There are many goals we want to achieve in life. Whether it’s working more to increase our income, building a fulfilling relationship, or achieving a particular fitness goal — at some point, we need to do something that we don’t want to do.
Unfortunately, we can’t reach most of our goals in a day or two. To get to where we want to be, we need to deliver consistent attention and action over an extended period of time.
As it turns out, almost everything we want to achieve carries a significant resistance. This is when our willpower faces the challenge — to get up two hours earlier for our workout, to give up a certain food for our future health, and sacrifice fun time for our side project.
Willpower and self-control are not everything when it comes to achieving success in life. But we can’t argue that they are a few of the key ingredients that get us started and keep us on track.
Here are four simple hacks to train your willpower and harness your self-control.
Do What Matters the Most First
Science and research have proven that willpower works like a muscle. The more we train it, the better it gets. But at the same time, our willpower becomes depleted after being used for long periods of time.
The more you’re doing things you don’t like to do, the faster and easier your willpower will become depleted. That’s why most people who hate their job tend to spend more time on the couch watching TV rather than spending it in the gym or with family. This is because they have spent all their willpower throughout the day on the work they force themselves to do.
The best way to solve this is to do what matters the most first, while your willpower is still at its peak.
So, when is willpower at its peak? Early morning after a good rest.
- Want to start reading more? Read in the first hour of your day.
- Want to exercise regularly? Schedule your workout before your work (Even if you love your job, you’re going to get tired mentally and physically after a day of work).
- Want to start a side project? Start taking action early in the morning.
But we can’t do everything all at once in the morning right? Right, no one can. So, here’s another important tip – focus. Focus on one goal at a time. Reduce the decisions you need to make. Structure and arrange your priorities weekly and start making progress consistently.
Develop Mini Habits
Now you know when to start, but, depending on willpower to push yourself forward is never a long-term solution. There will come a time when we’re feeling tired and down or simply messed up with an overwhelming schedule. Here is when mini habits kick in.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
Building healthy mini habits is the foolproof way to achieve excellence in life, regardless of how big and impossible it seems at first. Start with habits that are so small that we have no reason or excuse to ignore them.
- Want to 20x business revenue? Make 3 sales calls every day.
- Want to lose 100 pounds? Walk for 15 minutes a day.
- Like to become a great photographer? Take 30 shots a day.
Besides, mini habits are usually keystone habits that lead us to bigger and better practices. After you start walking for 15 minutes a day for 2 weeks, you start to jog then you start to do research on resistance training and start to workout regularly.
By improving 1% a day, you are 37.78 times better after 365 days – that’s the power of mini habits with consistent progress!
It’s not appealing at all if you’re forced to eat plain chicken breast and broccoli every day. That’s one of the reasons why most people can’t stay on a new routine or behavior they set out to achieve because the new routines just suck.
One of the best ways to make sure you do what you set out to do would be to design a reward plan for your action. This will make your new routine and behavior change look more appealing to you and you will want to pursue them to keep you on track.
- After managing your diet strictly for 6 days, allow yourself to enjoy a meal you love.
- Reward yourself with a getaway trip after months of working on your side project.
- Or simply share your work to get compliments after spending weeks learning that new skill.
One crucial thing to remember is to never reward yourself with counterproductive behaviors. Don’t stuff yourself with 12 donuts after 2 days of dieting. You will be more likely to fail at your weight loss goal with this reward plan.
Fuel Your Brain and Body
It’s easy for us to make irrational decisions when we’re tired, and start craving food when we’re hungry. So the way to keep on track is to make sure we feed our brain as well as our body.
Keep them full and focused on long-term goals rather than on short-term pleasure. What do I mean by that? Keep learning and expanding your knowledge in your field of interest – mentally, then take a good rest and eat the right foods to stay at your peak state – physically.
Our body is the combination of many chemical and biological effects. We are still studying consciousness intensely and are far from having a full understanding of it. But if we keep our body and brain in good shape, it will definitely help us to make better decisions.