The book Willpower shares the research in the study of self control by the pioneering research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister.
The book is based on scientific study and discovers that willpower has a “physical basis and operates like a muscle.” Baumeister, based on his research writes-Effort to control our emotional reactions ,or faking these, depletes our willpower. Stress depletes our willpower. When we resist a temptation , we exercise willpower, and it gets depleted. This reduces our ability to control a new temptation .We give in more readily if we have already fended off earlier temptations , particularly if the new temptation comes soon after a pervious one.
Through various experiments , researchers have demonstrated two lessons:
1. We have finite willpower that becomes depleted as we use it.
2. We use the same stock of willpower for all manner of tasks.
Therefore, we should focus on one project at a time. In stead of making a list of resolutions , a better plan is to make one resolution and stick to it . Heatherton's research provided confirmation that glucose is a vital part of willpower. We should avoid any meeting or test that will strain our self control. Similarly , sleep deprivation has been shown to impair the processing of glucose, which produces immediate consequences for self-control and decision-making. Eating less also impacts the willpower. Since dieters are short of glucose levels, they find temptations hard to resist.
The Zeigarnik Effect says that uncompleted tasks and unmet goals tend to pop into one's mind. They tend to reduce willpower. If we make and write down a plan for uncompleted tasks ,then the minds are cleared and Zigarnik Effect is eliminated and concentration is enhanced.
Decision fatigue: Making too many decisions also depletes our willpower and makes us vulnerable to temptation. When we shop till we drop, our willpower drops too. It takes willpower to make decisions , and so the depleted state makes people look for ways to postpone or evade decisions. In a court, the prisoners who happened to appear just before the food break had only 15% chances of getting parole while those who came right after the food break had around a 65% chance of getting parole. Once decision fatigue sets in , people including Judges tend to settle for the recommended option .
Monthly planning leads to much higher improvements in grades than the daily planning. It is good to set a variety of short-term and long-term goals. The goals need to be monitored. Recording is not enough. It is crucial to analyze as well.
Willpower is a muscle that can be strengthened .Self-control turns out to be most effective when people use it to establish good habits and break the bad ones. We should use our self-control to form a daily habit, and we will produce more with less effort in the long run. For example, a writer must write everyday to form a good writing habit.
Instead of squandering our willpower on a strict diet, we should eat enough glucose to conserve willpower , and use our self-control for more promising long-term strategies. The more carefully and frequently we monitor our -self , the better we control our -self. In one study , those who kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who used other techniques. So for losing weight we can weigh our-self daily. People who weighed themselves every day were much more successful at keeping their weight from creeping back up. For making better decisions healthy food is required into our body.
A rested will is a strong will. Changing our routines makes it easier to break bad habits. Setting aside time to do one and only one thing at a time helps improve our will power.
The book is based on evidence and research , and throws a new light on how to use and strengthen our will .I recommend you to read it.