What up guys? In today’s blog post I thought I share some insights on how our Willpower works, and how we can adjust our days to optimize the preservation of it. Or to put in a meaningful context – not waste willpower on shitty small decisions, so you have some to spend when it really is needed for important things! Like having an important conversation, exercising, or approaching the potential love of your life you just saw walking by. This will also work as a primer for next week’s challenge – because a challenge isn’t a challenge if it doesn’t require some willpower to go through with it!
Bellow I’ll present the gist of it, and I’m basing the content on the YouTube video course by Improvement pill which I’ve mentioned before (link down there). A lot of this content is also covered in The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal – a great book I strongly can recommend. Anyways, let’s get into it.
Willpower is like a battery – The more you use it, the less you’ll have left. We start off with a certain amount when we wake up, but as we go through our days making a bunch of decisions and perform mentally challenging tasks, it’ll drain. So, depending on how your days look like, you’ll use up different amounts. For instance, when your studying for exams (which requires a whole lot of willpower), many find themselves losing all sense of normal everyday life routines like eating, sleeping and taking basic care of oneself. In a research context, they’ve named this state as “EGO DEPLETION” and it in fact makes your brain work slower and you become more emotional and impulsive.
Moreover, we also deplete our willpower reservoir when we are fighting cravings and needs. Over time though if we resist falling into these ‘traps’, we strengthen our willpower. But in the short-term perspective – it drains us! This means if we’re are trying to implement a bunch of new habits at the same time, it will be very hard for us to do so. I naively thought I could implement 10+ new habits as my new year’s resolution. Looking individually at each one of these habits, they don’t look much to the world. But when you sum up all the necessary willpower required, I burn through my daily budget with ease.
However, this view of having a limited resource has been changed in research lately, stating that it’s more about what mindset you have. 30% biological and 70% psychological to put it in numbers. Ironically even having a belief that willpower is limited will decrease your level of willpower (did I just make you a worse person?).
Looking at my own experience these past weeks, it makes sense. First week went by like a charm, super pumped and motivated. Since, still trying to do the same amount of habits, the willpower to do so is far less. Hence it can’t be tied to a ‘daily budget’. But there’s still truth to both concepts, and by embracing them both we can make sure to design our lives in in ways that optimize how we relate to willpower as a finite resource.
So how do we design our days better from a willpower conserving perspective? Here are some of the tips from the videos (Check them out if you want more details). My personal favourites are more sleep (powernaps), implemeting habits (longterm) and meditation. Altough the one I’m most excited about right now is excluding uncessary decisions from my life. Last week I spent unsubscribing to soo many diferent mails I got coming in daily. Considering all these offers we get means a whole lot of wasted willpower. Willpower that could be spent much better. Even if we can make a good deal, those earned dollars aren’t cheep if we consider what other bad choices it will make us do.
Good Luck and see you tomorrow:)
Video Links: (playlist :
How To Stop Bad Decisions With Willpower
THE SECRET TO STAYING MOTIVATED – Willpower Efficiency
How To Recharge Your Willpower
5 LIFE HACKS That Will MOTIVATE You To Do ANYTHING