I’m fascinated by willpower.
Truth is, most of us rely on it way too much. Here are three few rules you should know from what I’ve learned over the years:
- You only have a limited supply of willpower each day. However, with practice, you can strengthen that reserve over time, like a muscle.
- Using up will power in one area of your life depletes what’s available for other areas of your life.
- Any decision made ahead of time does not dip from the supply of will power.
A lot has been written about the first two, so I’ll leave the Google search to you. But let’s dive into that last one. Ask yourself: what important decisions have I made ahead of time in my life.
Let’s break this out into practical suggestions:
- Determine boundaries and a plan for your day ahead of time.
- Create a schedule and commit to it.
- Save your willpower reserves for when you need to push yourself through a challenge you didn’t foresee.
- Don’t waste it on simple, daily decisions you should already know.
- Look for opportunities in your daily life to cut out unimportant decisions you have the habit of wasting time on.
For example, exercise. Don’t waste will power the morning of deciding whether or not you’ll exercise. Instead, decide to the night before, put it on your Mattercard and when the time comes the next morning, you already know you’re going to do it.
Maybe you just go for 5 minutes. Or, you do a full Murph wod (crossfit), beast mode. But the decision to exercise was already made, so you just do it. It’s no longer in question. Your job is simply to keep the commitment you already made to yourself. And as you do that, your brain starts taking yourself seriously.
Don’t waste valuable willpower on insignificant decisions, like “What shirt will I wear?” or, “Should I have seconds on dessert?” Create boundaries and systems that make these decisions for you so you can save your willpower reserves for far more important decisions.