One of the important qualities of success identified by psychologists is will power. Willpower gives the power to persevere but if we deplete willpower then we lose self-control. The researchers have found that willpower is like a muscle and if overused it can be depleted but it can be strengthened over the long term through exercise. I recently read the book Willpower (by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney) and found it to be thoroughly interesting and here below are the highlights.
Roy Baumeister coined the term ego depletion for describing people’s diminished capacity to regulate their thoughts, feelings and action. People can overcome mental fatigue, but if they had used up energy by exerting willpower they will eventually succumb. If you find yourself especially bothered by frustrating events or have negative thoughts then maybe it is because you have used a lot of your willpower.
Researchers have found two things on ego depletion
You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it
You use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks
There is a section on eat your way to willpower. For example if you have a test, an important meeting, don’t take it on without glucose. If you are a smoker don’t quit smoking while you are also on a diet. To maintain steady self-control eat foods with low glycemic index like most vegetables, nuts, many raw fruits, chest, olive oil and other good fats. Finally when you are tired sleep as sleep deprivation has been shown to impair the processing of glucose, which over the long term is a higher risk of diabetes.
There is also a chapter on To-Do list. It talks about David Allen’s super system for Getting things done.  First involves the collection of stuff which is anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world.  Next is the processing of the stuff, and decide whether to do it, delegate it or throw it.  The next is to decide what the next action is for each of the items.
Finally here are some lessons with my take on it
Know your limits: Your supply of willpower is limited, and you use it for many different things. For example if you are a morning person make sure you do your most important work at that time. You have to ensure that you have enough willpower to do the most important tasks.
Watch for symptoms: If something bothers you more than it should then you know you have depleted your will power. So keep monitoring your feelings and take precautions.
Pick your battles: The main premise is don’t waste your time in needless arguments on things which don’t that mean much to you.  Keep asking what could be better? What could you do about it?
Keep Track: Monitoring is crucial for any kind of plan you make. Weighing yourself on a daily basis can help you lose weight and tracking your expenses can help your finances.
Reward often: When you set a goal set a reward for achieving it. For example you lose the 5 pounds treat yourself to a nice piece of clothing or anything that will make you feel really good.

Develop your willpower and you will experience greater joy in life. The book has many more examples which are both interesting and useful.

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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