Updated: Dec 27, 2019
There's a yogic term for willpower and self-discipline, it's Tapas also described as 'burning enthusiasm'! Tapas is the willpower to let go of unhealthy habits, create positive ones, and become someone of wise and robust character. Tapas requires faith (Sraddha) in ourselves.
How to develop willpower:
1) Take mindful deep breaths. Stamford medical research explains that stress and willpower are not compatible. A quick and easy way to reduce stress is to slowly inhale for the count of five and exhale for five. A few rounds of this practice calms the nervous system.
2) Sleep well. Studies show that sleep deprivation is the equivalent to being a little bit drunk! Quality rest can boost self-control. Yogis advise being in bed before 10 pm.
3) Eat well. A healthy diet improves energy flow to the brain and can improve willpower and the ability to stick to a resolution. Yogis recommend whole foods and limiting alcohol and stimulants.
4) Meditate. Meditation improves attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. Listen to one of my meditations here
5) Exercise. Regular exercise – both cardiovascular and mindful exercise such as yoga, makes the body and brain more resilient to stress, which is an excellent boost to willpower. Practice yoga online here
6) Be your cheerleader. "Cheering for ourselves with passion, and with a real sense of love and appreciation is not arrogant, it's required if we're going to live a life of fulfillment, gratitude, and meaning." - By Mike Robbin
7) Reflect. Reminding ourselves of our small and large successes can be a great way to keep up the good work.
Many people think that they don't have the discipline to change their habits. Changing habits indeed takes effort, but the rewards can be tremendous, and the more we do something, the easier it becomes. Here's a great short video that explains how we can rewire our brain. Modern science calls this neuroplasticity; the ancient yogis called this Samskara.