13 Ways To Boost WILLpower

January 1, 1970

Now that you are using your Superpowers: WANT, WHY and WILLpower, I’m guessing you want more???!! It’s good stuff huh?

We now understand WILLpower a lot better. It’s not something you lack and that girl has, that you’re not weak if you don’t have any right now. It’s not you got it or you don’t, this is truly one of your Superpowers and the one you’ll have to train the hardest to harness.

Don’t fret my Superhero in training, here are 12 of my favorite ways to boost WILLpower:

1. Reframe “I won’t” as “I will”.

If you are trying to drink more water and less soda, focus on the more water. ‘I will drink more water’ keeps you out of the restriction mindset of no soda – and the water displaces the soda anyway as you can only drink so much liquid in a day.

To use this reframe for other habits, think of what you’d be doing instead. If you didn’t sleep in, would you meditate or be at the gym or packing healthy food for lunch? Another example is reframing “I won’t skip a workout” to “I will be at the gym every MWF.” (More on changing habits here and here and here.)

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2. Find ways to eliminate easy routes to giving in

Such as being out of food or not pre-paying your gym memberships. This doesn’t mean you still can’t get out of it, but

putting any distance between you and temptation boosts WILLpower.

3. Flex and strengthen your WILLpower muscles by picking an un-emotionally charged exercise

Such as brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or not crossing your legs when you sit. Focus on this for one week, it will boost WILLpower in all areas. This trick is so cool. I can’t believe how well this works – doing BETTER with this trick seems effortless and I love that!

4. Think of someone you think has willpower – it increases yours.

(Here’s who boosts mine.) But watch envy, this creates a negative feeling of comparison, the only person you’re in competition with is your old self. How much better are YOU doing than you would’ve done before? That’s the only question to answer.

5. Stay with a craving or urge for 30 seconds.

Psychologists call this surfing the urge.

Just feel the feeling, but don’t act on it – just accept it.

Notice its fluctuations, intensity, where you feel the urge in your body. Trust that you can have a craving, a thought or a feeling and not act on it. Try to surf it for longer than 30 seconds if you can. Even if you give in at the end of surfing, this exercise builds stamina and increase WILLpower if you do it regularly. Remember, WILLpower is like a muscle – keep working it, it will get stronger.

6. Rest!

Even just lying down, comfortably for 10 minutes can rejuvenate your WILLpower.  As can little pick-me ups like buying yourself fresh flowers, thinking back to a recent success, listening to great music and laughing. I am a huge fan of buying myself flowers and I married a comedian – I should have boundless WILLpower huh?? 🙂

7. Choose pride over shame.

When faced with temptation, imagine the pride of holding your ground. Studies show when thinking of feeling guilty after eating cheesecake, only 10% of subjects avoided eating it. Four times more people were able to not give in if they instead focused on feeling proud for not eating it.

8. Exercise!

One of the best WILLpower boosters is to get some exercise.

Exercise gets blood to the brain and nourishes your willpower centers. You may be even more renewed after a quick blast of activity outside or even a walk around the block – being outside also increases WILLpower.  At the very least, get to a window and breath in some fresh air.

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9. Keeping your blood sugar level

(think eating well + exercise) actually boost WILLpower. So truly the more you do it right, the more you can do it right. Proving that is does get easier! Making good food choices will make it easier to make more good food choices, whereas low blood sugar puts WILLpower in the tank.

10. Thinking of your BETTER lifestyle as being easier in the future

Will also boosts WILLpower. Don’t dwell on how hard it is, imagine as you hone your skills it will get easier and easier. Sorta like #7, the more you get it right the easier it is to get it right the next time.

11. Give yourself a 10min rule.

Your brain doesn’t really know the difference between 10 minutes and 10 years, and a time delay gets your mind out of the immediate urge.

After 10 minutes, see how you feel – you can always add on time. During this 10 minutes, don’t stuff your anxiety or urges or feelings down…feel them.  You don’t have to act on them, just feel them.  Feelings aren’t necessarily true, they just are how you feel in that moment.

As these feelings bubble up, without judgment wrap them in a balloon (like those cartoon conversation bubbles in a comic strip). Watch the feeling float away.  You could also think of a feeling as a cloud, and let it drift across the sky.  Either way, just feel it and watch it fade away.   This creating a time gap trick works for a 30day challenge as well.

12. Don’t lose it.

We really hate losing something we already have. If we can reframe giving in to a craving as a loss, we’re more successful at holding our ground. But what you tend to do is think of it as a gain – you gain the immediate treat. But consider every give-in as a loss of your future great body and your bigger WANT instead.

This means anchoring to your WHY as soon as temptation strikes because we tend to justify the thing we focus on first (meaning if we think of our WANT first we’re more likely to choose it than if we start thinking about the treat first.) Another reason to have a way to anchor to your WHY always at the ready.

13. Simply connect to your WANT and WHY.

These Superpowers work together, they feed each other, use all 3 each day.

Pick one of these 13 tools and start to use it. You will find some of them work better for you than others, use what works for you – there is no need to do all 12 all the time (or at all!). But they all work and they are all here for you should you want to try another, the important thing is to find the tools that boost your WILLpower and use them everyday.

So…how is all this Superpower stuff working for you? Questions? Challenges? Post them here, let me know how it’s going! Next up, how to avoid WILLpower drainers – stay tuned!

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