Each day we are given an allotted amount of willpower. Tough decisions are easier made in the morning and by dinner time it is much easier to give into the easy option because your willpower muscle is exhausted.
This is an important thing to understand if you want to optimize your life or reach your goals. If you want to quit smoking, it will get harder to resist the temptation as the day wears on. If you want to cut down on sugar, you will find it easier to choose a healthy option for breakfast than avoid that sugary snack before bed.
Optimizing your life always requires change and growth. If you rely on willpower alone to make all of those changes, then you are going to fall flat fairly quickly. One of the best ways to make lasting changes is to change your daily habits. A habit doesn’t require you to rely on will power once it is a full-fledged habit. Training yourself to do things without an argument from yourself, can absolutely transform your life.
For example, walking the dog is something I do every day – guaranteed. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, how sick I feel, how much I don’t want to do it, how little sleep I got the night before, or any other excuse. It is a nonnegotiable part of my daily life that has been in place for the past decade. I walk the dog every day. Period.
When things become nonnegotiable like that, you no longer have to rely on willpower to get it done. You just do it. But, here’s the catch – before the habit becomes a habit, it requires willpower to get it going. You have to be willing to power through the first month and then it will get easier. Make the changes that will have the greatest impact on your life a nonnegotiable item that you will turn into a habit.
Since it will require willpower at first, start with just one thing. Start small. If you chose to direct your willpower toward one new habit each month, then you would over time completely transform your life and open up your willpower and creativity for the big stuff.
What tiny changes can you make to have a big impact on your life? Remember, to get them going it will likely be easier in the beginning to make it part of your morning routine while your willpower is still strong for the day. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Meditate for 15 minutes.
- Exercise for 20 minutes.
- Practice gratitude.
- Pause for a moment of thanks before meals.
- Read or write daily.
- Honor your finances by taking care of business.
- Visualize your day.
- Feed your body greens.