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Do you have the (will) power? Take the test to find out how best to boost your determination to turn your dreams into reality.

Byline: SUSAN GRIFFIN

WE can swot up on what we need to do to maintain a healthy, balanced and fulfilling lifestyle - but it doesn't mean a lot if we don't have the willpower and determination to see it through.

So how will you do on our willpower test and what can you do to improve it? WHAT IS WILLPOWER? "Willpower is effectively a mental resource we have that allows us to resist our impulses and to motivate ourselves to achieve valued goals," explains Dr Rob Yeung, a performance psychologist and author of Confidence 2.0.

There is no definitive research on what causes people to have more - or less - willpower.

"There are likely to be a variety of factors, so it's very possible your upbringing, your genes and environment may affect your willpower," says Yeung. He says stress may also be factor, adding: "If you're spending a lot of time worrying about money or trying not to snap at someone, this will deplete your mental resources and ability to resist temptation." DO I ONLY HAVE SO MUCH WILLPOWER TO CALL UPON? If willpower is a resource, then it raises the question - is it limited or endless? Research on this is split.

"Essentially the amount of willpower you have is determined by your belief in the nature of willpower," says Yeung. "It's similar to the fact that some people believe talent and creativity are gifts you're born with, while others believe such traits can be improved through effort.

"If you believe something is fixed or limited you're not going to make as much effort to improve it than if you believe it can be developed." CAN I TEST MY WILLPOWER? There is no definitive test to assess your willpower, but you can gauge personality traits.

Answer these questions and award points for each answer: Yes (4pts), Sometimes (3pts), Rarely (2pts), No (1pt).

. ? Do you embrace change? ? Do you like planning? ? Do you describe yourself as assertive? ? Do you see projects through to fruition? ? Do you consider yourself disciplined? ? Do you find it easy to concentrate? ? Do you feel generally relaxed? ? Do you usually keep your New Year's resolutions? ? Do you believe we have unlimited mental resources? The maximum score is 36, the minimum is nine. The higher the score, the more likely you are to be someone who has strong willpower. IS IT POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE YOUR WILLPOWER? "There's some research that says we may be able to improve our willpower," says Yeung. He suggests trying these practical tips.

Remove temptation If you're trying to eat more healthily, don't just hide biscuits on a high shelf. You're not daft - you know those biscuits are there.

In your mind you'll keep going to those biscuits, so you're constantly using up your willpower to resist temptation. It's far easier to resist if you chuck out the biscuits. Same with alcohol and cigarettes. And delete fast-food apps on your phone.

Tackle one change at a time If you want to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job and drink less booze, doing all those things together will be much more taxing than doing one at a time.

Pick the one you have the best chance of achieving first. Success will help you to build self-belief in your ability to resist temptation.

If you make changes habits, do Set achievable goals One thing that stops people from achieving goals is that they try to cope with unrealistic amounts of change. If you're trying to eat more healthily, don't try a time best success to overhaul your diet in one go. Introduce one more of your five-aday for two weeks and then add another, and so on.

Rehearse stock phrases Practise what you want to say when the people in your life try to lure you into temptation.

If you're looking drink less alcohol, it might be something like: "I'm really trying to cut down on the amount I drink so if you insist on buying me a drink, I'd love a Diet Coke, thank you".

Then repeat it like a broken record until you can say it on command.

want to several to your Think about your core values Focus on what's most important to you - family, having fun, independence, love or anything else - and spend five minutes writing about why that is.

one at for the of Affirming core values reminds people what's important in life. This can help people interrupt vicious cycles that would otherwise produce cumulative negative effects and it can help those looking to make changes to stay strong in the face of stress.

If you want to make several changes to your habits, do one at a time for the best chance of success

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PUSH FOR CHANGE Don't try to stop all your bad habits at once. Pic: Getty Images
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 7, 2018
Words:803
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