"Ask yourself whether you are where you want to be, what could be better and what you could do about it," psychology speaker Roy Baumeister
advises in a recent interview
. "Aim for a broad five-year plan along with specific, manageable goals." In the article, the expert on self-control and willpower shared this tip, and a few others, on achieving your goals without overburdening yourself or burning out your supply of willpower. The Professor of Psychology has conducted in-depth research that shows that willpower is a limited resource, so he stresses that we should break things down into manageable chunks in order to conserve this precious internal resource. No one has enough willpower stored up to complete a laundry list of tasks all at one time, he says, and all of, "those goals will simply compete with one another and each time you try to follow one you reduce your capacity for all the others." Baumeister argues that we need to be realistic about what we are capable of, and set reasonable timeframes for our long term goals.
There are ways to build up a reserve of willpower, however, as Baumeister likens willpower to a muscle that strengthens with use. Tackling a small bad habit—like slouching in your computer chair, for example—can help increase your mental stamina, making it easier to complete tougher exercises and tasks down the road. Author of the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
, Baumeister's work in the field of personal motivation has become internationally renowned both in the science community and beyond. His keynotes unpack the way our minds complete tasks, and he provides valuable and practical advice on how to buckle down and get things done.