A health psychologist, Kelly McGonigal has been awarded for numerous accolades including Walter J. Gores award.
Simple-Short-Summary: The Willpower Instinct is backed up with scientific fields including neuroscience and psychology to explain how to train your willpower muscle, focus on the long-term objective, and maintain a constant supply of willpower so that you can manage your habits and live a satisfying live.
The book is for anyone who feels a lack of motivation, struggles to deal with temptation, wants to achieve goals, and makes eternal changes in their life.
The Willpower Instinct Summary
Why willpower is so crucial? Studies have shown that those who have robust willpower are almost prosperous in all walks of life. These people lived longer, earned more, had happy and healthy lifestyles, and maintained good connections.
In short, by exercising your willpower muscle, you turn it around.
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Lesson: A – By practicing daily meditation, you can deal with distraction and live your life
In the modern world, everywhere you go, you’ll encounter distractions. Why? Because there’re parties to visit, web series to view, and links to click, you say to yourself it’s the last time I am checking my emails or watching the episode of this web series.
However, by doing this, you’re taking yourself towards failure because when you face one interruption after another continually, you’ll surrender yourself to later interruption.
As your brain is absorbed by instant temptations, it’s easy to outweigh long-term objectives in front of them.
In fact, in a study, a group of students was guided to memorize a phone number. During the experiment, researchers asked them to choose between fruit or chocolate to eat.
Those students who were making choices about what to eat preferred chocolate more than 50 percent time compared with another group who hasn’t been given any choice to make. Neuroscience researchers have also revealed that people who do meditation often possess a bigger grey part in their brain.
This grey matter which is also known as the brain’s cortex is in charge of taking care of self-awareness that indicates a high level of efficiency. Meditation natures self-awareness of every moment.
This introspection helps you to know when you’re distracted so that you can regain control. Just by increasing awareness, you easily deal with distractions and effectively do the job at hand.
Actually, researchers have disclosed that by doing daily meditation for three hours, you can cultivate a better attention span which strengthens your self-control. Moreover, after doing meditation for 11 hours, the changes begin to view in the brain.
However, there were times when you can’t hold your impulses. In these situations, you can redirect your attention, take deep breaths, and focus on big goals.
Doing this alone will disrupt the cycle and help you in reclaiming control over your impulses. Note that every time your mind has lost in thought, you lose a considerable amount of willpower.
To save yourself from a willpower breakdown, you should avoid making decisions when you’re distracted. Moreover, allot some time for meditation to uplift self-awareness.
Lesson: B – Evolution developed built-in responses in the human body to deal with threatening situations
Do you ever think that there’s something common in chocolate cookies and saber-tooth tigers? Yes! There’s one similarity between both of them.
They affect the goal of our healthy life. Therefore, evolution developed an instinct in our body to fight for chocolate cravings and saber-toothed tigers.
This response was commonly known as a fight-or-flight response which was an impulse that starts whenever we encountered with life-threatening or frightening situations.
Actually, this response is a built-in function that guides your body to amass its strength to save itself from any tough circumstances.
Willpower is also a biological instinct that the majority of people don’t recognize. Research showed that a lack of willpower turn on a certain state in your body and brain.
This state is known as pause-and–plan response which supplies power to elevate willpower during deficiency. As the name implies, pause and plan response is completely contradicted to the fight-or-flight response.
The fight-or-flight response boosts your consciousness to tackle the outside situation instantly.
On the other side, the pause and plan response turns your focus inside between your impulsive selves and rational. It weakens your impulse so that you can control yourself and take rational decisions.
Thus, how to reinforce your willpower to slow down your mind and make sound decisions? You can do this by paying attention to all those things that increase the burden on your brain and body such as anger, illness, anxiety, and constant pain.
Things that cause you stress will deplete willpower resources and hamper your capability to enter in self-control state and retain it. Moreover, it also causes you to lose the ability to achieve a rational mental state.
For strengthening your ability to restrain stress and reinforcing willpower following tactics will help you. Healthy food, meditation, exercise, adequate sleep, and family and friend time boost your ability to reduce stress levels.
Walking for five minutes will also elevate your willpower.
Lesson: C – Every effort you make to control yourself you deplete willpower reserve
Have you ever helped your friend to migrate from one location to another? You might be aware of the muscle wear out when all is said and done, and you’ve reached a point where your muscles couldn’t lift even more.
The same happens to willpower. After excessively using it, the muscle reaches a state where it can’t flex anymore which indicates that it’ll no longer work to control yourself.
Carelessly using your willpower drains it from its source. With every effort, you try to control yourself you withdraw willpower from its limited source.
It means that whenever you resist temptation, you’re using willpower. By doing this, you’ll weaken your strength to control yourself for the other temptation.
Sadly, willpower failure will happen at all times. You may also face some challenges such as willpower exhaustion, or procrastination.
It happens because day-to-day activities that you’ve to go through consume willpower. Some of these activities are sitting in a tedious meeting, choosing a brand for your shampoo, and commuting to work draw willpower from the same source.
Even though your daily activities are continually consuming willpower, thus maintain high energy levels and constant blood sugar levels to retain willpower.
Low-glycemic foods like cereals, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and high-fiber grains refill the resource of willpower. Additionally, by exercising your willpower muscle, you can fortify it.
As you hit the gym to exercise muscles, in the same way, you can exercise willpower muscle by indulging yourself in willpower challenges. Thus, each day, put yourself in a place where you face some willpower challenges which will slowly fortify your self-control.
This way, you’ll make it stronger. An example of this would be to put a jar of candy at a place where you often see it, but you aren’t permitted to eat any of them.
Regularly, resisting this temptation will strengthen willpower muscle which later supports you in coping up with the tough times.
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