our Willpower which we lack.
So as promised I have come up with a few willpower building techniques. Willpower is something that can be depleted. We need to work on it and build it up. The more you use the more you will have. However, over use may burn it out.
So my first tip is to Finish What You Start. The best way to build your willpower is to follow through. So once you begin a task, finish it! The best way to feel like you aren’t achieving anything is to have many unfinished tasks. This gives the illusion that these tasks aren’t worth our time. If they are important enough that you started then they deserve to be finished. Finish them as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure you do it and do it well. This way you can be proud that you achieved it and it can be something that you’re happy with.
Example; Say you’ve started a blog. You start to write a post but get an idea block. You decide to take a break and pick it up later, but you never do. You don’t feel like you can finish it or you think it won’t be good enough. Soon enough you’ll have a few unfinished posts, and nobody will be reading your blog because there’s nothing on it! Sit down, open that word document, and finish the blog. Done is better than perfect. You’ll never know how good it is if nobody ever sees it.
My second tip is to Do One Thing at a time. Let me just say that New Years Resolutions are a bad idea! We try to change our whole lives overnight and it never works. Changes to our daily habits take time. They need to be repeated and practiced all the time. It uses extra energy and more willpower to build a new habit into your daily routine. Do you really think you won’t burn yourself out if you’re trying to wake up early, stop smoking, exercise and write a blog all at once? It sounds exhausting just thinking about it. Pick one thing to start, do it daily, see how it works and how it makes you feel. If you like it, keep it up, if you don’t then move to the next one. Yes it will take a little longer doing one at a time. But more than likely, these new things will stick for longer, and you’ll enjoy the transition a lot more.
Example; It’s January 1st. New Year New You (that’s what everybody says, right?) This is your year and everyday you’re going to wake up early, do morning meditation and go for a run. After work you’re going to cook a healthy dinner, read a book and write about all the things you’re grateful for that day. Instead you snooze your alarm one too many times and suddenly you don’t have time to meditate and run. It’s also raining so you decide to leave the run for today and just meditate. Unfortunately you can’t relax because you’re thinking about the time and how much traffic there will be. After work, you’re so exhausted you just want to order a takeaway and chill out. You do a little reading, as planned and sit down to write what you’re grateful for. However, you don’t feel so grateful because guilt has taken over. You didn’t get up early, you didn’t go for a run, and you got a takeaway! Even though you tried your best to meditate and still got some reading in, you feel defeated. On the other hand, if all you set out to achieve for this whole week was to meditate everyday, well that’s one day down.
My third and final tip is to find somebody with similar goals. Willpower is contagious, so find someone who is on the same path or enjoys the same thing as you and work on it together. This is very helpful for building willpower as firstly, you have somebody to answer to when you’re not trying your best. Second, seeing them work at it will push you to do better, and visa versa. And third, it’s always nice to have somebody by your side, who is on the same wave length as you.
Example; You go to the gym, you’re so excited, you have your workout routine so you know what to do, you’ve got your music to keep you focused, you’re ready! Half way through and you’re starting to feel tired. It’s only your first day so you decide to take it easy and cut the reps down a little, won’t hurt anybody, right? A few weeks later and you haven’t reached your goals. In a lot of cases this is when people quit. ‘’It doesn’t work and it’s too hard, why do I bother?’’ Instead why not bring a friend with you. Tell them what you want to achieve. When you start getting tired and try to stop or slow down, they will then lift you up and say you can do this, you’re halfway there. Suddenly you have a little more energy..
There are many other techniques to building your willpower. These are just a few that I have found to work quite well. I am that person who tries to change everything all at once. But it is so exhausting and you begin to associate these new habits with negativity and fatigue. And that is the opposite of what you were aiming for when you decided to incorporate these things into your daily routines.
So pick a few things that you believe will help you become more productive, happier or more relaxed. Try one at a time and see if it works for you. It’s okay to feel that one of these new habits doesn’t fit with your needs, just find something else that does.
"Most of life's actions are within our reach, but decisions take willpower"