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Enhance your willpower

Shivanand Pandit 
Updated on 17 June 2016

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Willpower is a reaction that comes from both the brain and the body. Willpower is necessary to accomplish numerous difficult and wearisome tasks. It is like a muscle and it gets stronger with recurrent use. Willpower is an enthralling phenomenon. It is the ability to control or discard destructive desires. It is the capability to arrive at decision and follow it with persistence. Willpower is the antidote to lethargy and procrastination. A person with strong willpower will assert decisions even in the face of strong opposition or other conflicting indicators. A person with little willpower will give in easily. The level of one’s willpower can determine one’s ability to save for financial stability, make positive physical and mental health choices, and avoid substance use or abuse.

Willpower is a secret source of your happiness or unhappiness. “Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.” People with large amounts of willpower are more successful and able to make harder short term decision in order to meet their long term goals. They are more serene, pleased and confident in their abilities. The word ‘willpower’ is an important proficiency, which is necessary in all walks of life, such as in sports, achieving goals, self improvement and in meditation. With willpower, we can control and direct our imagination or mind’s eye in any direction we want.

Higher willpower is associated with being happier, scoring higher on standardized tests and earning more money.  Willpower is also highly correlated with accomplishing personal goals. What many do not know, is that willpower is a resource that they can call upon and at the same time, it is also a skill that they can improve. How do we enhance our willpower, and direct commanding changes in our lives? To assist in this process, some actionable steps have been summarized below:

Work on one change at a time

Willpower can be amplified, but it is a slow and gradual procedure. We cannot massively change our lives at strenuous times. If we want to see real change, we should start small, and deal with one long term goal at a time.

Do not Procrastinate

Procrastination can exterminate willpower. Deferment of duties that are seen as a burden makes us more likely to not do them at all. We should avoid procrastination as much as we can if we want to ramp up our willpower.

Eliminate Temptation

Willpower is a limited resource, so we should not waste it. When we need to tell ”no” to a temptation in front of us, we do slowly deplete our willpower and it takes time to replenish. So whenever possible we must remove the temptations from our life.

Develop Powerful Habits

Good habits reinforce our willpower. These habits can have a powerful positive upshot on our willpower. This occurs because these habits build self-discipline and self-control, and that spreads to other areas of our life.

Anticipate Roadblocks

Before we start down the path of a new goal, we should consider the barriers that may crop up in our pathway.  There is always resistance or conflict in the path of a positive pursuit or chase. When we anticipate them in advance, when they actually arise, we have stronger willpower to deal with them.

Manage Negative thoughts

Negative thoughts will inevitably pop up during our journey. If we want to increase willpower, negativity does not help as it makes us feel defeated and incompetent. While it is unfeasible to stop negative thoughts completely, we can change how we react and deal with them.

Reward yourself

It is important to stay on task and take accountability for our actions. However, it is also important to know how to reward ourselves for good conduct or performance. No one's willpower is strong enough to keep going without a treat now and then.

Use your imagination

Imagination is a high-ranking technique for improving willpower. The body often responds to imagined situations in the same way it responds to experienced ones. We can use this to our advantage in building willpower.

Learn how to manage stress

We need to manage our stress levels. Being under high levels of stress means that our body’s energy is used up in acting instinctively and making decisions based on short-term outcomes. Our prefrontal cortex loses out in the battle for our energy when high-stress is involved.

Emulate Experts

A way to develop our willpower is to find people who are good at it and follow aspects of how they behave when exerting their will. Another way we can learn from experts is to get them to be our teacher. We should ask them about times when they excavated deep and employed their will for difficult tasks or errands.

Surround with those who have similar goals

The people we surround ourselves with have big influence on what we become. Research has shown that our group of friends inspires and influences our conduct for better or worse. If we and our friends are working towards the same things, it is easier to stick with it.

To conclude, willpower is the ability to control pointless and detrimental urges. It is the capability to conquer laziness and procrastination. It is the ability to arrive to a decision and follow it with persistence until its successful accomplishment. It is the inner power that overcomes the desire to indulge in unnecessary and useless habits, and the inner strength that overcomes inner emotional and mental resistance for taking action. It is one of the foundation stones of success. Willpower is another one of those things that they do not teach us about in any school, but has decisive influence on our lives. Willpower is the engine of self-control, the ability to manage thoughts, emotions and override transitory desires for the sake of long-term benefits. It is crucial for determination, tenacity and achieving goals.


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