The demands we face on a daily basis seem to test our ability to practice self-control. It’s common to think of motivation as inflexible and limited. But there are practical ways to increase it.

Research suggests that even if you can use your willpower to resist temptation, you could find yourself lacking it when you need it for a task. For instance, when people resist the urge to consume cookies that are temptingly put on a table, their motivation reserves are drained, and they later show less willpower when solving a mathematical problem. This process is referred to as “ego depletion.” However, in a study she published in 2010, psychologist Veronika Job questioned the idea of this theory. As circumstances gather that challenge you with temptations and make it difficult for you to resist them, it is said that your perception of willpower is “limited.” Yet, if you have just resisted a strong temptation, feel strengthened, and are able to resist new temptations, you are considered to have a “non-limited” perspective of willpower. Job found that people with restricted thinking frequently acted in ways that the ego- depletion theory predicted. But for those who possessed a non-limited perspective, there were no signs of ego depletion.

What should we do if our self-control reserves are quickly depleted? Do not expect miracles to happen immediately. Your mindset will change because of your perseverance.