6 Ways to Boost Willpower

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Habits like smoking and not exercising add up to a shorter life span. How to stick with good ones

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(Linda Hides/iStockphoto)

Don't smoke, don't drink (too much), eat right, exercise. We've all heard these credos and try our very best to follow them, but perhaps we now have a little more incentive: an extra 12 years of life. That's the finding of a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in April which found that the risk of dying increases significantly for those who smoke, exercise less than two hours a week, eat less than three daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and consume more than two drinks a day.

Unfortunately, bad habits are really hard to break. That's why 90 percent of us fail to keep our New Year's resolutions. So what can we do to increase our willpower? Actually, quite a lot, say psychologists. It's all about learning to handle those urges that lead you to partake in unhealthful behaviors; handling them the right way actually spurs the development of certain brain regions making it easier to resist future cravings. Try the methods on the following slides.

Next: 1. Think long-term consequences rather than short-term pleasures

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