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Willpower: Can we really just say no?

Roy Baumeister on Willpower

 

"It's beyond my control."  We've all been there.  Situations where we feel we have "no power", let alone willpower.  In this humourous little video, Professor Roy Baumeister gives us a glimpse into how willpower works with some pertinent, sometimes weird, little anecdotes and five (5) steps to increase your willpower by:

  1. Conservation vs. Exhaustion - willpower relies on your brain having enough fuel (glucose) to function properly.  When you feel things more; get angry easily, get tired easily that's a sign you need to replenish glucose.  Your body is great at conserving glucose – for those times you really need to fight a bear or lift a car.
  2. Mental Tricks - try to be in a position of power.  Sometimes just knowing that you have more glucose available and your body is simply conserving is enough.  Don't just respond or react to crises.  Create long term habits and structure to help you when the trigger or crises arises.  
  3. Restore and Recover - when your glucose is depleted, eating good food and restful sleep recharges your glucose batteries.  
  4. Increasing Willpower - practice, practice, practice.  Practice control and over time willpower gets stronger.  Just like muscles.  On that note, exercise is good for increasing willpower – gets the glucose flowing.
  5. Knowledge - know what makes you vulnerable and avoid it.  Cut out the temptations or triggers until your willpower is strong enough to not "crave" whatever it is you want to avoid.

Bottom line – willpower is something that has a mind body link.  Without the glucose to power the brain and body, we make bad decisions.  So much for starvation diets.  

The best way to improve willpower is to increase the mind body connection by ensuring adequate glucose fuel is available and practice the tips and tricks above to help increase your willpower.

Now that we know willpower is finite we can manage it's use in our everyday lives. 

Why do I want a cookie now? 

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