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The quote above was by Victor Hugo.
You look at the chocolate cake in the shop; one voice in your head says go on, buy it; the other voice in your head says no, there are far too many calories in that cake, buy something else. Which voice will you take notice of? Will you buy that cake or will you buy the healthy alternative? Many people find it difficult to stick to a diet, exercise regularly, cut down their alcohol intake or stop flashing that credit card. It really all comes down to willpower. How much willpower do you have? Can you say no?
There have been studies done to prove that your willpower is a limited resource and each of us only has so much of it. I remain to be convinced. Yes, these researchers came up with theories, but they were probably paid for their work and had to come up with something interesting. I may be totally wrong and I haven’t read the results in detail so if I am I apologise.
I still think there is a huge link between willpower and reward. If you stop smoking and save up the money you would have spent and a partner says they will match what you save, that’s a massive incentive for you to stop smoking. You could buy yourself a new wardrobe; you could go on a fabulous holiday; so there’s more chance of you succeeding. If you go on a diet, you will do better if a friend diets with you and you both join a slimming club. That holds for exercising too; go to the gym with a buddy and you will support each other and there will be less chance of you giving up. You will help encourage each other and celebrate when you drop that dress size and you can go shopping for that new outfit.
Motivation can be the key to success. When you begin a new challenge, you are all fired up and enthusiastic so the results are very positive. As time passes, you get disillusioned, progress is slow, that’s when you might give up. You need to set new goals, new targets and reward yourself each time you reach them. Perhaps you can go to the theatre, have a meal or something else that would keep you motivated and on track.
There is always the danger that you may replace one bad habit with another. People who give up smoking invariably put on weight. It’s not that smoking keeps them thin, it’s just that they reach for food when they would have been reaching for a cigarette.
Sleep is important. If you are tired you become irritable and again more likely to give up. Try to make sure you get a good quality sleep at night. You may have to change your routine or try the warm baths etc. If you are alert and refreshed you will be able to stay focussed and not give up.
Some people find it easy to exercise their willpower, but many more struggle. The more successful you are the easier it will be. So yes you can do it. Give yourself a treat and encourage your family and friends to help you too. Good luck. Don’t be like Oscar Wilde who said “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” Be like Benjamin Franklin, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”