Connect with us

Life

3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

Published

on

willpower
Image Credit: Pixabay

How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

Davide Alfonsi is a London celebrity personal trainer, high-performance coach, author, and mindfulness coach. Davide teaches busy professionals, CEOs and executives to perform at the highest standards through exercise, nutrition and mindfulness. He is the author of the book “Stress-Free In Seven Simple Steps” and along with his career, he helped hundreds of busy people to achieve life-changing transformations. To know more about Davide and his company head over to his website www.ki-force.com or his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kiforcetraining.

Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jacquie

    Aug 12, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Thanks I am a mother and very busy! This helped me alot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

3 Reasons Why the Worst Day of Your Life is the Best Day of Your Life

Published

on

how the worst day of your life is the best day
Image Credit: Unsplash

Bad days are an inherent part of life which everybody has and there is nothing we can do about it. But did you ever have a day so bad that the mere thought of it instantly triggers a raft of negative emotions? I know I did. In fact, there was this one event I used to link a mixture of negative emotions to. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

How to Get What You Want in Life

Published

on

How to Get What You Want in Life
Image Credit: Unsplash

Once upon a time, there was a ruler of the ancient Greek city of Sipylus called Tantalus. He was invited to dine with the great Greek gods on Mount Olympia, where he stole some exotic fruits to share with the common people. Of course, this made the Gods angry for betraying their hospitality. To please them, Tantalus then sacrificed his own son and offered him to the Gods. Goes without saying, this made things even worse. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Casting a Spiritual Vision: 3 Steps to Release the Vision of a Lifetime

Published

on

casting a vision
Image Credit: Unsplash

This year is going to be the best year of your life. You are about to turn the biggest corner of your life. Do you know why? All of your life has been leading you up to this point in time. You were born for such a time as this. Imagine yourself casting a spiritual vision for this year that is miraculous in nature. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

10 Health Benefits of Yoga Supported By Science

Published

on

health benefits of yoga
Image Credit: Unsplash

Ever wondered what yoga does apart from making you touch your toes? Besides spiritual learning, modern science has also accepted the magical health benefits of yoga in the modern era. Yoga – derived from the Sanskrit word Yuj meaning ‘union’ is an ancient practice that is highly restorative and therapeutic for your body. It is rooted in the sacred land of India. It began as a spiritual practice in the beginning, but today, it is widely known for promoting mental and physical well-being. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending