What could you do if you had more willpower? Even better, what could you not do?
You could not have dessert, not have the supersize fries, not spend endless hours on Facebook, not jam out on your gym membership, not call that old boyfriend back.
The results of the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey shows that participants regularly cite lack of willpower as the number one most significant barrier to change. I’m assuming that the data in Canada would be similar.
But wait – good news is coming!
Research is showing that willpower, the ability to resist short-term temptations in favor of a larger goal, is something that can be strengthened. In the same way we get better at anything: practice, determination and commitment all play large roles.
To start off, think of your goal in as much detail as possible – see it and feel it, the more real you can make it, the better.
Now think (or even better jot down) the obstacles that are bound to come out and get in the way of reaching your goal.
OK, now it’s time to come up with a Plan B for how you will handle the situation that will keep you on track with your bigger goal. Remember: we are working on forgoing short-term satisfaction for long-term gain.
Researchers found a test group that thought through scenarios and how to handle them, was much more likely to stick to goals when compared to a group that didn’t think scenarios through.
Reframing your decision-making questions is another great way to strengthen your willpower. So instead of asking yourself, ‘Do I want this piece of chocolate cake?’ to which the answer is most likely an excited, ‘Yes, I do!,’ train your brain to reframe the question to something with a more positive reward choice. For example, ‘Do I want this piece of chocolate cake, or do I want to be one step closer to having my jeans fit?’
I don’t know about you, but I want my jeans to fit. Even if we only gain five pounds a year, times that by five years and we are on our way to destructive behaviors and habits.
So, if you agree having stronger willpower would be a useful tool to pull out of your tool belt as needed, try these few techniques and enjoy getting closer to your goals every day.
If you have any great tips that have worked for you, please share them with me.
Looking for more inspiration? Get it on January 6, 2014, at Motivational Mondays. Visit www.momondays.com/winnipeg for more information and tickets.