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Start Small

 

Techniques Willpower > Start Small

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Rather than trying to do it all at once, find small things you can do that will take you even a small way towards your goal. For improving willpower, this can be anything that needs a little bit of determination. From this, you can take on harder and harder challenges.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Delay having coffee to 20 minutes after you feel like a cup.
  • Go to bed and get up half an hour before you usually do.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
  • Try something for dinner that you have not eaten before.
  • Turn off the TV immediately after watching what you like. Avoid 'couch potato' drifting into the next show.
  • Say hello to strangers (if you do not already do so).
  • Ask for a discount when buying things.
  • Buy a lottery scratch card and then give it to someone else.

Example

A student wants to get better at completing essays on time. They start by writing a short plan the first day they get the assignment. Later they expand the plan and then get friends to challenge them on progress. Eventually, they have a process that ensures they hand all essays in on time. 

Discussion

There is a puzzles 'How do you eat a chocolate elephant?' The answer is 'one bite at a time'. The same principle applies for improving your willpower. Do not try to do it all at once -- you will be more successful if you break things down into easy steps.

A lot of willpower is about motivation. Even a small step can be seen as a success. If you can make one step then you can make another and another. The only question left is then one of persistence. It is also about realizing that you can do things. When you see you can use willpower, you become more confident in doing things that need a stronger will.

Starting small is a way to show yourself that you can do what you should and not give into immediate desires and unconscious drives. Start also with things that are just about you in your daily life.

See also

Motivation

 

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