5 mind hacks to increase your willpower
Eric Barker stashed this in Diabolical Plans For World Domination
1) Don't resist, just postpone
Telling yourself "Not now, but later" is far more powerful than "No, you can't have that."
3) Increase willpower by not relying on it
Manipulate your environment so you don't have to exert self-control. Throw out the donuts. Hide the booze. This has been shown to be surprisingly powerful.
Manipulate your environment so as to make what you should do easy and what you shouldn't do hard.
4) Make "If-then" Plans
That's a fancy way of setting a standard response to a situation so you don't have to think. When someone asks you to vote for that "other" political party, to inject heroin or consider murder you probably don't actually consider it. You have a knee jerk script in your head that says "I don't do that."
If everything you did required a thoughtful decision, you'd never get out of bed in the morning. Too much of this and you're a computer. But used deliberately it can be quite powerful.
5) Make sure your goal has an emotional component
If you're really going to be motivated to control yourself, you need to feel something. Having an abstract goal in mind isn't enough.
Chip and Dan Heath say that the emotional mind is key in their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard:
Focus on emotions. Knowing something isn't enough to cause change. Make people (or yourself) feel something.
When we don't feel meaning, when what we're doing doesn't have a purpose, motivation goes out the window. Noah Goldstein, author of Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, reviews a study:
Adam Grant, a scholar in the field of organizational behavior, realized that workers often fail to live up to their potential because they've lost track of the significance and meaningfulness of their own jobs. He figured that if he could remind employees of why their jobs are important, they might become more highly motivated, and therefore, more productive individuals.