Like our muscles, we can train and strengthen our willpower. As we focus on practice and resistance training, we develop a greater ability to control our impulses and focus on our goals. Willpower enables us to look past what we want right now to what we want most.
Read on for six ways to create more willpower so that you can continue to crush your goals for 2022!
- KEEP RECORDS
Write down what you do during the course of a day. Record the times when you are the most productive, what causes you to get behind, your emotions, and anything else that relates to your willpower—or lack thereof.
Look over the details and fluctuations and notice when you are at your strongest. We make a lot of our choices on autopilot. To change and create more willpower, we need the self-awareness to recognize what we are doing and when we are doing it.
Take steps to replicate the things that built the momentum for you to be so focused and productive in those moments. Likewise, readjust the things you did that led to procrastination or other pitfalls.
- ESTABLISH ROUTINES
Create daily routines that inspire you. Think about what gives you strength and energy and incorporate that into your everyday patterns. It could include things like waking up early, working out with a friend for accountability and socialization, or meal prepping to take away weeknight evening chaos.
Weekly rituals such as phone calls with a loved one, dates with your partner, or family game nights can be motivating, too. Making time for what matters will release guilt and free your mind to focus on whatever task is at hand.
Getting exercise is often a willpower challenge in and of itself, but—somewhat ironically—exercise is one of the most powerful ways to develop greater willpower.
A Macquarie University study of treatment to enhance self-control found that after two months of consistent physical exercise, the participants ate less junk food, consumed more healthy foods, watched less television, saved more money, and procrastinated less. The participants, who ranged in ages 18 to 50, had not worked out regularly before the study.
Aside from increasing our willpower, physical exercise lowers our stress levels and boosts our mood. If exercise isn’t part of your day-to-day, ease into it gradually for 2022. In other words, aim for consistency over participating in the next Olympics. Small changes yield big results.
- SEEK SUPPORT
Tell your support system what you are up to so they can be a sounding board when you need inspiration, ideas, accountability, encouragement, or someone to celebrate with. Social support can help with creating more willpower!
If you don’t have friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, or other people in your life who can be this part of the puzzle for you, set out to grow your social circle this year.
- PRACTICE GRATITUDE
At the end of each day, come up with three good things that happened or simply three things you are thankful for. Whatever your goals are and wherever you may be in the process of reaching them, gratitude will propel you forward and center your mind.
Cultivating gratitude has myriad benefits. Rather than letting anger or bitterness consume your thoughts, reflecting on the positive—however small it may seem at first—will replenish your stores of willpower and energy.
- REWARD EFFORT
Whether you’re abstaining from a particular craving or adding in a challenging new habit, it can be frustrating when you don’t see immediate results. Be proud of your effort! Make a note of it. What you are doing is strengthening your willpower.
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