Willpower is the ability to ignore temporary pleasures or discomforts in order to pursue a longer-term goal, and is essentially a biological function. It is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is using your rational side to control or dictate what the emotional side wants-not a fair or easy fight! Emotions are a powerful driver of decisions and easily overpower reasoning at times.
So given that willpower is limited, what can we do to maximise our willpower? and what are some strategies to conserve it?
1. Plan in advance.
Planning in advance for moments of weak self-control reinforces willpower when it is needed most. For example: The food choices we make because we are tired or hungry. These choices are often poor and of little nutritional value because we just grab what is convenient and usually packaged! A better strategy would be to organise meals for the day or week in advance (I do mine on a Sunday) so that you are at your strongest in regards to willpower. Then your meals are already prepared and the decision to eat well, has already been made and is of convenience to you!
2. Think in advance.
Think about how to deal with situations before they arise. This might be as simple as viewing the menu of a restaurant online, so that you make the best nutritional choice and agree to it before arriving and choosing randomly. It might be keeping a food and exercise journal or planning your workouts in advance. It has been proven that people who schedule their workouts are more likely to stick to them!
Do not let your emotions get the better of you! What you think will satisfy you now (skipping a workout, making silly food choices) might satisfy you at that immediate time, but you and I both know that we will live to regret it and beat ourselves up over it.
What are your goals? Dreams? Aspirations? Don’t lose focus or sight of what you ultimately want.! I can assure you it is not a bite of that chocolate bar or an extra hour on the couch!