Will Power: The Blessing and the Curse

Good news. Will power works. Bad news: Will power drains your mental resources. Better news: You can re-charge your mental battery. The challenge for all creative individuals, specifically writers, is to know when you need to recharge.
Part of this challenge comes from the eternal battle between the conscious mind (what we think we want) and the subconscious mind (what we really want). We’re willing to put in the time to work but we also want what provides us with a short-term payoff. Therefore, in order to do what we say needs to be done, we use the power of will. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. And -even when it does work, we often end up feeling drained and exhausted.
Will power is fueled by glucose in the bloodstream. When glucose levels are low, it’s hard to keep focused. Studies show that self-control is simply exhausting and, if you engage in acts of self-control all day, it’s draining. So, if you want to be productive and creative, what can you do?
Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford University and the author of The Willpower Instinct says that willpower is “the ability to do what you really want to do when part of you really doesn’t want to do it. It’s remembering what you really want, your bigger goals, in the face of your immediate desires.”
If you want to be a super achiever and stay productive, motivated, energized and creative, here are five strategies for success:
1. Commit to taking a five-minute break every 30-45 minutes. Get up, walk and stretch.
2. Have a healthy small, healthy snack every hour – a small amount of raisins, a few saltine crackers or a piece of fruit. Keep that glucose level up.
3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Keep in mind your bigger vision of what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. Whether the reason is monetary, achievement or being of service, look at the larger picture of what you view as success.
5. Take a few moments to visualize you goal as already complete. Vividly imagine how you will feel. Your ability to vividly visualize being “in the result” reinforces positive creative tension for motivation.
Instead of wearing yourself out by will power alone, incorporate these five strategies in your creative process and you will be both productive and successful with greater ease.