How good is your self-control ?
Self knowledge is the foundation of will power. I will / I wont is 2 side of self-control. What important is we have to always remember what we really want. For intro, willpower is “I Will + I Wont + I want”.
To start to understand Willpower, we have to understand our prefrontal cortex, which the part of your brain control what you pay attention to, what you think and how you feel.
First rule of Willpower is to know yourself. When our mind is per-occupied, our impulse will guard our choice. By watching how the process of giving in happen, what through/ feeling / situation to prompt the impulse. One of the best self control exercise is to meditate.
Willpower is a physiology, not just psychology. The higher our heart rate variability, the better we can ignore dis-tractor. By slowing the breathe down, we activate the prefrontal cortex. Over eating, under-sleep will definitely affect our self control.
Self control is like muscle. We have the highest in the morning, decrease during the course of the day. People weaken with each successful self-control. There are few ways we can train our will power :(1) Control small thing that they aren’t used to control (2) Small, consistent act of self-control. Fatigue should no longer be consider a physical event but a sensation / emotion. When will power running out, our protective brain start to play tricks.
TO increase our want power : (1) What is the pay-off ? (2) Who else will be benefit (3) Imagine challenge get easier over time.
When it come to right or wrong, most of us just want to feel good enough. When you do something good, you feel good enough and tryst your impulse. Making progress on a goal is actually motivating people to engage self-sabotage. ask ” how committed do you feel ?” instead of asking ” How much progress do you feel “. always remember the “why”. there is a motivation hack, feel like the person who want to do the right thing. Dopamine come for the action, not happiness.
Promise of rewards is so powerful that we purse thing which don’t make us happy. However, promise of reward not guarantee happiness, no promise of reward guarantee unhappiness.
Wanting to feel good is our survival mechanism. when we under stress, we will normally crave something, its our brain rescue mission. Our brain always want to protect our life+ our mood. “what da hell” effect is a downward spiral generator. lets say we have 1 candy during our nutrition program and we just eat 30 at the end as what da hell. The only way to break the spiral is to embrace the weakness. Self-criticism decrease our motivation and worsen self control. Forgiveness increase accountability.
Instant gratification is one of key reason why human fall for bad desires. Although our prefrontal cortex, we are good at self control, also good at rationalize bad decision. Temptation/Procrastination result from we think of the future. We have a bounded rationality, we are rational until we are not, when temptation is real, our brain go to reward seeking mode. Our brain didn’t evolve to future reward. Temptation is only available when you need to see it + its available now. Try the 10mins challenge, wait 10mins before we give in the temptation, , or just do 10mins then i quit > for the i will exercise. Tempted self as an unpredictable and UN-realistic enemy, we need to take step to predict and constrain that it were another person. Try to meet your future self, by picturing the figure, the brain start to think about the present choice. we can also write letter to future self, and imagine your future self.
Will power is contagious, our individual choice are painfully shaped by what other people think , what and do , and what we think they want us to do . we have mirror neutron, we can feel what other peoples experience. We also got influenced by social proof, when rest of the tribe doing something, we tend to think its smart to do same thing also. People always want to be exception , want to stand our, be a leader however its our human desire to fit in. Strategy for discourage behavior, convince people its the habit of a group you don’t want to be. Social emotion has a quick and direct influence over our choices. By passing the limit of shame, “what da hell” effect , and our feeling bad intensify the desire.
When we try not to think , its almost a doom to failure as we have 2 part of our brain, one for monitor and one for operation, the only way to avoid ironic rebound ? Give UP. When we are surfing the edge to give in, pause a moment, sense your body and start with the sensation, observe our-self with curiosity , not judgement.
The greatest self control is not a self war, but shift and monitor our attention. Keep the mindset of a scientist, try new things, collect data, listen to your evidence, stay open to surprise idea and learn from your experience.
Until next time !