Improvement Pill here.
Welcome to lesson 9 of the Tamed course.
In our previous lesson, we spoke about three biological factors
that affect how we recharge our levels of willpower throughout the day.
Now I’m sure a lot of you guys were under the assumption
that these factors are responsible for the majority of our willpower,
and this was in fact the assumption of the entire scientific community for a long period of time.
However recent studies are point to the fact that these biological factors
may not be as important as we once thought they were.
Instead of being responsible for something like…
70% of our willpower throughout the day,
it’s likely that these factors are only responsible for something like 30%.
Chances are what goes on in our head
plays a much bigger role in regards to our levels of willpower,
and that’s what we’re gonna talk about today:
five psychological factors that will make you more motivated,
and increase your levels of willpower,
and keep you out of a state of ego depletion.
The first is something called “chunking”.
One of the best examples of chunking
comes from one of the world’s greatest magicians, David Blaine.
Blaine is well known for his stunts of endurance.
He once spent over 63 hours encased in a block of ice,
and you can only imagine how much willpower that required.
Blaine managed to pull this off by using chunking
to create a constant supply of willpower.
Chunking is when you take a large task
and you break it down into tiny tiny pieces.
For Blaine, instead of focusing on the total amount of hours
he wanted to spend in this block of ice, which was at least 60 hours,
he broke it down to the hour.
He would tell himself, “Okay, I just need to make it through the next hour”,
over and over again.
The reason this works is because
our brain is designed to be as efficient with our willpower as possible,
in order to conserve energy.
We actually have an almost unlimited amount of willpower,
but we all have a point in time where our brain says,
“不行 你今天意志力不够了 不能再给你了“
“Nope, you’ve used enough, that’s all you’re getting for today.”
因此 面对重要任务时 大脑就会说
So when presented with a momentous task, your brain says,
“不行 任务太艰巨了 我们办不到
“Nope, we can’t do this task, it’s way too big,
we don’t have enough willpower to do it.”
But when you’re using chunking,
and you focus your attention on one small piece at a time,
then your brain says, “Hey, you know we could do this.
Here’s some extra willpower.”
And that’s why in one of our previous lessons, I mentioned
that we need to set a low bar when creating our routines.
By setting a low bar, which is the minimum amount of work we’re allowing ourselves to do,
we’re basically using chunking to get a little bit of extra willpower,
just enough to force ourselves to stick to our habits.
So how can we use this in our day-to-day lives?
Well, instead of telling yourself that you’re gonna finish that five page paper right now,
you’re actually gonna get more willpower,
feel more motivated and get more done,
if you tell yourself you’re gonna finish a single paragraph at a time.
On top of that, chunking also increases the amount of confidence we have.
Confidence is the second psychological factor that influences our levels of willpower.
The more confident you are about a task,
the less willpower it will require.
Let’s say that you want to lose 20 pounds.
If I asked random strangers on the street how confident they were about this,
most people would say that they weren’t confident at all.
However, if we use chunking and we cut this down to just one pound,
most people would say, “yeah I could do it.”
Confidence is all about the small wins.
By paying attention to small milestones,
you actually become more and more confident towards your end goal.
You start believing that you can actually do it.
A great way to build confidence using small wins
is by tracking your growth.
For example, if you’re someone who wants to lose weight,
it’s very effective to download an app like My Fitness Pal
that allows you to track your progress.
By tracking your weight and slowly watching your weight drop,
this boosts your confidence,
and it requires less and less willpower
to go back to the gym or stick to your diet.
The third way we can influence our levels of willpower
is by changing how we view willpower itself.
Now I know in our previous lessons
I stressed the importance of things like avoiding ego depletion,
and I taught you about ways in which our willpower levels are depleted.
These things are real and serve a purpose.
But a study conducted in 2010 by Professor Job V
found that how we view willpower can severely affect our levels of it.
For example, if you believe that willpower is limited
then you’ll actually lose willpower faster
than someone who believes willpower is unlimited.
So what can we do about this?
Well, let’s establish the truth about willpower once and for all.
The truth of the matter is, our levels of willpower
far exceed the amount we use throughout the day.
Our brain just likes to set a limit on it.
However, if you’ve been studying the Tamed course,
you’ve gained some knowledge about how it all works,
and knowledge is power,
which means you have more control over your willpower,
so I like to believe that by studying willpower,
I actually know how to tap into my unlimited willpower more than the average person,
and by adopting this very belief,
you’ll find yourself with more willpower in the long run.
The fourth way we can influence our levels of willpower is by changing our identity.
When you have an identity that aligns with your goals
and the habits that you’re trying to build,
this decreases the amount of willpower required to stick to it.
Now this is easier said than done.
How can we change our identity?
Well the best way to do so is
by being very careful with our language.
The way we phrase things will affect how we view ourselves.
For example, if an urge arises to smoke,
instead of thinking “I can’t smoke,
I told myself I was gonna quit,”
we should be thinking, “I am not a smoker.”
The person in the first example
still identifies as someone who smokes who’s trying to quit,
while the person in the second example
Identifies himself as someone who doesn’t smoke to begin with.
Over time, you’ll start believing this new identity,
which in turn will reduce the amount of willpower required to stick to this habit.
Another good trick to keep in mind
就是把“我不能” “我不得不” “我必须”等字眼
is to replace words like “I can’t”, “I have to”, “I must”,
with “I want to”.
The first three phrases are phrases that you would use
if you still identified with the old you that you’re trying to change.
But if you use the phrase “I want to”,
then you’re agreeing with your new identity.
The fifth and final way we can influence our willpower with our mind
is by doing what’s called “high level thinking”.
A study conducted in 2006 by Professor Fujita
found that people who spent more time thinking high-level thoughts
would have a significantly higher level of willpower throughout the day
than those who had low-level thoughts.
Now what’s the difference between the two?
Well low level thinking is when you think about the short term and you think about specifics.
For example you think about how you’re gonna get to the gym,
you think about how you’re gonna lose your weight,
you think about what foods you’re gonna eat.
High-level thinking, on the other hand is when you think about more general and long-term ideas.
So it’s when you think about why you’re going to the gym,
when you think about why you’re trying to lose weight,
when you’re thinking about why you’re changing your diet.
Now there’s nothing wrong with thinking low level thoughts
because they are needed in order to plan ahead.
You can’t make dinner unless you think about what you’re gonna cook.
But it’s best to spend more time thinking high-level thoughts.
High-level thoughts create a sense of purpose and meaning.
If you think about why you’re changing your diet enough,
you start to truly believe that changing your diet is what’s best for you.
A great exercise that I recommend all of you to try
is to take the Keystone Habit that you’re trying to build in this course,
and fill out an entire page with why you want to stick to this habit.
To sum it up, there are five powerful ways you can increase your willpower
and get more motivated by changing the way you think.
Number one is by chunking,
breaking up your big goals into tiny tasks.
Number two is by increasing your confidence,
so that you start believing that you can actually accomplish your goals.
Number three is by changing how you view willpower,
that you’re someone who can tap into their unlimited well of willpower
by studying and practicing how it all works.
Number four is by changing your identity.
It’s easier to quit smoking if you don’t identify as a smoker.
And number five is by spending more time thinking high-level thoughts.
And just to clarify something:
the biological factors we mentioned in our previous video are still important.
It’s still gonna be very hard for you to stick to your habits
If you barely slept the night before.
But studies are simply pointing to the fact
that these psychological factors play a bigger role.
I know I mentioned before that we actually have far more willpower than we think we do.
So in our next lesson, we’re gonna learn how to increase
the amount of willpower that we can tap into.
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Besides that guys, stay tuned!