Many people believe that it is possible to improve their lives only if they have a unique power called ‘Will Power’. Having a greater amount of will power will result in more self-control resulting in eating healthy food, exercising regularly, saving more for future, saying no to drugs and attaining all decent goals. Defining WILL POWER, we can say that it is that ability which helps in resisting the short-term temptation in order to meet long-term goals. Interestingly will power is not the only obstacle in achieving goals.
According to Roy Baumeister, a psychologist and a will power researcher there are three important components in order to reach a goal:
- Institute the motivation for change and set a comprehensible goal.
- Supervise the behaviour towards that goal
- Work out ,will power
According to early researches, will power is limited and it wears out. Think of a muscle that after reaching a certain limit fatigues out or think of a fuel tank in your car that has a specific limit and a fuel starts diminishing at its use. The interesting fact of the research is that when we start practicing self-control in making decision, the chances of making good decision declines. Our will power gets fatigued and Baumeister used the term ‘Ego Depletion’ for it.
In simple words when we control ourselves in one situation than for the next situation our intensity of self-control doesn’t remain same and will easily warn out. Number of studies has shown that decision fatigue results in individual’s control over everything from aggression to tolerance to pain. If we closely follow our daily routine we come across different decisions from buying shampoo to deciding about our future goals, from trivial to tedious decisions. Hence the self -control doesn’t remain same in all situations. In contrast many researchers have shown that reduced will power is seen only in those who think that they have less self-control compared to those who strongly believe that their self control doesn’t fall prey to ego-depletion. According to Baumeister “when people are more seriously depleted, belief in an unlimited willpower actually made things worse”
There are some very important facts regarding will power which are as follows:
1. Monitoring a progress helps greatly in improving will power. For example if you are bad at controlling weight, make a proper diet plan regarding what to eat and what not to eat (Consult a Nutritionist). The best tool for monitoring progress would be a ‘Scoreboard’ showing how much has been achieved and how much more needs to be done.
2. Interestingly glucose matters a lot and has a close relationship with our self-control. Brain is the main energy consumer in our body, and temptation is close knitted to glucose levels in bloodstream. In case, when the glucose level is low, will-power energy becomes exhausted, this causes people to go back to their old ways of choosing the easiest possible choice.
3. Interestingly our body is programmed to send warning signals when we are about to make a wrong decision, though it is difficult to self-diagnose but there are certain warning signals that work in diagnosing the problems like laziness, difficulty in making up one’s mind or feeling emotionally high. Decisions made in these conditions are usually short of standards and mostly results dissatisfactory.
4. An important fact on the subject of willpower is that disorganization results in willpower cutback. Whenever we have an unfinished task, our brain is designed to occupy mental energy. Think of the amount of unfinished tasks we have and the energy that our brain thus consumes accordingly. The need is to organize ourselves properly, thus resulting in low rate of unfinished job. In fact, many studies have shown that people who are more self-disciplined does not become victim of resisting temptation rather they create such environments that limit their exposure to situations that will either divert them or deplete them.
5. Decision making results in will power depletion, which means in a situation when there is a large pool of choices, the possibility is high that will power will show a downward trend. It is observed that people in such situation depict an unreasonable desire of not giving up the options. For example when it comes to marriages, if the pool of desirable match is larger in quantity than the chances are high that the decision time will take long enough looking for the best and not settling for a lesser match. This is because people become too conscious to take any decision that could possibly harm them or damage them and thus results in delay marriages.
6. Interestingly a mirror can boost your will-power and helps you focus on your goals. The reason behind this is that when one sees one’s own reflection in mirror it reminds of a self-ideal and thus eliminates all the bad behaviors that could possible work as obstacles in reaching the goals.
In a nutshell in order to improve your willpower, one needs to keep many factors in equilibrium. When one is facing short-term challenge, believing that your will is strong helps, whereas for longer or more hectic combats, knowing your actual limits can help you speed yourself and allows you to avoid temptation when you are most exposed to them. In conclusion, being mindful of your attention, recognizing when you need a break and allowing small extravagance that does not actually get in the way of your goals, can also help.