Willpower is basically our personal motivation to exercise a thought or a notion. It can be as simple as cutting a certain food out, or much bigger; quitting your job and starting a new career for instance. Your willpower determines how long you’re able to stick at something difficult and we could all do with a willpower boost with the big and small decisions we make in life.
Willpower Boost 1:
Don’t start on a monday
Monday’s aren’t the best day of the week. The thought of a whole week ahead of you until your sacred weekends arrive, can put anyone off their stride. If you’re choosing to start a new health regime, sport, diet or life change, start on a day of the week when you feel your calmest. Sunday (for instance) is great for starting new classes like yoga as you’ll have had a day off from work to reset your balance and can approach a new challenge with a positive mindset.
Willpower Boost 2:
We all make the mistake of making plans that are far too ambitious or unrealistic. Jayne, mum of two agrees: “I made the classic decision to run a marathon when I couldn’t even manage a mile around the local park,” she admits. “I completed the marathon and I’m proud of myself, but what I put my family through with the training, tears and injury was crazy. Why I didn’t start by running a 10K, then a half marathon, then a marathon I do not know!” As much as having lofty ambitions is to be admired, try to remind yourself to measure your success on how far you’ve come, not on how far you’ve got to go.
Willpower Boost 3:
Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s hard in our insta-worthy tuned-in lives, not to constantly measure ourselves against what we see others doing. But remember what people portray, both in real-life and social-media is a rose-tinted edited version of what their real lives are like. “I’ve always compared myself to my cousin – she was always prettier, thinner, smarter, more outgoing than me,” admits Cath, 38. “One day my cousin admitted to me she felt she never quite measured up to me in people’s eyes. It seems we were both putting each other on a pedestal!”
Instead of letting envy eat away at you, see other people’s successes as a way to spurn you on and even inspire you to change things in your life.
Willpower Boots 4:
Give yourself a break
Having to exercise a lot of self-control and willpower, can be draining on your energy and make it harder to keep up your goal in the long term. Take giving up sugar for example – it would take a huge amount of willpower and determination to follow this through and keeping it up for months and months would seriously deplete your resolve. Instead, factor breaks into strict regimes so you can have a rest. Allowing yourself a ‘treat’ every month can help to find a balance and enable you to return to a stricter routine feeling refreshed. A recent study measured how many food choices people make on average in a single day. The result – 227 choices! No wonder our brains need a rest!
Willpower Boost 5.
Join a Group
Strength in numbers and mixing with people who have the same goal as you can do wonders for your motivation. Sally, 27, agrees. “I’d tried getting fit on my own and I’d always find excuses not to go to the gym or for a run, but then I joined my local netball club and started playing on the team,” she explains. “Suddenly If I didn’t turn up, I was letting the team down and it didn’t take long before I felt fit, healthy and part of something much bigger than myself.”
Willpower Boost 6:
Keep a diary
Being able to look back and see how far you’ve come can spur you to keep going. From deciding you’re going to quit your job and retrain, to courses, exams and job interviews – writing it all down and why you decided to take a different path in the first place, can help to motivate you during any wobbles on the way. Of course, when you finally land your dream job, you’ll be able to look back on your journey with a huge sense of achievement.
Willpower Boost 7:
Write down your daily goals each morning
This is when your willpower is at its strongest and you’re not yet tired and bogged down from work and life stresses. Decide what your goal for each day will be and keep a note of it. You can use goal-setting apps like Strides or Toodledo, where you set your goals, and the app reminds you to keep up those daily habits. You can decide anything – to read more books, meditate, learn to cook, learn a language… and the app will remind you to take steps towards your goal. Perfect for those of us who need a gentle nudge back on track every now and again.
Willpower Boost 8:
Eat properly and get a good night’s sleep
Being hungry and tired is not a good foundation on which to start a new regime. In fact, looking after your wellbeing will help you to feel good about yourself, which in turn will help with positive thoughts and willpower. We need seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re rarely getting that. Put your phone alarm clock on in the evenings to remind you to go to bed at a decent time and not to watch one more episode of The Walking Dead!
Willpower Boost 9:
Have a mood board
Studies have shown that having images of your goals can increase your willpower to achieve them. Have a mood board above your desk with pictures of foods you want to be eating, your dream house/job/wardrobe/body! Or it could be motivational quotes that you look at when you need a boost. See point 10!
Willpower Boost 10:
Make up your own motivation motto
And repeat it, a lot. Here’s some celebrity motivational motto’s to help you with yours…
“I don’t think you can create anything interesting from a comfort zone. You have to work from a place of fear and failure.” Charlize Theron.
“Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.” – Drew Barrymore
May the Force be with you is charming but it’s not important. What’s important is that you become the Force – for yourself and perhaps for other people.” Harrison Ford
Be the change you want to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi