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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, willpower is the ability to control yourself: a strong determination that allows you to do something difficult. Will and power are closely related, as using one’s will is exercising power. It takes willpower to begin a new workout regime or continue a healthy lifestyle. How do you develop willpower? Sometimes using willpower means not doing something, like saying no to that second slice of pie. And sometimes it means saying yes to something like walking or running an extra mile, even though you really don’t want to.
Willpower can be like a bank account with dollars in limited supply. Budgeting your willpower throughout the day ensures it will be there when you really need it: Like when the gang is heading out for pizza, your willpower will send you to the gym instead. Many times, that will lead to other positive changes within your life. Setting small, incremental goals that you regularly meet is the best way to boost your willpower. You work out your willpower differently than you would exercise your abs, but both require doing it over and over.
Staying motivated for your new exercise routine may take more than just willpower, but strengthening your willpower can certainly help. Be sure to get enough sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can make us susceptible to any type of temptation, whether it be another cocktail, or an unhealthy bedtime snack. Limit alcoholic beverages, as alcohol lowers your blood glucose, which can dramatically weaken your willpower. Make a plan for handling the temptations as they come along. If you know ahead of time how you’ll respond to temptation it will be easier to choose a healthy alternative. Remind yourself daily why you began a healthy journey or why you chose to walk away from an unhealthy habit. Self-motivation and self-discipline can go a long way in motivating and strengthening willpower.