In the super hero world there is this group of super heroes known as the Green Lantern Corp. Hold on, this blog is not all com-con! Let me lay the foundation and you'll see where I'm going.
The Green Lantern Corp. has the ability, with their rings, to instantly create anything they can conceive in their minds. Specifically, the color green is the color of will power. So through their will power they can create whatever they want and the creation will be a strong as their will. However, their rings that harness will power have to be recharged every 24 hours. So they can use their will to "save the day."
Believe it our not YOU to have will power!! Just like the Lantern Corp your will power has to be recharged. Gary Keller in his book "The One Thing" says that, "Willpower is always on will call is a lie." Meaning that like a battery or gas in your car your willpower supply is limited. As we face daily challenges every-time we have to exert willpower our batter is drained. So that by the time we get to the end of the day it's likely all willpower has been exhausted.
Have you ever noticed that difficult tasks later in the day seem to be more difficult? That's because your willpower is strongest in the morning. This is why it's important to tackle your hardest or "most draining" tasks in the morning.
How Can We Grow Willpower?
1. Use It!
Yes, it's true you may deplete your reservoir of willpower as you use it BUT using it helps it grow stronger. You see willpower has been called the "muscle" of the brain and like a muscle the more its used the stronger it gets. So when you resist the chocolate cake today you make it easier to resist tomorrow. So that, in a specific area, today your willpower is stronger today than yesterday but not as strong as it will be tomorrow.
The trick here is that you cannot be lead by feelings, or whims. You must be resolute and disciplined in the area where you're exerting your willpower but it is possible to grow your willpower in any area.
2. Sleep On It
Seriously, studies are showing us that at least 6 hours of sleep greatly increases ones willpower for the following day. It appears that any less than 6 hours of sleep and the ability to use willpower to resist temptation, to forge ahead in a goal, or just to get things done greatly decreases. In my own life this seems about right.
3. Remove Negative Self-Talk
Speaking to yourself negatively greatly demotivates and decreases the impact of willpower. While I'm not talking about being blindly optimistic and ignoring what is obvious. I am talking about what we tell ourselves when things don't go our way or when we are tempted to lie to ourselves when things don't go right.
Willpower is something that most of us think we can just use whenever we want. The truth is we can't. Willpower is available in limited quantity like gas in a car or juice in a battery. However, your willpower can grow stronger and more effective.
So take the time and be intentional about growing your willpower. You can OWN IT!!