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7 Surprising Science-Based Hacks To Build Your Willpower

7 Surprising Science-Based Hacks To Build Your Willpower

Tempted by that second doughnut? Struggling to resist checking your phone? Shopping impulsively on Amazon? Slacking off by reading Lifehack instead of doing work? What you need is more willpower! Recent research shows that strengthening willpower is the real secret to the kind of self-control that can help you resist temptations and achieve your goals. The great news is that scientists say strengthening your willpower is not as hard as you might think. Here are 7 research-based hacks to strengthen your willpower!

1. Smile :-)

Smile

    Smiling and other mood-lifting activities help improve willpower. In a recent study, scientists first drained the willpower of participants through having them resist temptation. Then, for one group, they took steps to lift people’s moods, such as giving them unexpected gifts or showing them a funny video. For another group, they just let them rest. Compared to people who just rested for a brief period, those whose moods were improved did significantly better in resisting temptation later! So next time you need to resist temptation, improve your mood! Smile or laugh, watch a funny video or two.

    2. Clench Your Fist

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    Fist

      Clench your fists or partake in another type of activity where you exercise self-control. Studies say that exercising self-control in any physical domain causes you to become more disciplined in other facets of life. So do whatever works for you to exercise self-control when you are trying to fight temptations: clench your fist, squeeze your eyes shut, or you can even hold in your pee, just like UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

      3. Meditate

      FV_International _Insights_eja1

        Meditation is great for a lot of things – reducing stress, increasing focus, managing emotions. Now research suggests it even helps us build willpower! With all these benefits, can you afford not to meditate? An easy way to get started is to spend 10 minutes a day sitting in a calm position and focusing on your breath.

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        4. Reminders

        SONY DSC

          Our immediate desires to give in to temptations make it really challenging to resist them. Our emotional desires seem like a huge elephant and our rational self is like a small elephant rider by comparison. However, one way to steer the elephant is to set in physical reminders in advance to remind ourselves of what our rational self wanted to do. So put a note on your fridge that says “only one doughnut” or set an alarm clock to buzz when you want to stop playing video games.

          5. Eat

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          Eat

            Did you know that your willpower is powered by food? No wonder’s it’s so hard to diet! When we have low levels of glucose, our willpower goes down the drain. The best cure is a meal rich in protein, which produces a constant and steady glucose level and enables the most optimal willpower.

            6. Self-Forgiveness

            Forgive

              How is self-forgiveness connected to willpower? Well, what the science shows is that feelings of regret deplete your willpower. This is why those who eat a little too much ice cream and feel regret are then much more likely to just let themselves go and eat the whole pint or even gallon! Instead, when you give in to temptation, be compassionate toward yourself and forgive yourself. That way, you’ll have more willpower going forward!

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              7. Commitment

              Commitment 2

                The most important thing to strengthen your willpower is commitment to doing so! Only by committing to improving your willpower every day will you be able to take the steps described above. To do so, evaluate your situation and why you want to strengthen your willpower, make a clear decision to work on improving this area, and set a long-term goal for your willpower improvement to have the kind of intentional life that you want.

                Then break down this goal into specific and concrete steps that you will take based on the strategies described above. Research shows this is the best path for you to build your willpower! So what are the specific and concrete steps that you will take?

                Photo Credit: Smile!, Fist of Fury!, Gleb Tsipursky meditating in the park, 225/365 Reminders, pai eating, Forgive, Commitment

                Featured photo credit: Temptation/Lowes via flickr.com

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                Dr. Gleb Tsipursky

                President and Co-Founder at Intentional Insights; Disaster Avoidance Consultant

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                Last Updated on August 21, 2018

                6 Ways Journaling Will Change Your Life

                6 Ways Journaling Will Change Your Life

                I have been writing something about myself or my everyday for almost 2 years now. It has been one of greatest and most freeing experiences in my life because I can actually slow myself down to think about what’s truly happening around me as well as my part in it.

                Most people treat journaling as something they “know they should do” but rarely ever take up the practice and if they do, they fall off the wagon within a few months. But, it doesn’t have to be this way, especially when you learn about the amazing benefits of journaling.

                Here are 6 ways that journaling will change your life.

                1. How do you really feel?

                Journaling can help you get out of the way of what you truly feel on the inside. In other words, taken the time to sit and write about something that is affecting you can lead to a deeper and more realistic view of what feelings you are actually feeling.

                When we are caught up in the “rat-race” of life, we tend to disregard our feelings and keep ourselves, busy and jaded. It isn’t until we slow down for some time to let the feelings inside be what they truly are.

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                2. Point of view

                Another thing that journaling can give us is a better understanding of our own point of view as well as what others may think of a situation.

                It’s always thought to know exactly what others are thinking, but journaling can allow us to slow down enough to start to try to understand someone else’s point of view.

                3. A life worth living

                I like to think of journaling as “my life’s story”. That alone makes it fun, enjoyable, and inspiring to write a little about myself and what is going on with me every single day.

                After you have journaled continuously for sometime and you look back on the things that you have written you may realize that your life is much more interesting and deep than you once thought.

                In fact, if you are down on yourself a lot, journaling is a great way to get around this and discover that your life is truly worth living.

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                4. Hi, my name is…

                Do you know yourself? Without thinking too hard about it, you may just simply say, “of course I do,” yet if you haven’t done some serious introspection and work on who you are, chances are you may only know who you think you are.

                This was definitely the case for me before I started writing for myself every single day. I thought that I knew what I liked and disliked, who I was, and where I was going in life.

                But in reality I these aspects of myself were what I thought I should be; not actually who I was.

                With journaling, I uncovered dreams and goals that I never imagine would be mine. I realized that there were so many things that I just couldn’t stand to do and therefore gave myself boundaries to say “no” more.

                Journaling can do this for you too. You can finally say hello to yourself.

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                5. A cooler old person

                The idea of being able to write for your life and then pass that writing onto someone else, whether it be old friends, children, grandchildren, etc. is inspiring.

                I could only wish that my father or grandfather would have been able to pass on something like that to me. It wouldn’t have mattered if the words they wrote were deep or insightful; just as long as they were words that I could read and feel more connected to them.

                You can journal every day and then pass this legacy on to loved ones later in life. They can learn about you and what made you tick as a human.

                6. Build your serenity

                Getting back to number one; when you start to write about your feelings and how situations in your life change your feelings you gain the ability to start to process those feelings.

                Rather than leaving feelings completely bottled up inside, you can put them down on paper and get them out of your heart and mind so you can process and understand them more which will lead to a more serene existence.

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                This especially works well with feelings like anger, jealousy, resentment, etc. Putting these feeling out on paper and letting them take their course is a great way to stay balanced.

                The simple act of writing a few words, sentences, or paragraphs everyday can have a profound and instant effect on your life for the better.

                Journaling can change your life and make you more interested and interesting through the years.

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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