By Kim Miller and Shannon Dougherty, Fit Mom Diet www.FitMomDiet.com
Willpower is an excellent character trait! It provides us the ability to make positive choices and allows us to become better at controlling our behavior and decisions. A great deal of research points to these abilities as key facets in creating a happy, healthy life. If we can increase our will power even just a little, imagine all that might accomplish.
The good news is, we can! There are several strategies that help improve your will power and your life. Implement these three tips and see how they impact you.
Don’t Deplete Your Willpower Too Quickly
Willpower is strengthened as you use it. Much like building muscle, you need to actively exercise it to see results. However, there is time and place for rest. If you went to the gym one day and lifted heavy, your muscles might need a break. The same goes for willpower. If you are constantly putting yourself in situations where you have to tap into your willpower you will fatigue easily. Be mindful to create strategies to give yourself a rest. For example, if you are using will power try and stay on a healthy diet, surround yourself with clean, fresh food. Be selective about where you go out to eat and the foods you are around. You can only sit with friends at fast food restaurants so many days in a row and eventually you will be more likely to cave in. Keep it out of sight, out of mind the majority of the time and you will achieve greater success in your efforts.
Award winning Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. shares her latest scientific research and insights on self-control in her book, The Willpower Instinct. This book discusses how we can harness willpower to gain control of our habits. McGonigal encourages individuals to shift into pause-and-plan mode when they feel stressed and the natural fight or flight impulses kick in. One effective strategy for shifting into this mode is doing deep breathing exercises. “Slow your breath down to four to six breaths per minute,” said McGonigal. Doing this helps move the body from stress mode to self-control.
Create Healthy Habits
Willpower is tremendously affected by stress, so creating habits that work to reduce stress on a daily basis helps immensely. Healthy habits include things such as getting an average of eight hours of sleep a night, staying hydrated, limiting exposure to technology and media one hour before bed, cultivating positive relationships, giving back to the community in some way, engaging in events and activities that create joy within oneself, staying in touch with nature, meditating and practicing mindfulness. All of these things help reduce stress making it more likely that willpower will strengthen as well.
Want additional ideas on how you can stay mentally healthy? Check out Fit Mom Diet’s latest book, Mental Fitness 101: Transform Your Body through the Power of Your Mind, available now on Amazon.