The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It By Kelly McGonigal, PHD
Positive change takes willpower. Whether you are quitting smoking, starting an exercise program, minimizing empty calories, or creating a more organized process for your workday, if you don’t have willpower, you probably won’t make the change for long.
Self-control seems to be almost extinct as people increasing blame everyone else for their issues with weight, anger, stress, and financial problems. Fortunately, there are ways to strengthen our willpower, and this book explains how we can “break old habits and create healthy habits, conquer procrastination, find our focus, and manage stress.”
The #1 way to boost your willpower is MEDITATION. Yep, you can train your brain to have more self-control by meditating.
“Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self-control skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. People who meditate regularly aren’t just better at these things. Over time, their brains become finely tuned willpower machines.”
What’s great is that you don’t have to spend hours meditating, even a few minutes a day can help.
While there aren’t any fast fixes for increasing willpower, the suggestions provided in the book can help you with more benefits than keeping you from eating that donut. Dr. McGonigal suggests reducing stress with a “Pause-and-Plan” approach instead of the typical “Fight-or-Flight” response. Deep, slow breathing can immediately boost willpower as it, too, reduces stress and increases self-control. A few minutes of slow breathing will help you calm down, and give you a feeling of control over your cravings. Exercise is another willpower booster.
“If you tell yourself that you are too tired or don’t have time to exercise, start thinking of exercise as something that restores, not drains, your energy and willpower.”
The Willpower Instinct offers a variety of suggestions on how becoming more in tune with yourself, minimizing stress, and being nice to yourself can help you develop the willpower you need to accomplish any change you desire.
“In the quest for self-control, the usual weapons we wield against ourselves – guilt, stress, and shame – don’t work. People who have the greatest self-control aren’t waging self-war. They have learned to accept and integrate these competing selves.”