TheConfidante In the Media
How are you holding up? Exuberant and fresh on holidays? Maybe more like frazzled, crusty eyes, sore head and short fuse? I’m just about worn out with celebrating so time for reflection and looking around the corner to 2015. Hooray for new beginnings, fresh outlooks, motivation and making resolutions.
You may decide that the time has come to finally get… find…. stop…. or do something about…. (insert yours!) Perhaps you want a major lifestyle change, take a relationship to the next level – or say goodbye to someone. You may choose to simply live with a more positive outlook in the New Year. Whatever it is you want to achieve in 2015, realising your goal comes down to one major, overriding factor.
Willpower might just be the greatest asset and strength we have as humans. It’s also one which many of us struggle with! Nobody has ever achieved their goals or overcome adversity without employing their own personal willpower. We need willpower to remain motivated, to practice self control, to resist temptation, and to simply get on with it and get things done. Without willpower, I doubt many of us would ever get off the couch – or out of bed! Willpower keeps us on the straight and narrow, it allows us to take the plunge when we’re feeling insecure, and it quiets the negative voices in our heads that tell us we can’t realise our goals.
What is willpower?
In a nutshell, willpower is self control. Unlike intelligence, which is genetic, willpower can be learnt, enhanced, and improved upon with focused intent. Having a high level of self control is key to living a great life.
Where does willpower come from?
Physiologically, willpower is controlled by the brain’s pre-frontal cortex (just behind the front of your noggin!). It is the energy with which we actively control responses, thoughts, behaviours, and feelings; it is how we resist temptation, emotional outbursts (aka “tanty” in our house), and how we motivate ourselves to perform. Willpower overcomes those natural impulses which might not be beneficial to us.
The great news...
Whilst some of us are born with a high level of intrinsic self control, others are not. The great news is that, with focus and intent, anyone can improve their own willpower. Think of how people could avoid consistent failure, accidents, unwanted pregnancy, even the odd arrest or two. Typically, it damages personal relationships.
No matter who you are, exercising willpower is mighty mentally exhausting – and it has its limits. I pride myself on willpower - but place a packet of Tim Tams in front of me at the end of a big day and it's history! In times of stress, our negative patterns will come to the fore.
It is scientifically proven that the more weary and worn down we become, our reserves of willpower become depleted. It's proven that willpower for women is impacted upon (and frequently impaired by) pre-menstrual syndrome. (Ever wondered gals why that yummy treat is irresistible sometimes? Now you know!)
When we are tired or stressed, temptations can more easily conquer us. It is no coincidence that:
How can you improve your willpower – and achieve your goals?
Make big decisions when you’re well rested - like first thing in the morning.
Anticipate the times when willpower might be more of a challenge – and remove temptations!
Exercise your Willpower to make it grow. (If you don’t use it, you lose it!)
Feed your Willpower! The brain needs glucose to practice self control. Have a piece of fruit or similar if you’re feeling like self control is a struggle.
YOU are in control of your Willpower – the buck stops with YOU
Affirmations are your best friend – positive self-talk will help get you through the tough times.
If you stumble, don’t give up! Failure is just practise for immense success!
Procrastination is your Enemy - what small thing can you do NOW?
Every epic journey is a series of small steps. Take it one baby step at a time – and before you know it, you’ll look back and be amazed just how far you have soared!
How awesome would it be when you reach the end of your life and enjoyed success and fulfillment using your unique talents to your greatest ability.
Look out for Part Three of our #MakeItHappen series next month.
Joanne Wilson is a professional Counsellor, Psychotherapist and increasingly a Guest Speaker based on the Sunshine Coast. The Founder of TheConfidante Counselling, she has developed a keen interest in Relationships and Pre Marriage Therapy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone 0499991884.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.