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How's your willpower?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little extra boost of willpower when you need it most? Well, you’re in luck. I have five different strategies for you that may help you get that extra boost of willpower whenever you need it, especially in view of the changes you'll encounter during retirement.


Number 1: Tackle one thing or one step at a time.


The best way to strengthen willpower is to focus it on one task at a time. It’s tempting to get motivated and start to do or change everything all at once. I get it. It’s just not the most successful strategy. Instead, focus on one change at a time and use all your willpower to take it from a new behavior to well-established habit before moving on to the next change. Your willpower efforts will strengthen many times over when you focus them on one thing at a time.


Number 2: Make a public announcement


Letting others know of your plans, goals or intentions is a good way for many people to force themselves to stay on track. After all, you don’t want to have to come back to those who are aware of your plans and admit that you strayed off track or failed. You also don’t want to have to answer questions from people you’ve shared your intentions with unless you’re doing well. Use your pride to your advantage. You can make this statement in a variety of different ways. You can simply share your plans with a few trusted friends or family members either verbally, via your blog if you have one, via email, or you can go on social media and share it with a whole bunch of people.


If those approaches scare you and you prefer confiding in just one other person, find an accountability partner. When you know you have to report any slip-ups to this person, you’ll think twice about giving in to temptation or giving up. An accountability partner works even better when both of you have the same or similar goals and can hold each other accountable.


Number 3: Track your progress


Change often comes in small increments and it can be hard to see progress. Track it in a smartphone app, a journal, a spreadsheet or any other way that is convenient and makes sense to you. Review your progress regularly and see how far you’ve already come. If it helps, pat yourself on the back or treat yourself with a small reward but save the big reward to celebrate your accomplishment. There’s nothing like it to keep you motivated.


Number 4: Use willpower to create new habits


Use your willpower strategically to create new habits and routines. Once something starts to become a habit, it takes less and less willpower to keep it up. Keep working on what you want to change one thing a time until it becomes routine and so no longer requires willpower.


And lastly, number 5: Remind yourself of your “Why”


There's nothing better than motivation to boost your willpower and the best way to stay motivated is to continually remind yourself of "why" you're doing what you're doing. The "why" is the reason that you want to accomplish your long-term goal or decided to make a change. Define it, digging deep to find the things that genuinely motivate you. Then remind yourself regularly of your big “why.” Put it on a sticky note on your frig, create a vision board, use it as your home screen or screensaver, or put up other reminders of it all around you. Look at them, read them, and consume them anytime you need an extra willpower boost.


So, there you have it.


1. Tackle one thing at a time

2. Make it public

3. Track your progress

4. Use your willpower to create new habits

5. Keep reminding yourself of the “why” or the reason for your goal


Best of luck!

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