27 Feb, 2020

How to Win the Willpower Game

How to Win the Willpower Game

What’s the most valuable thing you own?

If you have been listening to my podcasts or reading thee blogs for a while, you’ll already know the answer to this.

It’s your attention.

Where you focus your mind at any one time is vitally important to making progress in life. It is also a key component in the use of willpower.

Just consider – if you are multi-tasking, with bits of paper all over your desk and music in the background and the phone pinging with social media notifications every ten seconds, just how well do you make decisions. Every distraction takes you away from where you are and it can take up to five minutes to get back into whatever you were working on. The more distractions there are, the more of your time is spent not fully concentrating.

That can add up to a lot of time. And a lot of stress.

Pause and plan – the antidote to flight and flight

I mentioned stress in the last blog in this series  ‘How to build your superpower’ and the devastating impact it has on willpower.

The good news is the Kelly McGonigal, author of ‘The Willpower Instinct’ has discovered a technique which is the antidote to ‘fight or flight.’ She calls it ‘pause and plan’ and it makes use of your ability to catch an impulse, pause before you act on it and then decide to make a better decision.

This ability to pause is helped massively by meditation – which teaches you to slow your mind and connect to the present moment.

Set yourself up for success

Meditation isn’t the only answer of course – otherwise everyone would be doing it and we’d have world peace by now. If you want to win the willpower game you need to create an environment which minimises the drain on your attention.

So, declutter your workspace and create an environment where you can concentrate. That may mean putting your phone on silent and into a drawer; sorting out the piles of paper which clutter your desk and which cry out ‘pay attention to me’ every time you look at them.

In short, it means getting to a point which David Allen (author of ‘Getting Things Done – the art of stress-free productivity’) calls ‘the mind like water.’

The Mi365 morning

Another vital factor in winning the willpower game is the ‘pre-match’ preparation. In other words, what you do in the first hour (or half an hour or two hours) of your morning before you go off and do whatever it is you need to do for the rest of the day.

There are plenty of books on this and those who are a part of my coaching community (Mi365 Elite Pro) know it as the Mi365 Morning. What you do isn’t nearly so important as doing it consistently.

Planning out the things that matter – journaling, meditation, exercise, reading, working on self-development to name just a few – and doing them every single day puts you in the best possible position to have a fantastic day, every day.

Forgive yourself

Even if you do this, though, there will be times when your willpower isn’t there and you make a decision you wish you hadn’t.

When that happens, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to everyone and it isn’t what you did that matters. It is what you are going to do next.

So don’t give up. Look at what happened, see what you can learn from it and get going again in the path that leads you to success.

 

If you want to know more about how to win the willpower game, download my free e-book at https://willpower.petecohen.com

How to Win the Willpower Game

What’s the most valuable thing you own?

If you have been listening to my podcasts <<hyperlink to https://petecohen.com/podcast/>> or reading thee blogs for a while, you’ll already know the answer to this.

It’s your attention.

Where you focus your mind at any one time is vitally important to making progress in life. It is also a key component in the use of willpower.

Just consider – if you are multi-tasking, with bits of paper all over your desk and music in the background and the phone pinging with social media notifications every ten seconds, just how well do you make decisions. Every distraction takes you away from where you are and it can take up to five minutes to get back into whatever you were working on. The more distractions there are, the more of your time is spent not fully concentrating.

That can add up to a lot of time. And a lot of stress.

Pause and plan – the antidote to flight and flight

I mentioned stress in the last blog in this series <<hyperlink to blog ‘How to build your superpower’>> and the devastating impact it has on willpower.

The good news is the Kelly McGonigal, author of ‘The Willpower Instinct’ has discovered a technique which is the antidote to ‘fight or flight.’ She calls it ‘pause and plan’ and it makes use of your ability to catch an impulse, pause before you act on it and then decide to make a better decision.

This ability to pause is helped massively by meditation – which teaches you to slow your mind and connect to the present moment.

Set yourself up for success

Meditation isn’t the only answer of course – otherwise everyone would be doing it and we’d have world peace by now. If you want to win the willpower game you need to create an environment which minimises the drain on your attention.

So, declutter your workspace and create an environment where you can concentrate. That may mean putting your phone on silent and into a drawer; sorting out the piles of paper which clutter your desk and which cry out ‘pay attention to me’ every time you look at them.

In short, it means getting to a point which David Allen (author of ‘Getting Things Done – the art of stress-free productivity’) calls ‘the mind like water.’

The Mi365 morning

Another vital factor in winning the willpower game is the ‘pre-match’ preparation. In other words, what you do in the first hour (or half an hour or two hours) of your morning before you go off and do whatever it is you need to do for the rest of the day.

There are plenty of books on this and those who are a part of my coaching community (Mi365 Elite Pro <<hyperlink to https://www.mi365.me/elitepro>>) know it as the Mi365 Morning. What you do isn’t nearly so important as doing it consistently.

Planning out the things that matter – journaling, meditation, exercise, reading, working on self-development to name just a few – and doing them every single day puts you in the best possible position to have a fantastic day, every day.

Forgive yourself

Even if you do this, though, there will be times when your willpower isn’t there and you make a decision you wish you hadn’t.

When that happens, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens to everyone and it isn’t what you did that matters. It is what you are going to do next.

So don’t give up. Look at what happened, see what you can learn from it and get going again in the path that leads you to success.

 

If you want to know more about how to win the willpower game, download my free e-book at https://willpower.petecohen.com

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