Increasing Your Willpower
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Health and Wellness

Increasing Your Willpower

The ability to eat a rotten tomato with a smile on your face.

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Increasing Your Willpower
Maxwell Silver

It sounds crazy, right? Increasing your willpower—what does that even mean? Imagine willpower as the ability to eat a rotten tomato while keeping a straight face. It helps you endure, and it empowers you to keep going. It’s the skill of self-control and mastery of one's self, mentally and physically. Stoics strive for it and warriors praise it, so how can you build this ability?

Practice Commitment

The most basic way to increase your willpower is to commit to something in order to resist temptation. The idea is to resist short-term temptations to accomplish long-term goals. Try something like limiting your calories, or going on an exercise regimen. These will allow you to challenge yourself by resisting urges and therefore learn to regulate yourself. Not only will these build your willpower, but they will make you more healthy overall. If dieting and working out aren't your thing, don’t worry: there's a lot of options. It can be something as simple as writing in a journal every night, it only has to be something that forces you to schedule your day in some way. By doing this, you become more conscious of what you do during your day and helps you build your willpower.

Take Cold Showers

OK, now this one sounds a little weird, but stick with me. Cold showers are not only immensely beneficial to your health but are great at building willpower. Cold showers condition your muscles, strengthen your immune system and even makes your hair look better. When starting to take cold showers, start with your feet. Once your feet feel alright, step in and put your arms under the water. Remember to keep breathing as you might be shaking at this point, focus on deep breaths. Put your head under and lastly; your back. The first time you will get a rush of adrenaline, and your mind will yell, “NO.” You will feel electricity shoot up your spine, and it may be the most intense feeling you’ve had in awhile. If you can make it through the first time, it's way easier the second time. If you keep going, stepping in the cold water won’t even phase you by the end of the first week. I would say if you are at all interested in taking a cold shower to try it for at least a week, there's even a 30-day cold shower challenge for you to take on.

Find/Become a Mentor

Part of increasing your willpower is building your self-confidence. Having a mentor, whether they’re family, friend or teacher, helps you understand yourself. When choosing a mentor, keep these things in mind: they do not have to be smarter than you, they do not have to have the same opinions as you, but they should be able to impart wisdom to you. Wisdom is different from intellect in that it is knowledge of life through experience. You want a mentor that will challenge the way you look at life and will be able to give you advice. This helps you understand who you are as a person, along with what you personally believe. Having a mentor helps you speak for yourself and form your own opinions through conversation. Meet with this mentor at least once a month. Aim for more often than that, though. Have coffee with them, or get lunch, something casual. The point of a mentor is someone to be comfortable with, someone you can trust and talk to. If you cannot find a mentor, become one. Join a program like big brother/ big sister if you can’t think of any kids you want to mentor. Maybe talk to that underclassman that really liked you in high school, or someone on the sports team or club you captained. Being a mentor teaches you responsibility and further helps you form your world view. The end result being you are more confident in what you believe, making you stronger mentally.

Meditate

I know what you’re thinking: “This article was going great, but now he’s going to talk about weird ‘spiritual energy’ or something.” Well the cold shower thing sounded weird too, didn’t it? I want you to forget about the stigma and image of meditation for a moment while I explain the misconceptions and benefits of meditation. Firstly, you don’t need to sit under a tree in baggy tie-dye pants with a sitar wailing in the background; meditation can be done anywhere at any time. You can do it in your chair at your desk, on your bed, on your bike or in the car: all it takes is a moment of focus and concentration. Now there are lots of types of meditation, but the form I will be plugging is Vipassana meditation. The idea is simple: focus on breathing through your nose. Breathe in, breathe out. Feel the air going in and into your lungs and focus on the sensation of air hitting your upper lip as you breathe out. With an intense focus on breathing through your nose, you will soon be aware of other sensations in and on your body. You will feel the pulse of your heartbeat through your limbs and your stomach bubble. Thoughts move in and out of your mind, and you begin to realize everything in life is passing, whether it's pain, anger, sadness, even happiness. I know I’m getting a little abstract here, but my point is, meditation helps you focus on yourself and traps yourself with your thoughts. Many people have said Vipassana meditation has changed their life. There are even free meditation centers that help people meditate for a week’s journey. No, seriously, they are free and run by donation, you can look some up right now if you want to dive into the world of meditation.

If you’re ready to start taking on the world and weather all storms, take my advice and try any of the four methods. You could even combine them as you meditate under a cold waterfall, eating a stick of celery and mentoring your young grasshoppers. Whatever you choose, it will be a choice you will never regret. Picture who you want to be and strive for your ideal self every day—you might find it happening faster than expected.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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