The WillPower Instinct by Dr. Kelly McGonigal examines the ability to use will power and different strategies to strengthen and create a positive impact in our lives. This book has a variety of practical guidance as well as inventive explanations of the biology and psychological factors at play. It provides scientific strategies for improving self-control, breaking negative habits, and choosing long-term objectives over immediate satisfaction. Each chapter of the book discusses various ways in which self-control and willpower may benefit or affect your life. McGonigal discusses the most important concept of this and breaks it down into three categories of willpower forms: "I won't" power, "I will" power, and "I want" power. Throughout the book, there are different willpower challenges, and as you go on, you can apply whichever goal you have to that strategy and figure out which works best for you.
The first chapter of this book was one of my favorites only because I feel like it covers the most essential details towards willpower, as it explains the three categories ("I won't" power, "I will" power, and "I want" power). I enjoyed reading this part, as it can also help me in my life, towards one of my goals. As Kelly McGonigial says “Self-control is a muscle”, which means we have the ability to strengthen it, and so taking action to one of these three challenges can be a stepping stone.
“I will” power challenge: Consider anything you've been putting off that you'd like to do more of—and do it. This is what motivates you to do something difficult yet necessary to achieve your objective. Going to the gym to reduce weight in order to be healthy is an example of this. This may be unpleasant among some people, but it is important to achieve your aim.
“I won’t” power challenge: Take on a bad habit that is harming your health, relationships, career, or life in general. An example of this form is when you are resisting something. In this case it could be a cigarette, a piece of chocolate cake, or shopping too much. Whatever the case may be, if you try to break that habit and say “I won’t”.
“I want” Power challenge: What is a long-term goal that you have been thinking about but constantly getting sidetracked from? It's finally time to get started. This helps you remember your long-term goal, stay concentrated, and not give into that temptation.
In that chapter she also stated that neuroscience indicates that we have one brain but two minds. One mind responds to impulses and rewards us immediately, while the other prevents us from acting on impulses and delays quick benefits. We have covered this in our lectures on impulsivity. In addition to that, we even viewed a video of children being tested with marshmallows to see if they would give into temptation: https://youtu.be/QX_oy9614HQ
This shows the kids trying to stay strong and not give into temptation of eating that marshmallow, even when they were told that they will receive two marshmallows if they just wait. Some kids responded to their impulses, as they ate it right away; and some were able to control their wants and wait for the better reward. This is something we need to realize, our impulse reaction can just set us back even further from our goal. However, if we just stop and think about it, it can increase our chance of getting to our goals or an even better outcome.
Another part of the book that is my favorite and stood out to me, was Chapter 3 “ Too Tired to Resist: Why Self Control is like a Muscle”. This chapter discusses how self control can drain throughout the day, and so we need to use this knowledge for ourselves to plan our schedule accordingly throughout the day so we can limit temptations. I can relate to this, as I know exactly how this feels when I go to the gym. I feel motivated the most in the beginning of my day, and so that is when I get my exercise in, rather than later in the day. This chapter also included willpower experiments, such as “The willpower diet” which is making sure your body is fueled with healthy foods to give you the energy to stay motivated.
“A willpower workout”, by picking one of the strategies “I will power” or “I won't power” to exercise your willpower.
And lastly find your “want” Power, once you find your biggest want power, you can keep that in mind for yourself when you feel tempted. With this guidance, it will help you organize how you go about your day, with the right plan to keep you motivated and keep your willpower stronger.
One of the best videos to listen to is https://youtu.be/Q4GK5Qlp1FY
I think this clip here is so inspirational, and amazing to listen to because it really empathizes with focusing on our passion and control our cravings to achieve our goals.
Overall, I recommend this book to everyone because we are all humans and deal with self control every single day in our life. This book is a great way to start a new journey in your life by staying focused, strong, and healthy. I am going to use what I learned from this in my life now, as I am trying to manage a good healthy body weight, but also to feel good. I find myself motivated for a few months but then after that, I tend to lose it. Therefore, I want to start applying these strategies when I do lack motivation so I can go longer than a few months and turn it into a reality for good.
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