Ways to increase your willpower
“Self-regulation failure is a major social pathology of our times”. This is one of the more pithy quotations from the book: Willpower. Rediscovering our greatest strength, by Roy F Baumeister and John Tierney, Allen Lane 2011.
The book has many worthy insights and ideas.
Here is my summary of key points from the book:
– The two lessons: a. You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it. b. You use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks. (This means that you don’t have a basket of willpower for working on emails and another one for planning your next holiday. There’s just one basket).
– Focus on one self-improvement goal at a time. For example, don’t try to lose weight and quit smoking at the same time.
– Things that promote will power are:
a. Sleep: Shortchanging sleep will reduce willpower. Naps are good. Being well rested is more important than feeling well-fed.
b. Glucose: Your body eventually converts all food you eat to glucose. If you have little glucose in your body you’ll have little willpower. (When I’m conducting an all day workshop I now eat a muesli bar at 3:00pm and at 5:00pm. This has helped me be less irritable and given me more willpower in the evening).
c. Not having to make decisions: Making decisions reduces willpower, even for decision making you like to do.
d. Neatness. Neatness also makes you more charitable.
e. Posture: Dedicated posture improvement promotes willpower.
– Developing your willpower (your inner discipline) leads to outer kindness.
I’d highly recommend that you read this book, and then apply the principles. I’ve seen the impact of improving my willpower. I’m closing in on 1300 consecutive days of doing a 20 minute powerwalk. The powerwalk has helped me maintain a consistent weight, and improved my health and energy, and made me more handsome. (ok, I’m joking about the handsome bit).