What You know about Willpower?
Have You ever heard about willpower? Nope, I'm not talking about Will Power who is Australian racing driver, sorry Will might be next time. Today I wanted to share with You some thoughts about one golden key to success you can use in everyday life: in sports, business, relations and many other aspects of life you are responsible for.
Of course, everything described below is only the subjective opinion of the author and shouldn't be considered as genuine truth.
In this article, I try to give you an explanation of this sort of power and ways to improve it. For sure having strong willpower can be very useful and every one of us should train it like any other muscle of our body because in nature nothing stay still, you either develop or degrade, there is no third option.
But first, a small introduction.
The American Psychological Association defines willpower as: "ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals". Of course it describes just small part of it, but actually we can also use this explanation to keep this article short.
A path to willpower can be separated into four steps: desires, goals, plan and action. Without any of these 4 elements you can quickly lose this battle with yourself. Now let's take a closer look at them.
Desire - in each of our lives there are moments when we would like to feel yourself stronger, to overcome habit, addiction or reach our goals. In my own life it happened same way, when I realized that I do not have freedom anymore and my body took control over me. Realization of it prompted me to start studying what is willpower and how I can use it to overcome my weakness. Finding a real reason why you desire something, can sometimes be challenging, but understanding it has a fundamental meaning to prevent disappointment in the end.
Goals - are something that you are determined to achieve. Inner intention to achieve something becomes goals. This is very important point we have to care about. Sometimes the journey takes too much time while intention has already gone and so we leave goals where they are.
Any kind of visualization can help you to get the inner fire back. Motivation speakers, songs and all other stuff that brings goosebumps on your skin, making you shout: I WILL DO IT! It is the inner fuel that you should always remember.
Plans - The more difficult goal you have, the better plan you should have. There are a lot of books written about how to create a strategy so I will be short here. The main things I would like to point out are:
- Thinking out at least two ways to achieve your goals.
- Setting the time limitation for achievement.
- Track yourself.
I found an excellent tool for tracking myself in the book: "Living Your best year ever" by Darren Hardy. Author has shown an example of week table that you can use in your everyday life and track your activities which hopefully are leading you to your aim.
Here is an example of it:
And now finally it is time to take a closer look at willpower increasing techniques.
Let's come back to our definition: the ability to resist short-term temptations.
It means if we look at willpower as a house made of bricks, the bricks of the house would be made of
small self-forces. Any action either strengthen the willpower or decreases it.
The easiest way to train it is through sport. For example, if you are forcing yourself to go to the gym
when you don't want to or doing exercises at home every day. Overcoming laziness, getting up at 5
o'clock (Robin Sharma has good articles to help you achieve it), etc. The main point here is that every
your decision is a step forward or step back from growing strong willpower, there is no third possibility.
In nature nothing stay still, you either develop or degrade.
Too lazy to go to the gym today, but you still go. Instead of pushing the snooze button you put your feet
on the floor and get up. By doing this you are growing your will. The same is true during training while
making an additional effort when the body wants to give up. We start leaning on our will, and by doing
those extra ten push-ups, we lay bricks of willpower in our spirit, becoming stronger.
But before you start to analyze all of your decisions with a desire to increase willpower, I would like to
share one more thing. As I told before, willpower is like a muscle, and we can train it. At the same time
any muscle tires and needs time to recover. Here is a little bit more about it.
The Chocolate-and-Radish Experiment made by Psychologist Roy Baumeister.
Scientists decided to conduct a study. They gathered a group of people who liked chocolate and divided
them into two groups. First of the group got chocolate cookies and the second group got to eat only a
radish. After some time both groups were given an assignment that didn't have any real solution. The
task was made to compare which of the group would give up earlier on the task that actually didn't have a real answer. The study showed that first surrendered the group that ate the radish. The point is that we all have a limited amount of power and if you are wasting it at work, at home or while chewing the radish, then don't be surprised to find yourself weak from time to time.
Giving rest to your body and your mind is essential. Give time to recover and gain energy back. You will
need that energy to perform tasks from your list to achieve the things you dream about.
In future articles, we will talk about other methods to increase your inner power.
If you have any thoughts about this article we'd be really keen to hear your comments. Share your views in the comments box below.
Source: "Living Your Best Year Ever" by Darren Hardy
"The experience of a fool" by Mirzakarim Norbekov