“Strength Does Not Come From Physical Capacity. It Comes From An Indomitable Will.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Are you having a running battle with changing certain habits? The will is often not strong enough to modify bad habits and has a way of letting us down at critical moments.
Nonetheless , there are several methods available to develop strong willpower, or at least assist in avoiding the undesirable. Whatever the bad habits, you can correct yourself and get out of the routine of these weaknesses by using a few strategies.
Your failure to effect changes is not because you do not want it badly enough. Neither is it because you do not make enough effort. Nor is it necessarily attributable to a flaw in personality. It’s only that you have not learned the right way to get the most out of your will.
We all habitually face critical moments where we must decide whether to take the right path or give in to our bad habits. It is in these crucial moments that we rely on the will.
Remember the scene in the cartoons where there is an angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other? This is often exactly the way these critical moments play out.
“Do not bite the bait of pleasure until you know there is no hidden hook” . – Thomas Jefferson
We need as many techniques as possible to strengthen our will so that we can consistently make the right choice. The combined use of several strategies is the best way to solidify the willpower.
Here are some proven ways to acquire a willpower made of steel:
ENERGIZE YOUR MOTIVATION
Have a real self appraisal about how your future will go if you continue along the path of this bad habit. What will be the likely outcome?
Photographically imagine the worst scenarios. Is this the future you want for yourself and your loved ones? You chain_smoke. You already suffer raucous coughs. You need to stop. You know this. If you don’t stop chain smoking, what could be the result? That’s right, lung cancer and, poof, death!
Discuss with experts who can tell you what is likely to happen. In details. Explain that you are trying to understand the weight of the disadvantages of this behavior. Be sure to include images, as these will help you build an even more intense appreciation of what you want to avoid.
Use this to supercharge your motivation. Remember and graphically visualize daily your worst future scenario if you continue your bad habits. This will create a strong desire to bring about the desire for change.
CULTIVATE SKILLS THAT STRENGTHEN YOUR WILL
One of the reasons that you continue your bad habit is often due to lack of knowledge or lack of skill. For example, perhaps you have never learned to cook healthy and tasty meals. As a result, you often eat meals prepared in restaurants that have led to obesity. This culinary skill is missing, it’s a crack in the strength of your willpower.
You may not see anything because you lack knowledge of how your bad habit hurts you. Maybe you do not even know, that you are obese. You know you took on a few pounds, but you never thought of yourself as being obese. A little education about BMÍ and terms like mesomorph, ectomorph and endomorph coupled with the medical consequences of being overweight can go a long way in helping you strengthen your will to ‘downsize’ .
Getting educated pushes you to more desirable behaviors. There is an unimaginable amount of books on the subject. If you believe that you do not have the skills or knowledge that could help you overcome your bad habit, go online and educate yourself. This will help you get started. Once you have some basic foundation, then you could also check online forums or find a mentor who can help you learn even more. These new skills and knowledge will be a great boost to your will.
CREATE AN ALLIED GROUP
It is easier to stick to something when you are accountable to others apart from just yourself. Do not try to break your bad habit alone. You need a support grouo. ALCOHOLIC ANONYMOUS, anyone? Studies have shown that social encouragement is a strong influence in changing behavior. You need people who hold you accountable and help guide you to your desired freedom from your bad habit.
Find allies to give you added strength in your journey. If you want to walk far, walk in the company of others.
At the same time, identify the people in your life who are driving you in the opposite undesirable direction and try to convert them to join your allies. Or, avoid them, if that is impossible.
REWARD YOUR SUCCESS
Set up a reward (incentive) system to stay on course. The reward does not have to be significant. You just need a few small incentives to keep you motivated. For example, if you have managed to reach your savings goal for the month, treat yourself to a good dinner with your spouse.
You can also take advantage of loss aversion. Often, we are even more motivated when there is the threat of losing something that we cherish. Thus, you can set a penalty for yourself every time you fall back into a bad habit. To raise the bar even higher, pledge to donate this money for a cause you do not agree with (eg the opposing political party). Knowing that you are going to “lose” money to a cause you do not like, can give a good boost to rev up your will.
CONTROL YOUR ENVIRONMENT
The environment has a lot of power on us. If you constantly have urges to spend when you go to a mall, avoid the mall. If a group of smoker friends make is the difficult for you to keep to your resolve to stop smoking, stop hanging out with them!
If you are constantly in the company of those who only think of the latest smartphone to splash money on, avoid them if you have more important things to do with money.. unless you already have unassailable willpower.
Studies have shown that the size of your plate plays a big role in the amount of what you eat. If you select a small plate, you will eat less. There is a new big cup in my house that I use to drink water, tea or pap. I have resolved to consistently drink more water, hence the outsized cup.
Since I started using this big cup, I have noticed that I tend to take a bigger volume of pap and tea ! See?
Studies have alao shown that if you can increase the difficulty of reaching your temptations, you will be less likely to succumb to then. If you are an impulsive buyer, access to e-commerce websites is a real threat to your financial future. It is just too easy to order for things you WANT but don’t really NEED.
Unfortunately, our WANTS are limitless.
Stop window-online-shopping if you have the weakness of compulsive buying.
You may want to avoid the use of those tempting websites by uninstalling all e-commerce apps from your smartphone, and also having no debit cards attached to your main bank account(s). Don’t keep too much physical cash with you, either. It makes it too easy to fall into temptation!
Another example is exercise. If you have to take the car to get to a gym, you will be less likely to go there than if you train at home and so your equipment is there, in your living room. It will increase the likelihood that you will perform your exercises more easily.
The will, in the classical sense of the term, is often not strong enough to overcome a bad habit.
Used individually each of these techniques will help your will, but you will have a greater result if you use all these strategies simultaneously. The combined effect has greater impact and virtually guarantees your success.
As a final admonition, control your imagination. In a battle between willpower and imagination, the latter always wins. Stop dwelling on thoughts that won’t help you. Instead, when those thoughts pop-up, replace them with positive self-talk. Just like you can replace a bad habit with a new good one.