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Hi there! I'm a financial planner for therapists!

The mindset that brings unlimited willpower

Published 2 months ago • 2 min read

Hello Reader,

Want the mindset that brings unlimited willpower?

Keep reading and it could be yours! 👇

We’ve been taught that willpower is a limited resource.

Many of us believe that willpower is like a battery – full at the start of the day, but depleted as the day wears on. And that this low battery leaves us vulnerable to poor impulse control and regrettable choices later in the day.

And there is research seemingly backing up this limited view of willpower. The phenomenon came to be known as “ego depletion.”

But what if your willpower could be non-limited?

A research paper published in 2010, suggests that the ego depletion theory might be inaccurate – or at least not the whole story.

Some folks identified with statements such as:

  • If you have just resisted a strong temptation, you feel strengthened and you can withstand new temptations
  • Your mental stamina fuels itself. Even after strenuous mental exertion, you can continue doing more of it

And people holding these beliefs – or mindsets – demonstrated little reduction in willpower in laboratory experiments.

The participants’ mindsets about willpower, it seemed, were self-fulfilling prophecies. If they believed that their willpower was easily depleted, then their ability to resist temptation and distraction quickly dissolved; but if they believed that “mental stamina fuels itself”, then that is what occurred.

Self-fulfilling prophecies for the win!

What if you suffer from a limited willpower mindset?

The limited willpower mindset, or belief, is very common in North America. So don’t feel bad.

The great news is that you can train your mind to believe in unlimited willpower!

In fact, simply being aware that willpower could be non-limited helps that become true for you!

And there are some other ideas as well:

One useful strategy to change your mindset may be to remember a time when you worked on a mentally demanding task for the pure enjoyment of the activity. There might be a job at work, for example, that others appear to find difficult but you find satisfying. Or maybe it’s a hobby – such as learning a new piece on the piano – that demands intense concentration, yet feels effortless for you. A recent study found that engaging in this kind of recollection naturally shifts people’s beliefs to the non-limited mindset, as they see proof of their own mental stamina.
To provide yourself with further evidence, you might begin with small tests of self-control that will bring about a desired change in your life – such as avoiding snacking for a couple of weeks, disconnecting from social media as you work, or showing greater patience with an irritating loved one. Once you have proved to yourself that your willpower can grow, you may find it easier to then resist other kinds of temptation or distraction.

Improving your financial health – and beyond!

Of course non-limited willpower could provide huge benefits in your financial life. But the potential benefits extend far beyond finance to health, wellness, work and interpersonal relationships.

So why not give adopting this empowering mindset a try?!

As always, if you have any questions about what I’ve covered today — or anything else happening in your financial life — HIT REPLY and ask away! I read and respond to every email.

Best,
Dave

Hi there! I'm a financial planner for therapists!

David W. Frank

I help therapists navigate every element of their financial lives: from understanding your practice P&L and building a personal budget to managing student loan debt and investing for retirement... and everything in between. But don't let my love of the tax code and spreadsheets scare you off! You're just as likely to find me with my nose buried in one of Pema Chodron's books as reading up on the latest financial planning techniques.

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