April 20, 2017



In part one (Link first blog) of this two-part series on willpower we learned that we have hot? and cool? systems of decision making. The American Psychological Association tells us ‘the cool system is cognitive in nature. It’s essentially a thinking system, incorporating knowledge about sensations, feelings, actions and goals. While the cool system is reflective, the hot system is impulsive and emotional. The hot system is responsible for quick, reflexive responses to certain triggers.

We also learned about the strength model of self-control, which draws parallels with the strength of muscles: if you use their strength for one task, there is less left for subsequent tasks. Likewise, proponents of the strength model argue that willpower/self-control draws upon limited mental resources which, once depleted, will leave any given person much more vulnerable to temptation. Any task requiring self-control has a hindering effect on a subsequent self-control task, even if the tasks are seemingly unrelated.

Taken together these theories provide a working understanding of willpower and self-control: in order to effectively exercise self-control in any situation, we need to utilise our cool? system. And draw carefully on our finite supply of willpower.

In this blog, we look at a range of techniques that will boost your willpower and help you do the right thing more often. These come in various forms: habits, practices, tips and tricks that can be harnessed to great effect in bolstering our rational, disciplined, goal achieving side. So here is our rundown of some practical ways you can achieve these gains in willpower and, in turn, achieve your goals.

Regular eating
Research has consistently shown there to be a relationship between blood sugar levels and self-control. Eating regularly and well is the answer. And healthy meals without refined sugar will be better than fizzy drink at keeping blood-sugar levels strong and steady rely too much on the sugar high and you’ll be laid low later on. In an emergency, go for a piece of fruit, which is full of naturally occurring sugars.

Feeling good is a sure way to increase your willpower. Unfortunately, when we’re aware of the fact we’re low on willpower, we’re likely in a bad mood. Taking a little time for yourself to restore your spirits can be a productive investment of time. How? US researchers Dianne M Tice, Roy F Baumeister, and colleagues explored the effects of mood on willpower in a paper?published in the Journal of Experimental…

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