The Science of Willpower Will Help You Accomplish your New Year's Resolutions!Willpower is an Actual Physical Entity. It's a Muscle!
Did you know that there is an actual, tangible way to ensure that your goals and plans for the New Year are fulfilled?
Maybe you are used to thinking of willpower as something abstract and non-material, something you have no real way of strengthening and increasing? Well, as it turns out, this notion is notion is not accurate at al! Willpower is, in fact, a physical entity in your brain. It operates in a similar manner to a muscle, and just like a muscle it uses up glucose, has a limited capacity to perform its work but also gets strengthened with training!
(So yes, you actually do have more willpower after you eat a chocolate bar!)
Now, keeping in mind this new discovery, there are actual ways to improve your self-control, and incidentally the chances to follow through on your New Year's resolutions! Here they are:
1)Work on your New Year's resolutions in Sequence!
Work on your new years resolutions in sequence and not all at the same time! As was mentioned earlier, your reserve of willpoer is limited and it gets depleted if you use it all at once on multiple goals. That holds true even if your goals are not in the same category with one anther such as improving grades in school and going to the gym regularly or quitting smoking; you still use the same reserve of willpower on all of these goals! So you will be more likely to fullfill your resolutions if you, for instance, focus on school first and then add regular exercise and/or diet to your routine later, after good studying habits already become a more-or-less routine habit for you. This way you are more likely to rally fulfill both of these goals. In fact, once you have"exercised" your willpower with one goal (in this case it is consistently good studying habits), it will be noticeably easier for you to conquer your second goal!
2) Protect yourself from temptation.
"People who have the best self-control have to exercise their willpower less often because they set up their lives to avoid crisis," researchers say "They don’t walk by the doughnut store on the way to the train. They go another way." By the same token, if you want to cut back on TV time, move it to another room. Want to avoid spending? Leave the credit cards at home.
Because your willpower is a muscle, it is important to give your brain and consequently your willpower a rest and sleep when you are tired. Rest reduces your body's demand for glucose, and that allows your body to make better use of what little bit you do have left. As a result, sleep improves your self-control and could even pay off at work; one recent study found that workers who didn't get enough rest are more likely to engage in unethical self-indulgent behavior at work.
4) Make your goal as clear and as specific as possible.
While some cynics scoff at those who make New Year’s resolutions, the resolvers get the last laugh; people who make formal New Year’s resolutions are ten times more likely to reach their goals than those with the same aims and motivation, but who never clearly articulate their aims.
Hoping to reach a goal without clearly defining it is like trying to find a place by simply driving around; you’re not sure exactly where you’re headed and thus fruitlessly burn up your fuel—or willpower.
Try not to stress over unimportant decisions too much.
Did you know that it's your willpower does the decision-making, So tough decisions deplete it's resources.
"As you might remember from last time, your willpower takes the biggest hit when you lock in a decision, but it also gets burned up simply through the process of shopping around and weighing different choices. With all that browsing, you might think you’d end up with the best choice, since you sifted through so many options. But the shopping lowers your willpower, which makes you risk averse and unwilling to make a decision that shuts out other possibilities. Basically, this means that in the pursuit of perfection, you end up with nothing, instead of something that wasn’t flawless, but would have made you happy.
This is why for instance speed daters have better luck finding a partner than those who use online dating sites; drowning in choices, the latter get stuck in perpetual browsing.
Instead of endlessly shopping around, figure out a criteria for what you want, and when you find something that works for you, stick with it– whether it’s a product, a church, or a lady friend".
If all else fails, eat dark chocolate!
"If you’re in a situation where you need to make a decision and it feels tough, eat some chocolate," Tierney says. It's much better to eat healthy, slow-burning foods to provide a steady source of fuel to your brain, but during those stressful moments when you feel like too many demands are being made on your willpower stores, eat a small piece of dark chocolate (it's good for your heart, after all) to give your brain a quick energy boost.