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Want To Strengthen Your Willpower Muscle? Roy Baumeister Explains How
Willpower | January 22, 2013

Want To Strengthen Your Willpower Muscle? Roy Baumeister Explains How

If you've ever wondered why it's easy to exercise self-control in some instances and not in others, Roy Baumeister knows the answer: your willpower reserve is a limited resource. Scientists and other researchers are now tuning in to his findings. By examining the results of Baumeister's tests, it's been found that willpower is like a muscle. It can be strengthened with increased use, but weakened with overuse. In an article in The Huffington Post, Baumeister's studies are used to explain why sometimes you can refrain from eating a big bowl of ice cream before bed—and other times you can't.

If it's true that self-control acts like the other muscles in your body, what can you do to strengthen it? Studies show that it is impossible to avoid depleting your reserve of self-control. However, you can improve your ability by engaging in an increased amount of executive functioning—behaviors like emotion regulation, decision making, and problem solving. Food plays a major role in improving your ability to sustain a task. Your body needs fuel to complete any activity and glucose is a well-known form of energy for your brain and body. Additionally, allowing your body to recharge during a good night's sleep can improve your ability to complete multiple executive functions each day.

As well as completing numerous studies on the subject, Baumeister also authored Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, which was one of the year's most talked about science books. He has been listed by the Institute for Scientific Information as being one of the most cited and influential psychologists in the world. He also was recently awarded the Association for Psychological Science's 2013 William James Fellow Award for lifetime achievement. His speeches on personal motivation are widely applicable and highly requested.
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