Willpower: A tool to build the life of your dreams
Did you know that willpower is a finite resource?
The tank is full when you wake up after a good night’s sleep and thereafter it is a process of dissipation, decision after decision. Willpower cannot and does not differentiate between important and unimportant tasks. To restate for emphasis, every action in between waking up and going to bed is a decision and every single one of these decision uses some of that limited and precious willpower you have in a day.
Hence, your routine matters. Hence, what you are spending your time on matters. Your time and your willpower are your most prized currencies. Spending them on things, people and events that don’t align with your life and wellness goals is a transaction of loss so minimise them as much as possible.
Cognitive psychology experts say that willpower works like a muscle which means that it can be strengthened with training. We train our bodies to build muscle so that we can stay active for long and do enough heavy lifting. Same way, training for willpower and using it wisely can allow us to accomplish enough things in a day that we wish we had the time and energy for and make that elusive sense of fulfilment a more regular feature of our life.
So, two things (amongst others of course) that can fast forward your life in the direction of your dreams are - Mindful use of willpower and training to make it better. And here is list of few simple actionable to get on track for that -
- Take 10 minutes and do a self assessment of a regular day/week of yours and see what’s your time and willpower being spent on. Next, ask what are you getting in return from spending these assets? This will be a great head start in itself and give you a lead on what you need to edit. Let everything come to light, specially the innocent slip-bys such as over extended phone calls, getting lost in the rabbit hole of google, youtube and social media etc.
- Do the most important things you want to accomplish in the day as first things. The flexibles can follow later. Making a to-do list in the morning can help you direct your willpower even better. Also taking control of the first hour post waking up can change your days for better phenomenally.
- Minimize the time required in making decisions about things that are not gonna have a critical impact on your life either way. Better still, plan for them in advance, preferably at a time when you need a break or are at leisure. It can include things like, household shopping, selecting the outfit to wear the next day the previous night if that’s important to you etc.
- Spend time on leisure activities post finishing necessary and important activities. But also make leisure as a part of your routine so you don’t get starved of it. Try this - Permit yourself an indulgent leisure activity as a reward once you finish the important stuff you set out to do. Not only will the joy of it feel enhanced, you’ll also become more keenly aware of your progress and where you stand with things. Achievement is a confidence and mood booster like nothing else. The catch here is to not get too militant or have an unfairly demanding list of imp to-do things. That isn’t healthy or sustainable. The idea is to make progress with balance so the joy of life is not lost and no hidden tolls start rising such as impact on health, disturbance in personal relationships etc.
- To practise building willpower, follow these three simple steps - Finish what you begin, do a little more than what you set out to do, do it a little better than expected. (borrowed wisdom from sage Dandapani)
With willpower practice, changes can be felt from day one, and overtime your results will start piling up. Imagine where you could land in 6 months, 1 year or 5 years down the line. Sky is the limit!
So go ahead, make your own rules and then break your own rules. But first learn the rules. Look at the necessary toughness in the beginning as an investment for a worthwhile reward. Expect setbacks as they are a natural part of the process so do not give up when they come, just ride them out.
Last but not the least, it’s critical to not create pressure and stress on yourself be it any suggestion out there that you decide to follow. Your best advice comes from within you. The process of change and learning is meant to be enjoyed and that’s the only way can it bring true success. So while you may get too focussed on what needs to be done, don’t forget to look at what you HAVE got done. We wish you a life full of days that end with a private moment of pride :)