The thing about willpower….

images….is that it is really hard. For close to 2 weeks now I have been planning to write about my progress on Organization Health. Every day I tell myself that the post is going to go up on my blog the next day, and every day I procrastinate. So much so that I even spent 50+ minutes watching a Google Talk on ‘The Willpower Instinct’ but didn’t get around to writing the post. (Don’t worry it’ll happen soon)

This post mentions key takeaways from the talk that Kelly McGonigal gave close to 4-years back. It’s a well-known theory that we have two contradictory minds – one drawn to instant gratification and the other that thinks of the ideal state. Who wins depends a lot on multiple factors like stress level, mindset and energy. But the good news is that there are bite sized interventions that can help you get closer to the one thing you wanted to get done.

Here are few tips & tricks that you should try today:

  1. Train your willpower – This is as easy as getting 7 hours of sleep a day, meditating as little as 10 minutes everyday (Remember Headspace?), a low-glycemic plant-based diet or a daily dose of physical exercise. Even one of these will go a long way in training your willpower.
  1. Forgive Yourself – While this might go against general belief, forgiving yourself for a ‘willpower failure’ can actually help you take a better decision the next minute. The harder you are on yourself for a willpower failure the more likely you are to have the same failure again & the bigger it will be when you do. Remember that!
  1. Make friends with your future self – Ever written a letter to your future self? That’s a good start. Now is the time to write a letter from your future self to your present self (a positive one please). Maybe even create a 3D avatar of your future self or just imagine yourself grocery shopping in the future. Why? The more you feel like the future self is a stranger or is different from you the less likely you are to take decisions better for your future self. This also influences procrastination and making ethical decisions. Who would have ever guessed!!!
  1. Predict your failure – It is more helpful to visualize your failure vs success to boost willpower. Tracking your success makes it more likely that you to slack later. Take a minute to digest that. Now learn about ‘defensive pessimism’ and exercise that. A  stress test for your goal is always a good idea.
  1. Surf the urge – Hold your breath for 15 seconds. The ability to stay put when things get uncomfortable i.e. the distress tolerance is a strong predictor of people’s ability to succeed at difficult goals. Pay attention to the physical distress and if you just wait, the emotion/stress will eventually pass.

& if you are very serious on getting better, go watch the video.



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