From all the gaming that you’ve done, your willpower tends to be pretty weak. This happens for specific reasons, such as the willpower erosion your brain can experience due to it’s overexposure to gaming. (Watch this video to learn more about that.)
When we are stuck continuing to game we tend to be justifying our behavior in some way or another, and one of the ways we like to do it is by claiming that we wouldn’t have the willpower to quit anyways, so we might as well just continue gaming.
But this isn’t entirely true and you need to distinguish between the actual amount of willpower you have (more than you think), your ability to develop it (I’ll show you some ways how), and how much you’re actually being influenced by willpower erosion.
Improving your willpower begins by you recognizing that you are not a victim of your lack of willpower. You’re not someone who’s just not “motivated,” you’re not someone who just “lacks willpower.”
Your lack of motivation and lack of willpower are happening for specific reasons, so by understanding what these reasons are you now have the power to change them. You now have the power to shift your behavior.
Your Willpower Is A Muscle
If you work on your willpower, it will improve. If you don’t, it won’t. And if you overwork it, it will get tired, and we call that decision fatigue.
The quality of your life comes down to the decisions that you make every single day. These small choices that we make compound over time and impact the amount of momentum we experience.
To improve your willpower there are five key steps you want to take:
1. Be aware of your energy levels.
If your energy is low it’s hard to make a good decision, and I definitely relate to this a lot so I try to make sure I’m eating well and eating on time. This helps me maintain a good amount of energy, allowing me to make better decisions more often.
2. Make decisions the night before.
Think of your willpower as a fuel tank. Every time you make a decision, it uses a bit of fuel, so every day you want to try and minimize the amount of decisions you have to make. Anytime you can make a decision the night before, that will save you tomorrow.
Decisions like what are you going to wear tomorrow, what are you going to eat for breakfast, etc are good ones to make the night before.
3. Do the important things first.
Every time you make a decision you lose a bit of willpower, so you want to make sure you take care of the important things first while your willpower is strong, instead of waiting until the end of the day when it’s weak.
4. Make commitments, not decisions.
Decisions are optional, whereas commitments you will find a way to get them done. Identify what your commitments are and schedule them throughout your week, that way you have made the time for them and you’ll have one less excuse to not make it happen.
5. Let go of guilt and shame.
As much as we like to be perfect sometimes we fail to follow through. In these moments it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and experience a lot of guilt and shame about it. But this doesn’t help us.
You need to separate between holding yourself accountable (good to do) and being hard on yourself (bad to do.)
Gaming is an outlet when you experience stress, so the harder you are on yourself, the more guilt and shame you feel, the more stress you experience, the more you’ll want to game to get away. See how it works?
In my life I’ve found a lot more motivation when I’m focused on encouragement and celebrating the good things I’m doing instead of punishing myself for the ones I struggle to follow through on. Remember, this doesn’t mean you don’t hold yourself accountable, just that it comes from a place of genuine intention instead of from a fear of punishment.
I hope that helps. If willpower is an area of your life that you want to work on, check out the Game Quitters Challenge. This is a 30 day challenge I’ve designed intentionally with the latest scientific research to help you become the type of person you want to be, by developing skills in Courage, Discipline, Social Intelligence, Contribution and Tenacity.