Thursday, 2 April 2015



1. Meditate like a Zen Buddhist Monk

Kelly McGonigal Ph.D, who teaches a class on The Science of Willpower at Stanford University, ranks meditation as the #1 way to increase willpower.
She says, “Practicing mindfulness meditation for a few minutes each day can actually boost willpower by building up gray matter in areas of the brain that regulate emotions and govern decision making.” 
I’ve personally been meditating every day for the past 2 years, and it’s the single-best habit I’ve developed since I got into personal development and optimal living.

2. Take the Magic Pill of Exercise

The more I research the benefits of exercise, the more I see it as a magic pill.
Not only does it increase our fitness and mental performance, improve our mood and sleep quality, reduce our body fat percentage, anxiety levels and likelihood of becoming sick… It’s also been shown to improve our willpower.

#3 Harness the Power of Accountability

Admittedly, accountability isn’t the sexiest word in the English language. But the concept it represents is extremely powerful.
The idea behind it is that when we’re left to our own devices, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to do something.
I’m tired, I don’t feel like it, it’s too much work, it’s too hard.”

#4 Set SMART Goals

When someone emails me asking how they could have more discipline and willpower, my first question to them is always, “do you have clear goals for yourself?”
90+% of the time, the answer is no. Oops.
Why is it so important to have defined goals?
Because they give you a clear direction in life and help you connect your daily actions to a greater purpose.

#5 Unleash Your Inner Conquistador and Burn the Ships

In 1519, a Spanish conquistador named Hernan Cortez made a bold-as-hell, history-changing decision we can all learn from.
He sailed from Spain to South America with a fleet of 11 ships, and upon arriving to the new land, realized that his troops would have to fight the natives in order to claim the land.

#6 Remove Temptations and Distractions

All humans are subject to temptation—it’s just in our nature.
And in today’s world we’re surrounded by more temptations than ever.
Google gives us access to all the information in the world within a few seconds. YouTube is filled with funny, entertaining, and interesting videos. Our Facebook newsfeed gets updated every few seconds. Our smart phones are full of apps and other cool things.
Knowing this, it’s imperative to figure out a system to bulletproof ourselves against all these distractions.

#7 Eat the Big Ugly Frog First

Another discovery Roy F. Baumeister PhD made during his research is that we only have a finite amount of willpower each day.
Our willpower is at its highest at the beginning of the day, and progressively decreases as we go about our business.
Knowing this, we want to engineer our day so as to do our most challenging tasks in the morning, when we are fresh and rested.

#8 Eliminate Unnecessary Decisions

When asked about his productivity strategies, President Barrack Obama said, “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make.
As Baumeiseter found, every single decision we make during the day dips into our willpower reserves. Therefore, we need to cut down the number of decision we make to a minimum, and focus on the most important ones.
I personally have the same breakfast (superfood smoothie) and lunch (mixed green salad with a chicken breast and a half-cup of quinoa or beans) every day. I never spend more than 15 seconds deciding what I’m going to wear today. And I’m learning to empower my team to take more decisions without seeking my approval.

#9 Create Powerful Habits, Rituals and Routines 

Building on the last point, creating rituals is a great way to remove needless decision-making from your day.
Once something has been turned into a habit, you don’t even have to think about it. You do it without using any of your willpower.
Every morning, I start my day with the same 60-minute power routine to get me in an optimal physical, emotional and intellectual state.
Each step of the ritual is carefully choreographed for optimal results, yet it requires no willpower on my part because it’s engrained in my ritual.

#10 Hack Your Mind with the 5-Minute Rule

Our mind can be our greatest ally… and our greatest foe.
The trick is to be aware of its inner workings, both its strengths and its weaknesses, and optimize around them.
One of our mind’s greatest flaws is that it often struggles to get things started. But once we’re in flow, it’s easy to keep going.
If you’re struggling to get started on some work you have to do, or to start your daily meditation/workout, make the following deal with yourself: you’ll do it for just 5 minutes.

#11 Go for 100% Commitment

Jack Canfield, author of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul famously said “99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze.
If you really want to do something, commit to it 100%.
If you’re just sorta-committed, there’ll always be a little voice in your head saying “aahh, maybe today I’ll take the day off“. You’ll waste a lot of willpower fighting off that little voice.
But the moment have you that 100% commitment, the game becomes easy. You don’t have to think about it… you just do it!


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