How you can improve your health, happiness, and productivity by understanding the science of self-control.
In today’s book of the day ‘The Willpower Instinct’, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal debunks what many believe to be true about willpower.
After years of watching her students struggle with their choices at Stanford University, McGonigal created a course called “The science of willpower”.
Utilizing her resources at Stanford, she was able to gather the latest data to explain exactly what willpower is and how it works.
What is willpower?
McGonigal says willpower is the ability to control our impulses…the art of self-control. Willpower has gone from the thing that differentiates us from other animals to the thing that distinguishes us from each other.
Throughout the evolution of our human anatomy, the brain has recently developed a new region called the prefrontal cortex. This new area of the brain stores and creates our willpower.
The area of the prefrontal cortex responsible for self-control works a lot like a muscle, meaning that it can be trained to become stronger but it can also fatigue from extensive use.
Think of your willpower reserve as your phone’s battery life: When you wake up from charging it all night you have no worries of it running out, as you go about your day that starts to change. As your battery reaches 5%, you have a choice to make. Do you use it until it inevitably dies? or do you find the nearest charging station and charge it back up? Obviously, you’d rather plug your phone in and charge it until you have to use it again, right?
But why don’t we do this with our willpower? As we go through our day, we are faced with various willpower challenges. These challenges slowly drain our reserves until they run empty (usually at the end of the day when we decide to eat an extra piece of cake for dinner).
Kelly says we should recharge our willpower reserve just like we would our phone’s battery. We can do this through different meditation techniques to ensure that our “phone stays charged”.
The Willpower Instinct has the perfect balance of science-based data and real-life examples from people just like you and I. The content in the book is relatable as everybody has struggled with self-control.
As you now know, your level of willpower is greater in the mornings right after you get up. This means you should try to complete your most demanding tasks first thing in the morning to avoid procrastination later in the day.
To find out how to meditate effectively and how to become a will power machine get this book by Kelly McGonigal. There are a ton of golden nuggets in this book that you can start implementing in your life TODAY.