You just need more willpower to resist the food/drink, to go out and run, to finish that article, book, piece of work, don’t you?
No, probably not, there are good reasons why relying on willpower doesn’t work:
- The first thing to understand is that our willpower is in limited supply, you’ve actually only got so much available every day. So if you waste it on dragging yourself out of bed and passing on caffeine at breakfast, it will run out fast.
- It ‘s a bit like a muscle. You can only use for a short time before it gives out, it’s fine in the short-term but the effects don’t last.
- You need to work it and train it for the times when it’s really useful, not just opting out of cake!
There are other tools which can help with accomplishing tasks and achieving goals:
- Visualising and imagination can really carry you forward. See how your goals – health, fitness, weight, education, exams, business – will change things. Imagine how you will feel, write about it, make it real.
- People who are better at self-control actually enjoy the activities some of us resist — like eating healthy, studying, or exercising. So find a way to get pleasure from your goals. Want-to goals lead to fewer temptations. It’s easier to follow those goals. It feels more effortless.
- Plan your day. People who are good at self-control seem to structure their lives in a way to avoid having to make a self-control decision in the first place. And structuring your life is a skill. People who do the same activity, like running or meditating, at the same time each day have an easier time reaching their goals not because of their willpower, but because the routine makes it easier. A trick to wake up more quickly in the morning is to set the alarm on the other side of the room. That’s not in-the-moment willpower at play; it’s planning.
In his book ‘Willpower doesn’t work’, Benjamin Hardy explains how to plan and adapt your surroundings so that you rely less on willpower and are more likely to succeed at whatever your goal is. So if your 2020 goals are already a distant memory, read it now and get back on it!