In this article, I’ll help you a develop a better understanding of what willpower actually looks like. I’ll also give you three simple strategies to stop you from depleting your willpower and help you deal with temptation.
The Science Behind Willpower
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines willpower as the ability to delay gratification and resist short-term temptation so one can meet long-term goals.
The APA also describes it as:
The conscious, effortful regulation of the self by the self; the capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling or impulse.
In plain English, it’s your ability to delete Tinder/Grindr from your phone and use the extra ninety minutes you’ve gained today to fill out your tax return instead.
This ability to self-regulate is a vital life skill.
In a classic sixties Stanford experiment, pre-school children were given the option of either eating one marshmallow immediately or waiting a couple of minutes and receiving an extra one.
When researchers followed up with those same kids forty years later, those who’d shown greater constraint by not eating the marshmallow had been significantly more successful in life by a number of standards than those who hadn’t.