A recent study from the American Psychological Association found a lack of willpower is the top reason many Americans fall short of their goals, specifically in attempts to improve their health or save money.
Further research by the APA found willpower is correlated with positive life outcomes such as higher self-esteem or greater financial security. The capacity for self-control appears to remain consistent throughout life, and preschoolers with better self-control will likely continue that pattern as adults. However, willpower can strengthen over time if it is exercised properly. According to Steven Breckler, a social psychologist and executive director of APA's science directorate, avoiding temptation and planning ahead can help strengthen self-control.
"Just like with physical exercise, it is smart to avoid taking on too much at once," Breckler said. "First, focus on one goal, strengthen your willpower, and then take on more goals over time."
Insurance provider, Aetna is helping clients stay motivated to exercise self-control and maintain a healthy life. The company is engaging customers in disease management and healthy living programs to improve member satisfaction and health outcomes. While life insurance provides a safety net for unexpected illness or death, living a healthy lifestyle can also help individuals live longer and stay more financially secure.