Background 

 

Overview

Certain physiological and environmental conditions impair our willpower and make it more difficult to make decisions which are in line with our goals. For example, when we are stressed and tired like after a week of hard work on a Friday evening, it becomes more difficult to keep our goals in mind and to make decisions which are in line with what we really want. The main reason for that is that in such situations, the region in the brain which is responsible for basic instincts (the limbic system) becomes more active than the region which is responsible for willpower (the prefrontal cortex).

However, there are many scientifically proven possibilities to proactively improve our willpower in the short-term and in the long-term. Some of them need a very small effort and have a huge positive impact on our willpower. The interventions which are helpful in the short-term can be very powerful to overcome immediate willpower challenges.

The problem is, that when we are stressed and tired, it’s not only getting harder to remember our goals, but also to remember and select appropriate actions which strengthen our willpower and it’s becoming more difficult to make decisions based on this knowledge. This phenomenon is also called “decision fatigue”. In such situations it’s more difficult to overcome immediate willpower challenges than when we are relaxed and recovered. Remembering helpful actions and selecting the most appropriate ones in a certain situation are heavy lifting for the brain when it is willpower depleted!

That’s when this app becomes a very helpful tool. The function “Willpower Boost” asks you for your current mental, physical and environmental conditions and then suggests actions which are suitable to improve your willpower in your specific situation. The app takes the heavy lifting, narrows down the possible actions from a “pool of actions” to a small number of actions which are most appropriate and simple to apply in your situation. In addition, the app motivates you to perform these actions, remembers you of your goals and gives easy to understand instructions. This will take you one step further towards your goals, whenever you use this app and apply this method.

Definition of Willpower 

According to most psychological scientists, willpower can be defined as:

  • The ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.
  • The capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling or impulse.
  • The ability to employ a “cool” cognitive system of behavior rather than a “hot” emotional system.
  • Conscious, effortful regulation of the self by the self.
  • A limited resource capable of being depleted.

Artificial Neural Networks

The app uses artificial neural networks (artificial intelligence) to evaluate and learn what is best for you in which situation. Based on this learning the app will adapt the suggestions for actions over time in the specific situation you are in.