“Willpower is about saying yes to the things that move us closer to our goals, and no to the things that don’t,” explains Lyndelle Palmer Clarke, personal growth expert and author of Dailygreatness.
How to actually stick to your goals
“If you are on a diet but are offered a piece of chocolate cake, the reward is immediate pleasure, whereas negative consequences such as an afternoon energy slump, weight gain or sugar-fuelled anxiety all seem very distant, abstract and therefore less powerful,” says psychologist Anna Hamer.
To avoid falling into the trap of taking the short-term reward over the long-term consequence, Anna recommends making a note of the negative consequences, “for example, you might write words such as ‘headache’, ‘exhaustion’, ‘bigger-size dress’ on a cue card or into your mobile phone, so that you can remind yourself before eating the chocolate cake.”
Switch up your routine
“Willpower is also about changing your habits so that you aren’t operating on autopilot,” says Anna.
“If your goal is to spend less time on your tablet, think about the sequence of events that lead up to reaching for it. For example, if you normally get in from work, make dinner, flop on the sofa and switch on your tablet, try altering one step in the routine.”
This will make your behaviour more mindful and help you break the habit. If your routine is too hectic take a look at our tips for work-life balance.
Keep a diary
“Decide what you want and make every decision in every moment one that supports that outcome,” says Lyndelle.
Writing things down and keeping a diary is a great way to keep your resolutions and notice the patterns that sabotage your willpower.
“We first need to understand why we sabotage ourselves before we can create new outcomes in life,” says Lyndelle.
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