Do you often feel determined to kick bad habits, only to find yourself quickly falling back into old familiar ways? It’s not easy to change patterns of behavior. But there is good news: you have the willpower to become the person you want to be, you may just need to work on strengthening it.
Step By Step
Start by setting some small, achievable goals by breaking down the process step by step, rather than making sudden, drastic changes that will be difficult to maintain. Planning ahead also reduces the need to make impulse decisions and test temptation, for example sticking to a carefully considered shopping list in the supermarket. Even avoiding certain events or situations – such as parties, if you’re trying to stop smoking or drinking alcohol – may help while you build up your resilience.
Meditation and visualization techniques can also effectively build the mental skills required for strong willpower. Find a quiet spot to sit, relax, breathe, and try these 5 steps – from a class by our meditation and mindfulness expert Kate Robinson:
01: Bring to mind an event or situation where your willpower is often tested.
02: Imagine watching yourself in this scene, feeling tempted to undertake a bad habit.
03: Now, imagine that this version of yourself is just about to partake in this habit, but rather than doing it, pauses…
04: Visualize yourself deciding to resist, and to instead ride the wave of temptation until it passes.
05: As you watch yourself succeed at demonstrating the willpower required to break a habit, notice how you act and feel.
Did you feel proud, strong and in control? Hold onto those feelings and use them. You can replay this scene, or visualize different scenarios in which you successfully use willpower, as often as you need. For the full experience, log in or sign up to take Kate’s class Meditation: Strengthen your willpower
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