Stanford University lecturer Kelly McGonigal integrates cognitive psychology and neuroscience in her book, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It
She argues that willpower can be developed by:
• Paying attention to situations that undermine willpower
• Managing stress and mood, maintaining exercise, sleep, and healthy eating habits to maintain willpower
• Practice small willpower challenges to build the willpower “muscle”
• Expect willpower “slips” and plan for alternate responses
• Associating with others who have strong willpower habits
• Recognizing that willpower is not easier in the future, and now is the time to begin practicing
• Disputing thoughts of shame and guilt, and re-interpreting them more optimistically, hopefully, and forgivingly
Several years before McGonigal, M.J. Ryan wrote simply and compassionately about life’s challenges, including responding to unplanned changes and following through on commitments and plans.
Her books include self-assessments, succinct notes of encouragement and de-stigmatization, and practical suggestions and resources.
Several are self-published and though out-of-print, remain available online:
Another of her books deals with managing unplanned changes:
AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For
See related post on McGonigal’s twin sister, gamer Jane McGonigal, whose TED talk discusses the value to games to improve the quality, duration, and experience of life.
-*What practices have helped you develop and exercise “willpower” to change behaviors and thoughts?