1. Take pride in the right thing. Many people take the most pride in what they’ve accomplished as opposed to who they are, and this may be a mistake. Anthony Salerno, Ph.D. suggests you become proud of being a self-disciplined person rather than dwelling on how close you’ve gotten to a goal.
2. Play with constraints. Arizona State and Florida State researchers promised study participants 100 M&Ms, but only on the precondition that they write down exactly how many they would not eat. This pre-commitment to self-control helped them curb their consumption.
3. Bust out a list. “In order to manage something, you need to measure it,” says Michael Wood, C.S.C.S. of Michael Wood Fitness. Checking off a short- or long-term benchmark remains a powerful motivator; you can almost feel those willpower muscles getting a workout.
4. Hit the sack and don’t skip meals. It’s tougher to maintain self-control when you’re not sleeping well and eating only when it occurs to you. If you’re not properly fueled and tuned, your body goes into resource-conservation mode: and that includes resources like willpower.
— Adapted from “Simple Steps to Forge an Iron Will,” Beth Howard, Men’s Health.