I am ambitious, talented and intelligent, but I lack willpower, discipline, and organization. I am an impulsive procrastinator of the highest order. What can I do to improve?

If you’re like me (and majority of the population) you’ve been tempted by bad foods, distracted by social media, and fell off your diet and exercise routines a few times.

But I’ve learned something powerful that helps a lot.

And I recently wrote an essay about it here: http://raadahmed.com/2015/07/27/…

It’s all about willpower, the part of your mind where we subconsciously decide upon the actions that we take. 

Staying productive, controlling our negative impulses and making any kind of change in our lives is all about strengthening our willpower and making sure we direct that energy in the right direction.

Think of willpower as a muscle: It’s something that gets stronger with training and weaker when you don’t use it enough. And like a muscle, it gets tired when you use it repeatedly throughout the day.

How to get more willpower

Thanks to stuff like smartphones, fast food, and social media, most of us have become very weak-willed individuals since we’re constantly being stimulated by notifications and instant gratifications.

So when we actually need to do harder stuff like like starting a startup, learning how to code, losing 20lbs of fat, or eating more vegetables–we don’t have enough willpower to push ourselves through the long journey ahead.

But there is a cure. It involves having a sound mind, body, and soul.

So let’s dig in…

1. Eat healthy

Your brain is one of the most important organs in your body. By treating your body like crap, you are directly neglecting your brain, which leads to weak decision making skills.

Avoid white carbohydrates like bread, certain pastas, fried foods etc… unless it’s within 1.5 hours of a resistance-training working while eating small balanced meals throughout the day.

Each small meal should consist of a protein (egg white, chicken breast, or organic beef), legumes (lentils, black beans or pinto beans), and vegetables (spinach, asparagus, peas or mixed vegetables).

You should also be drinking massive amounts of water and avoiding sodas, fruit juices, excessive alcohol, and other sugary drinks.

And lastly, take the right supplements. I take calcium, potassium, magnesium, R-Alpha-Lipoic Acid, aged garlic extract, green tea extract and electrolytes daily. 

2. Work out

Having an active body leads to an active and sharp brain. For the workplace you should consider getting a standing desk or try to stand up and move around for 1 minute after every hour of sitting down. Apple has executed this well into their watch

You don’t need to run a triathlon or start bench pressing heavy weights to become physically fit–you just need to be active, and the easiest way to do that is by incorporating different physical activities throughout your day.

Instead of taking the escalator, why not spend an extra 15 minutes taking the stairs?

Or leaving a little early to walk 30 minutes to your destination instead of calling an Uber.

All those calories you burn throughout the day adds up. So you don’t have to spend 1 hour straight running on a treadmill in the gym.

3. Get some real sleep

It’s no longer cool to brag about how little sleep you get and how much work you’re still able to pump out.

Being sleep deprived, which is defined as less than 7-8 hours of sleep–puts you on the same mental functioning level of a drunk (which is someone with literally 0 will power).

There’s even been studies that show people who sleep less tend to have a lower median household income! That’s bananas.

So turn off your screens 1 hour before bed, move your TV out of your bedroom, take magnesium and get some shut eye. Even though you might be losing an hour or so from sleeping more, your productivity is vastly increased due to increased willpower.

4. Meditate

Meditation helps your mind focus on one singular thing like your breath or your heart beat.

The point is, if you can sit there in complete silence and focus on something like your breath, it will be much easier for you to focus on your work despite all the distractions happening around you.

I was skeptical at first, but it really does work. I make it a point to meditate for a 10-15 minutes as soon as I wake up.

If you’re not sure how to do it, apps like Calm and Headspace can help you get started. 

Hope that helps get you going!

But remember, having willpower isn’t enough. Once you learn how to attain it, you must learn how to use a small portion of willpower in each task in order to store the rest for later.

For more on that, feel free to read the second part of my essay How to Strengthen Your Willpower and Get More Shit Done & a similar, helpful post How To Eliminate 90% Of Your Regret And Anxiety By Thinking Like A Roman Emperor

Hope this helped!