Whether you have already started working towards your goal, or your start date is in the future, you’ll notice when you begin a natural boost of motivation and willpower that comes with the anticipation of positive change in your life. This is great, but keep in mind, your initial motivation will most likely wane over time, unless you understand why and what to do to lessen it.
Stanford conducted research on the mind-body relation of willpower and how to keep your willpower levels high. Here is a brief look at what they found-
Reduce your stress for greater willpower.
“Any time we’re under chronic stress it’s harder to find our willpower. The fight-or-flight response floods the body with energy to act instinctively and steals it from the areas of the brain needed for wise decision-making. Stress also encourages you to focus on immediate, short-term goals and outcomes, but self-control requires keeping the big picture in mind. Learning how to better manage your stress – or even just remembering to take a few deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed or tempted — is one of the most important things you can do to improve your willpower.”
Willpower is strongest early in the day.
“One of the most replicated findings in the field of willpower research is that people who use willpower seem to run out of it. Interestingly, any act of self-control leaves people with less willpower for completely unrelated challenges. Trying to control your temper, ignore distractions or refuse seconds all tap the same source of strength. The research also shows that willpower decreases over the course of the day, as your energy gets “spent” on stress and self-control. This has become known as “the muscle model” of willpower. Like your biceps or quadriceps the willpower “muscle” can get exhausted from effort.”
Increase willpower through meditation and exercise.
“Meditation training improves a wide range of willpower skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control and self-awareness. Physical exercise also leads to similar changes in the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex; however it’s not clear why. Regular exercise – both intense cardiovascular trainings and mindful exercise like yoga — also makes the body and brain more resilient to stress, which is a great boost to willpower.”
Using this research to your advantage, consider taking the following steps to keep your motivation and willpower at their highest levels-
-Get enough sleep.
-Exercise or at least get in a walk each day.
-If at all possible, work on your goal earlier in the day rather than later.
-Meditate for 5 minutes a day, or practice deep breathing.
Reducing any type of stress you are feeling mentally or physically will automatically increase willpower. Consider that the next time you are asked to commit to something extra, or are trying to decide if you should go to bed or stay up an extra hour.
Today’s content is focused on helping you continue to succeed as you follow the steps you planned to achieve your goal. Keeping your motivation level high is key to continuing towards your end goal, don’t let your momentum lessen.
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