In this article, you will learn how to develop willpower to a high level and join the ranks of successful people. Have you ever wondered what is the secret of all great and successful people? What makes them move towards their goal, regardless of obstacles? It seems that these lucky ones have some kind of secret weapon or superpower that is inaccessible to ordinary people. In fact, all their achievements are due to an iron will and self discipline.
- What is will?
- Why is it important to develop willpower?
- 9 Practical Tips to build willpower.
- How to overcome obstacles to strong will?
What is Will?
Will is one of the most important components of personality, which determines the effectiveness of a person in all spheres of life. This is the ability to mobilize your inner resources to achieve your goals and move towards them, maintaining a consistently high level of motivation throughout the path.
Take a look around. The world as we know it is the result of an act of will and daring of strong-minded people. Without will, there would be no great works of art, scientific discoveries, space flights. Everything we admire is created by this power within us.
History knows many examples of people with phenomenal willpower. The most striking of them, perhaps, is Alexander the Great. Born into a royal family, he had everything one could dream of. He could ride like cheese in butter all his life, not knowing worries and hassles, but he chose a different path. Unbreakable will and ambition made him the greatest military leader in the history of mankind, not losing a single battle.
Why is It Important to Develop Willpower?
Those who consider willpower to be an innate trait like temperament or mentality are wrong. Will is the muscle framework of our personality, it becomes stronger from constant training and weakens from idleness. It can be developed and strengthened at any age.
Why is This Needed?
To answer this question, look back at your past life and imagine that you had the will and perseverance to achieve all your goals.
Who Would You Be Now?
Do you like this person? Does he look like the real you? Now think about your actual goals. They have a chance to become reality. And after a while, looking back again, you will be able to proudly state that you have become the person you wanted to be today. Or they will remain unrealizable dreams, buried under a thick layer of laziness and lack of will. The choice is yours. As they say, the strong is looking for a way, and the weak is looking for a reason.
I suggest that you honestly answer the following questions to determine how developed your volitional muscle is.
- Do you have bad habits?
- Do you often put off doing important things until the last moment? How much time do you spend hanging out on social networks and watching TV series?
- Do you find it difficult to focus on a specific task and work without distraction?
- Are you inclined to give up the things you have started without completing them?
- Have you made unsuccessful attempts to diet to lose weight?
If you answered yes to most of the questions, I have two news for you: good and bad. The bad thing is that you obviously lack willpower. The good news is that by reading this article to the end, you will take the first step in the right direction. I have prepared for you 9 effective psychological techniques and ways to develop will.
9 Practical Tips: How to Develop Willpower?
Form new mindsets Before you start working on willpower, you need to tune your mind. Read and memorize the following guidelines as they will greatly increase your productivity.
1. Do Not Take the Exercise of Willpower as Giving Up Pleasure in Favor of Duty
Behind the concept of “duty” is most often another pleasure, delayed in time, but more valuable and emotionally saturated, associated with the satisfaction of a higher need. The needs for it are distributed on levels, ranging from the lowest (physiological) and ending with the highest (spiritual). They can come into conflict with each other. The lower ones are called to provide comfort and safety, while the higher ones are associated with personal development and getting out of the comfort zone. Willpower helps not to get stuck at the bottom of the pyramid, but to move up.
The Result Will Appear Much Earlier Than You Notice It
The most difficult thing in any business is the beginning. Our brain is inert, and is wary of everything new. The first steps will be difficult for you and seem insignificant. At this moment, remember that at the psychophysiological level, changes have already begun to take place, although they are invisible to you so far. We’ll take a closer look at them when we talk about good habits.
Each of your volitional actions needs positive reinforcement, especially at the initial stage. Do not skimp on praise and encouragement for yourself. If today you are a little better than yesterday, then this is already a reason for pride.
2. Start Planning
Good planning is the cornerstone of the path to strong will. While chaos reigns in your head and affairs, it is useless to try to achieve any serious goals. You will skid, being distracted by all sorts of little things. Before you start planning, you need to decide on your priorities. Use the method of Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He advises to divide all your affairs into 4 groups according to the criteria of importance and urgency.
Important and Urgent
These are matters that require attention in the first place: critical situations, force majeure, projects with an approaching deadline.
Important and Non-Urgent
These include preventive measures, seeking opportunities and connections, planning.
Unimportant and Urgent Matters
This can include personal calls, correspondence, meetings. Unimportant and non-urgent. This is all that is associated with an idle pastime: watching TV series, surfing the Internet, empty talk. Once you’ve made your to-do list, you need to set aside specific time to complete them.
Stephen Covey recommends planning the week ahead. Start a weekly planner and distribute to-dos by day of the week: first of all, write down important and urgent matters, then important and non-urgent ones, and further down the list.
At first, it will be unusual for you to stick to the plan, you may forget about business, be distracted, confused, feel constrained and uncomfortable.
3. Give Yourself Two Weeks
You need to endure this time and in no case leave the race. In half a month, you will fully experience the benefits of planning and you will no longer want to return to the chaos of a hectic life. Observe the daily routine This point is closely related to the previous one. It so happens that you seem to have planned everything out, set aside a specific hour to complete an important task, but, as luck would have it, at this time you have no strength at all – your eyes close, your hands do not obey, and your body is trying to take a horizontal position.
Observe yourself before starting your daily routine. Mark and write down when you are most productive and when you feel tired and fatigued. For some people, the peak of activity occurs in the morning hours, someone is especially efficient in the afternoon, and pronounced owls feel a burst of energy in the evening.
Based on your observations, create a schedule and follow it for several days in a row. Correct and tweak it until it is as comfortable as possible for you. Having got used to living according to the regime, your body will help you. For example, if you eat lunch every day at the same time, the stomach will begin to produce gastric juice by that hour, and the food will be better absorbed. When planning your daily routine, take into account the general recommendations of doctors and scientists:
- sleep 7 to 9 hours a day;
- eliminate heavy physical activity and abundant food before bedtime;
- take breaks from work every 1.5 hours;
- alternate mental activity with physical activity;
- spend more time outdoors.
4. Build Good Habits
The best way to train your willpower is to consciously form new good habits. Habit is the tendency to act in a certain way in the same situations. An action, repeated many times, is fixed in the brain, and each time it becomes easier to reproduce it.
To understand how this happens, let’s look at the structure of the brain. This organ consists of billions of special cells – neurons. These cells constantly exchange electrical impulses with each other, forming neural circuits. The more often we repeat an action, the stronger the neural circuit becomes. The impulse travels along it easily and quickly, like on a high-speed highway. Usually such chains are formed spontaneously. But this does not mean that a person cannot consciously build such a highway in his brain – form a new healthy habit or consolidate an effective algorithm of actions.
Imagine that you need to drive your car off-road. For the first time, you can wander, skid, get stuck on bumps. The road will take a long time and take a lot of energy. But you will have some guidelines and experience that will be useful in the future. Each new trip along this path will become easier and more pleasant, and a comfortable track will appear on the weedy soil.
Gradually, this track will turn into a dirt road, and after a while it will become so flat and wide that you can quickly rush along it with your eyes closed. Similar processes take place in our brain. The ability of the brain to build new neural circuits and destroy old ones is called neuroplasticity. This phenomenon is clearly shown in the video.
Now, armed with the knowledge of psychophysiology, start forming new habits. I have prepared several ideas for you; you can safely use them.
5. Master Meditation
A laconic and at the same time very capacious definition of will was formulated by a psychologist Alexei Nikolaevich: “Will is the ability to control attention”.
It is with the mastery of attention and power over your thoughts that any conscious proactive activity begins. If your mind is in chaos, you are controlled by spontaneous impulses, and anxiety is your constant companion, meditation will be the best medicine for you.
By meditating, you learn to control your thought flow, direct it in the right direction and establish a connection between the mind and the body. We suggest you start with a simple technique of meditation.
Get into a comfortable position, preferably sitting. Relax. Focus on one point in front of you at eye level. Stare at point without blinking until your eyelids are heavy and droop. Now imagine something familiar to you, like your favorite vase or a beautiful flower. The image should be vivid and vivid. Look at it from all sides, study it to the smallest detail. If extraneous thoughts creep into your head, drive them away and return to contemplation. Start practicing for 15 minutes a day.
Each time, it will become easier for you to hold attention, there will be fewer obsessive thoughts, and the mind will gain clarity and sharpness.
6. Set Aside 10 Minutes A Day for Self-Hypnosis
Self hypnosis or auto-training is a simple but surprisingly effective thing, the main goal of which is to reach out to our subconscious, to make it work for us. This is what happens when we repeat the same thought hundreds and thousands of times.
You can do auto-training anywhere: on the way to work, in line at the store, in the dentist’s office, etc. You can combine autogenic training with meditation. Using the tips and examples below, compose a few sentences that are emotionally charged to achieve your desired goals, and repeat them for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Phrases must be affirmative; our subconscious mind ignores the “not” particle. 😊
- I will achieve my goal. 😡
- I will not deviate from the intended path.
When formulating a thought, focus not on the problem, but on the result that you are striving to achieve. Avoid the words “get rid”, “eradicate”, etc. 😊
- I will become a strong-willed and strong-willed person. 😡
- I will get rid of laziness and lack of will.
- My will is getting stronger every day. 😡
- By cultivating willpower in myself, I develop, and my efficiency increases.
7. Switch to A Healthy Diet
As we have already found out, willpower is the ability to direct your energy towards achieving your goals. Where to get this energy?
If you barely have enough energy to complete your daily routine, you may not even dream of great feats. Your “will” will continue to sleep like a dead sleep in a crystal coffin.
To improve performance, you need to provide the body with the necessary nutrients. Snacks on the run, junk food, overeating or grueling diets do not build up energy, but, on the contrary, drain our internal reserves.
Watch what, how and when you eat. Begin to gradually restructure your diet. Enrich it with vegetables and fruits, whole grain cereals, sea fish. Reduce the amount of sugar. Do not overuse fried, fatty, too spicy foods. And drink the water. Plenty of water.
Remember, food culture starts with awareness. Our body is a temple, the greatest mystery of nature, the crown of creation. You cannot defile it with food waste and torment him with gluttony – this is disrespect for oneself. No wonder gluttony is recognized as a mortal sin.
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the souls of sinners indulging in gluttony languish in the third circle of Hell. They drown in sticky mud under the continuous freezing rain, and are guarded by the formidable three-headed dog Cerberus.
8. Go in For Sports
Nothing develops discipline and perseverance like sports. Absolutely all professional athletes are people with tremendous willpower. If you have never held a dumbbell or a racket in your hands, then do not despair. It’s never too late to start. Although you will not adorn the world’s sports pedestals, you will pump your body and willpower.
Although, who knows … Olympic champion Vladimir started running at 24. Soviet wrestler Alexander, who became a seven-time world champion and three-time Olympic champion, came into the fight only at 22.
Even light exercises in the morning will give a positive result, however, I still advise you to plunge deeper into the world of sports.
Choose a section to your liking and feel free to sign up for classes. This can be tennis, football, weightlifting, volleyball, swimming, etc. By training with like-minded people, you significantly increase your performance through group motivation. New friends and pleasant informal communication will be an additional bonus to training.
9. Use Modern Helpers
Progress does not stand still; our life is becoming more high-tech every day. Internet developers have created many interesting and useful services for people actively engaged in self-development. One of them is the time tracker. With its help, you can track what you spend time on your computer and mobile devices. The app organizes the information received and gives it in the form of visual statistics with an assessment of the productivity of your pastime. Also, this service makes sure that its users do not abuse the useless waste of time. For example, you can set the bar for watching TV shows at 1 hour/day. If this threshold is exceeded, the system will give you a signal. Agree, a very valuable assistant for training willpower.
How to Overcome Obstacles to Strong Will?
Let’s take a look at the obstacles and obstacles that can prevent you from working on yourself and decide what to do with them. As they say, you need to know the enemy by sight in order to neutralize it in time.
Laziness is unwillingness to do what needs to be done. Laziness is traditionally considered one of the worst human vices. Let’s see why it occurs. The person experiences stress when doing work that is not enjoyable. Laziness is activated to keep us from this stress. Thus, it carries a protective function – this is a kind of self-preservation instinct from excessive activity.
Therefore, before trying to erase laziness from your personality, like cockroaches from the kitchen with dichlorvos, I advise you to listen to it.
Why do things that you consider important and necessary cause such rejection in you? This may be a consequence of the loss of internal guidelines and a crisis in the emotional-value sphere of the individual.
“Laziness very often turns into mental impassability: lack of or loss of direction in life, when a person does not know for what and what to strive for, where to live and why to do what seems to be necessary”.
Be sure to set yourself important goals that motivate you and try to connect all your affairs with them. Now you have a great goal – to become a strong-willed person. The next time you do unpleasant work for you, think that you are getting closer to that goal. This will help you to tame laziness and ignite the fire that motivates you.
Overestimated Level of Claims
The level of aspiration is closely related to self-esteem. This is a kind of benchmark, upon reaching which a person evaluates the result as successful. Anything that does not reach this level seems to him a trifle, not worth the effort. An overestimated level of aspirations makes it difficult to achieve real goals.
How Does This Happen?
A person works, for example, as a courier, and standing in the morning traffic jams, secretly dreams of becoming a top manager of Amazon. In bright colors, he imagines how he will drive a luxurious car with a personal driver, go to meetings with respected people in an expensive suit and stylish tie. It is very pleasant to live in such illusions, but to return to harsh reality is not.
Our hero could go to study in order to change his profession to a more prestigious and highly paid one, but it will still be far from the imaginary ideal (at least at the initial stage). This means that there is nowhere to scrape together motivation to study.
Motivation is a lever that triggers volitional processes. If a person wants something very much, but deep down he knows perfectly well that his dream is unrealizable, then no amount of willpower will help. It won’t even turn on. So set realistic, achievable goals and break the habit of feeding your self-esteem with illusions. On the surface, these sweet thoughts seem harmless, but this is far from the case.
External Locus of Control
Locus of control is the tendency of the individual to explain the events taking place with him by external or internal reasons. A person with an external locus of control usually blames circumstances for his failures: bad weather, evil bosses, corrupt government, etc. These people, as a rule, have everyone around them to blame, except themselves. With such attitudes, it is useless to develop willpower.
What is the use of working on yourself and getting out of your way if practically nothing depends on you? This is roughly how people with an external locus of control reason. The internal locus of control is quite another matter. It allows you to focus attention and direct your energy to those tasks that are in your sphere of influence. In a problematic situation, a person with an internal locus of control will do everything in his power to come to a constructive solution. He understands perfectly well that not everything is subject to him and does not waste energy on whining and fighting windmills.
To improve your locus of control, you need to realize the futility of passive waiting and shifting responsibility. Life changes only in the process of active activity and these changes are directly proportional to the work invested in them. Concentrate attention and direct energy to what you can change.
Congratulations! You have read the article to the end, which means that the first step towards strong will has been taken. Then everything depends only on you. Keep moving forward and in a few months, you will see a completely different person in the mirror. Strong-willed, purposeful and strong in spirit.