(04-16-2012 02:46 PM)Alvar Wrote: The main take away from the book is that willpower is a limited resource. You can train it to grow, just like you train your muscles and you are better off using it wisely. Every time you control your emotions, take decisions or strain your will you draw from your willpower reserves, its the same stock for all your functions. Working under stress at work or school will draw from the resources that you use to keep a good diet, wear clean socks or exercise, so don't be surprised if you find yourself not caring much about your hygiene or physical condition. People deprived of will power have a hard time making decisions, taking risks and fall prey of temptations and sellers more easily.
To increase your self control you need to create habits, one at a time. Once an habit becomes engrained you don't need to exert much willpower to perform it, you can go and work on other habits. Habits are easier to adopt when they are aligned with your values and you have clear values. Most people, like me, have problems taking action because they have competing values pulling them in opposite directions.
Working on positive habits will strength other habits: if you work on meditating you may also improve your exercising routines and your study/work habits. The benefits spread throughout your life, so you shouldn't be surprise if you find yourself more motivated when following a no porn diet. You can earn benefits from something as silly as working on your posture or going for a daily walk.
What totally surprised me was finding that people who are "self discipline" actually use less willpower than those that struggle. They just rely on positive habits and have made decisions beforehand and pre-commitments that preclude them from even being tempted (say you struggle with porn, the best thing to do is to get porn-blocking software, better than having the temptation constantly taxing your willpower.) We just think we're weak for needing a blocker and don't give ourselves the credit we deserve. Just like the kids in the classical marshmallow experiment, learning to distract yourself from temptations is key.
Pre-commitment is something that I immediately picked on. First, I gave credit to myself for doing the easy things that changed my life in the last 2,5 years: cooking healthy and not buying sweets (I can eat la few ice-creams if I have it here), exercising daily. When we fall we chastise ourselves, when we do these easy things we are disappointed because they didn't really gave us a challenge.
Second, on March I took new monthly habits. This month habit is something I got from the book: every morning I have a period where I must either work or do nothing. I can not force myself to work on my project or read but I can not start distracting myself.
I've also learned to wait till my work mate has had his lunch to ask him for something, assuming it's also on his interest. People make better decisions an have more willpower after they have had food
Yep this is my experience with willpower as well! F.E. when I'm in my student appartment it's way easier to maintain a healthy diet, simply because there arn't any sweets in the house. At home it's different because there are temptations.
Your best bet is always to design your environment in such a way that you don't need to use a lot willpower. Steve Pavlina has a great series about this. He says willpower is for short sprints and discipline (habbits) is for a marathon.
When it comes to willpower it doesn't matterr how strong it is, all that matters is when it's weak.
I'm also going to focus on one thing at a time. I find it to be way more productive to focus on one habbit and then later another one.
thanks for the reply!