20 Feb, 2020

How to Build your Superpower

How to Build your Superpower

Do you remember, when you were a kid, making a cape out of your coat and pretending you were a superhero?

I certainly do.

Do you remember what your superpower was? Could you “jump tall building in a single bound?” Did you have ‘Spidey-senses” which tingled? Could you fly? Make yourself invisible?

Whatever you pretended as a kid, these days you probably don’t think about superpowers.

Yet, there is one which is common to all humans. A power which, when used, allows you to achieve your goals and to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Willpower!

Willpower is your ability to make decisions about the thinks which are important to you. It is the power of choice.

Do you know what you want?

Whatever you want in life – to be slim fit and healthy; to be the best parent ever; to grow a business – it is willpower that takes you there.

Without willpower, you don’t go to the gym, you snap at the kids, you don’t make those cold calls… Instead, you give in to impulses and only do what you feel like doing. It is a pretty unsatisfying existence, since it is in those uncomfortable actions that we get our sense of achievement.

And achievement is what gives our lives meaning. It is where we grow.

Your superpower has kryptonite

If that’s the case, why don’t we always take action? What’s stopping us from powering through and creating the future we’ve always wanted?

As I mentioned in my previous blog  Willpower is drained throughout the day. It is vulnerable to a range of pressures on us all. These include

  • Lack of sleep – if you are sleep deprived you are far more likely to give in to impulses.
  • Decision fatigue – the more decisions you make in a day, the less willpower you have left.
  • Poor nutrition – sugar is the worst culprit here but junk foods and highly processed foods all contribute
  • Alcohol – it goes without saying that when you are drunk you make poor decisions
  • Stress – this is a huge drain on willpower. Your brain is busy dealing with the emergency that is triggering the ‘fight or flight’ response and there is not a lot left for considered decisions

You may have other triggers that impact your life too. Just be being aware of them you are increasing your chances of exercising self-control when you need it.

Topping up your superpower

So if you are constantly draining your willpower, what can you do to top it up. Of course, avoiding the things that drain it is going to be a big help but, short of moving to the top of a high mountain, living on organic hand-grown foods and sleeping ten hours a day, there will always be times when your willpower needs topping up.

There are several proven ways to do this

  • Exercise – this is a massive stressbuster and detoxifies the body
  • Sleep – get a good night’s sleep or take a power nap and you’ll be better able to make the choices that take you forward
  • Meditation – which decreases stress, improves focus and increases the gap between an impulse and the action so you are more likely to resist temptation
  • Action – when you don’t feel like it, getting started has been proven to reduce the resistance.

As you may have noticed, it takes willpower to do these things – so there is a vicious circle here. So let me give you some extra help.

Tools to tap into your superpower

Here are three simple ways you can get yourself moving and give your willpower the boost it needs.

  • Have a ‘floor’ and a ‘ceiling’ – it’s actually the floor which matter here. Suppose you want to be able to run for an hour (that’s your ceiling). The thought of it is probably making you shudder at this very moment: It’s cold, it is hard work, getting changed feels like too much effort, you are too busy… There are lots of reasons not to take an hour of your day to run. So don’t. Just do a minimum (the floor). Go and run for 2 minutes. This works for anything: studying, housework, exercise, meditation, writing these blogs…. Just getting started usually means you will
  • Watch your language – it is amazing how changing the words we use makes a difference. Think about something that will take you forward but which you don’t feel like doing. What do you say to yourself? I ought to… I need to… I’m supposed to… I should. I say, stop shoulding on yourself! When you catch yourself referring to these actions in this negative way, change it round: I get to… I’m going to… I want to…. Think about how great you’ll feel when you’ve done it.
  • The five second rule – this is a technique developed by Mel Robbins. When you need to take action just 54321 and go…. It really works!

If you want to know more about how to boost your willpower superpower, download my free e-book at https://willpower.petecohen.com

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