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How to Cultivate Willpower? 4 Simple Ways to stimulate your abilities to achieve your goals.

How to Cultivate Willpower? 4 Simple Ways to stimulate your abilities to achieve your goals.

There are two aspects of your life. You are either happy or you are trying to be happy. When we are happy, we wonder less about the truths and psychologies and why stuff works the way it works. We let the flow keep. However, when things aren’t going too well, our energies deplete. It’s how long you can survive in the face of those depleting energies that define your success or failure.

And your ability to survive that state of mind is willpower.

But, before we can learn how to cultivate willpower, we should rightfully try to figure out what diminishes it in the first place. Primarily, consider your subconscious mind as a huge hard disk that stores large amounts of data, in fact it stores every moment of your life and organizes them to form beliefs and behavioral patterns.

It stores everything you experience and the emotion that’s attached to that source. Lack of willpower indicates prolonged programming of your subconscious using negative notifications.

“They can conquer who believe they can. He has not learned the first lesson is life who does not every day surmount a fear.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Procrastination at work, loss in relationships, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, being fired, divorce, non-cooperation in the family, misconceptions. Every trauma a person passes through decreases his power to control. He loses willpower with every experience that reminds him of his underachievement.

“In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless.” – Aleister Crowley

Cultivating willpower is the most important thing you can do to achieve something worthy. It is the very foundation of your success and ability to strive for greatness. But, how do you do it?

Here are the 4 simplified steps to generate willpower.

1. Distract yourself

Most researchers of the 20th century claimed that willpower was flexible. The famous Marshmallow Experiment by Walter Mischel explains this just right. The researchers conducted a study with kids as to how the minds of children reacted to a greater reward if they were to abstain from having something, in this case, another marshmallow.

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Results? It was found that kids who had high willpower to keep themselves from giving in used simple distractions like singing, patting the table and keep themselves busy doing thing so that their minds could wait a little longer until the time expired and they received a another marshmallow as reward.

Your willpower diminishes with every thought of the instant gratification. If you are looking for a greater reward, keep yourself distracted from the immediate achievement.

 2. Use consequences to power your actions

There are two aspects to this. Many psychologists have an opinion that thinking about the negative outcomes might actually strengthen willpower and some others claim that positive outcomes actually help you push a little more.

Fortunately, both are valid. You just need to know when to use what. If you are in bad mood, low energy, and your goals look blurred, use the positive consequences to boost and motivate yourself.

On the other hand, when you’re in good mood, full of energy and yet lacking willpower, try convincing yourself using the negative method. This works because our minds tend to move from one energy point to another.

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3. Make the climb, without the rope

Remember that scene from The Dark Knight Rises when that doctor advises Bruce Wayne to climb the pit without the rope? That’s what you need to try to strengthen your willpower.

After graduation, I was very fearful about finding a new job. I would frequently get anxious and overwhelmed at the thought of it. I would keep searching classified but apply for none. I found that my willpower diminished every time I put off applying for an interview.

Fortunately, I learned to get out of my comfort zone and face the fear. It is, of course, not always that simple, but if you can convince yourself for a short span of time that there’s nothing else you can do but get the job done, your willpower will build quickly.

Willpower is the resource you plug into when most of the external circumstances needed to sooth you are missing.

 4. Keep reminding yourself about your willpower

What will you get if you show a little more courage right now? Your mind needs its share of motivation. What is it that makes this work worth doing? Remind yourself about the rewards and you’ll be much more positive when approaching your goals.

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There’s a willpower equation which says {Willpower = Motivation + Reward – Pain.}
So, if your pain is more than your level of your motivation + reward, you’ll find your willpower diminishing, it might even get to the point at which you would want to give up.

Kelly Mcgonigle, the author of “The Willpower Instinct,” suggests that simple actions like brushing your teeth with your non-dominate hand or a simple good night’s sleep can help boost your willpower. These activities somehow send a reminder about your raw abilities to your subconscious, which helps stimulate your willpower.

Here’s what you can do. Write down a list of activities or chores you’ve been avoiding. Choose the easiest items on it and do them. It will instantly make you feel better. Remind yourself about your willpower using tiny achievements.

List one small achievement every day

The process of cultivating your willpower needs practice. Here’s what you can do about it. Every day, make it a routine to get done one of the many things you’ve been avoiding in the past. It could be as simple as organizing your closet. Gradually, build your willpower by using tiny achievement and then moving on to bigger ones.

Featured photo credit:  American Football with the Goal via Shutterstock

More by this author

7 Simple Steps to Build a Successful Mindset How to Un-Clutter Your Mind and Stay Focused on Life Essentials How to Cultivate Willpower? 4 Simple Ways to stimulate your abilities to achieve your goals. How to Revamp your Life and Stop Procrastinating in Two Months

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Last Updated on October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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