Getting Over Your Love of Procrastination, Develop Willpower

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Procrastination is sexy. The art of not having to do something "right now" is comforting. Willpower is not something you either have or do not have—willpower is sometimes a function of necessity. More often, willpower is a function of success. It is easy to stay the course when you feel good about what you are accomplishing.

Willpower is also a muscle that can be developed; the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Step 1: Eliminate as many choices as possible.

We all have a finite store of mental energy for exercising self-control. We have run out of the mental energy we need to make smart choices. Choices are the enemy of willpower. So are ease and convenience. Think of decisions that require willpower, and then take willpower out of the equation completely.

Step 2: Make decisions tonight so you will not need to make them tomorrow.

Pick easy decisions that will drain your store of willpower tomorrow, and make them tonight. The key is to take as many decisions off the board as you can the night before, because that will allow you to conserve tomorrow’s mental energy for making the decisions that really matter. The goal is to make certain actions automatic rather than decisions, because decisions require willpower. The power of routine will not only make you more efficient but will also make it a lot easier for you to make important decisions. When you do not have to make decisions, decision fatigue is very easy to avoid.

Step 3: Do the hardest thing first.

Make tough decisions is early in the day. Decide what those difficult things are and plan to tackle them first thing.

 

Step 4: Create reminders of your long-term goals.

Mental fatigue makes you take the easy way out—even though the easy way usually takes you the wrong way. The solution is easy: Create tangible reminders designed to pull you back from the impulse brink.

Think of moments when you are most likely to give in to impulses that take you further away from your long-term goals. Then use tangible reminders of those long-term goals to interrupt the impulse and keep you on track.