Willpower gets the blame for a lot of things. Binge eating on the weekends. Not making it to the gym after a long day. Procrastinating on important tasks at work. We have come to think of willpower as a limited resource that gets depleted as the day goes on. Much like our phone battery, we start the day fully charged and finish it running on empty. This equates to bad choices and thinking that our decisions are largely out of our control. The fact is that this way of viewing willpower IS TRUE, but only if you believe it to be that way. New research is pointing towards an alternative and more empowering way to think about willpower and that the old way of thinking is only half true.
What if you instead of viewing willpower like the battery on our phone, you viewed it as a muscle that gets stronger the more we use it? Recent studies support this idea and illustrate that willpower is actually surprisingly easy to boost. So easy in fact that merely mentioning it to someone that willpower builds on itself has been shown to increase levels of willpower in a given task significantly.
In one study from Stanford, researchers gave subjects the prompt, “Sometimes, working on a strenuous mental task can make you feel energized for further challenging activities.” Following this prompt, subjects worked harder and longer on a task that was given to them compared to the group that received no prompt.
Willpower is still a resource that can be depleted. There is no denying that. We can however strengthen our willpower muscle by changing the way we think about it and exercising it whenever we can.
Example’; Reframing situations from:
- “I’m going to put up with eating healthy during the week and preparing my meals so that I can have me cheat day on the weekend. Only 4 days to go!”
- “Each healthy meal I eat and prepare helps me build good habits and moves me closer towards my goal!”
Produce entirely different results. Next time you are feeling low on willpower, reframe the situation and look at the situation as an obstacle that will help you grow instead of a punishment to be endured. The results will surprise you.
FORGET THE USUAL RUBBISH WHEN IT COMES TO MENTAL STRENGTH AND WILLPOWER
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