What are the ways to improve willpower

3 ways to increase self-control, according to science

Last update: September 02, 2020

It is difficult to complete our work plan to achieve our goals. In fact, if there is one thing that many people have in common, it is precisely the difficulty in being consistent. The willpower to move forward with our goals is difficult to maintain. Increase our self-controlis therefore a very important task for which we must take responsibility.

The problem is that if we want to do something, we find conflicting motivations along the way. For example, on the one hand we want to lose weight, but on the other hand we love to eat well. Remembering the goal and resisting temptation is difficult. The same thing happens with many other things: we want to learn something new (play an instrument, speak a language, etc.) but find it difficult to do what we need to do to buy ourselves time ( Reduce free time, get up earlier, etc.).

Increasing self-control, and with it willpower, is a necessity for anyone seeking personal improvement in order to develop their personal and professional skills with the aim of being the best they can become.

How to Increase Self-Control

Self-control is the ability to regulate our human impulses, emotions, and behaviors in order to achieve long-term goals. The ability to exercise self-control allows us to focus our attention on performing all kinds of accomplishments.

You can find them on the Internet lots of tips to improve self-control and increase willpower.We want to look at those that are scientifically proven.

Keeping stress under control

One of the reasons we lose self-control and see our willpower fade is because we feel 'compelled' to do something as if that obligation came from outside. Therefore it is the basis of self-control to see ourselves as free and responsible for our actions.

In fact, research shows that People function better and are better able to cope with stress when they feel in control of themselves. If we think things are out of our control, they probably will be too.

In addition, we know that Stress affects the signaling pathways in the brain and thus the self-control in the face of a decision. According to one study, immediate rewards have a greater impact on decisions when stress is experienced. The scientists found that subjects who had suffered stress and should now eat were more likely to opt for unhealthy food than those who were not stressed.

The researchers also showed that the effects of stress on the brain are visible.The brain of the stressed participants showed altered patterns of connectivity between different brain regions, which significantly reduced the individual's ability to exercise self-control over food choices. Only some of these changes were linked to cortisol, the hormone commonly associated with stress.

According to the researchers, it continues to be that even moderate levels of stress can impair self-control. This is important because moderate stressors occur more frequently than extreme events and are therefore more relevant for a large part of the population.

Therefore we need to look for tools and strategies to manage and regulate stress. With that in mind, whenever we feel overwhelmed or tempted, taking a deep breath is a great way to control our stress levels and improve our willpower. A balanced diet, exercise and meditation also help.

Follow the plan

According to one im Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published studySelf-affirmation facilitates self-control when this resource is exhausted. Self-affirmation improves self-control by promoting higher levels of mental construction. Self-affirmation therefore holds great promise as a mental strategy that lowers the likelihood of failure in self-control.

A good example of this is the difference between saying “I have to learn to…” and “I can't do it”. It has been shown that regaining control of the situation with the sentence "I have to learn to ..." is more effective at helping us follow the plan and break bad habits.

Every time we say to ourselves "I can not", we get a feedback loop that reminds us of our limits. That way, we are quicker to assume that we are forcing ourselves to do something we don't want to do. So let's try "I have to learn to ..." to say when we are engaging in this bad habit instead of punishing ourselves by blaming ourselves for not being able to do something.

Practice mindfulness

It has been shown that Mindfulness meditation improves a wide range of skills related to self-control and willpower, including attention, concentration, impulse control, and self-awareness.

Meditation alters both the function and structure of the brain to aid self-control. Just eight weeks of short daily meditation training is enough to achieve this.

Other studies have found that Meditation is very useful for increasing self-control when trying to get rid of addictions or bad habitsor to achieve personal improvement.

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