Willpower is one of the most important skills for a person. Our well-being, career achievements, and the successful building of relationships with others depend on it. Only through willpower are we able to do tedious and difficult, but very important things. But blindly following impulses and chaotic satisfaction of indiscriminate desires often lead to sad consequences. In this article, we will figure out how to develop and strengthen willpower in order to control yourself and achieve your goals without hindrance.
Willpower – What It Is?
Essentially, it is the ability to solve problems and cope with assigned tasks. It determines how quickly you can take action, quit bad habits, and develop good ones. Making volitional decisions is relevant in all areas of life.
To understand how this works, you can imagine purposefulness as a muscle in the human body. Like others, it needs regular training. This is the only way it will function effectively. Without the necessary work, any muscle tissue will simply atrophy.
Willpower – What is It For?
Imagine you want to lose weight for the coming summer season. You are driven by the intention (to exclude unhealthy high-calorie foods from the diet), based on the desire to look good, wear beautiful fashionable clothes, and have good health.
This desire will be actively resisted by the habit of eating sweet and fat, the inability to resist temptations. The final result will depend on whether you can figure out how to develop discipline and train your willpower. For weight loss, it is very important to adhere to a certain diet, cope with sudden bouts of hunger, be able to deny yourself the purchase of sweets and other junk food.
The whole process is like a tug of war. On the one hand, this is a global task (to lose weight), on the other hand, it is an almost uncontrollable desire to eat up to the full.
This is an endless struggle between primitive desires and the desire for more. If a person can figure out how to train and increase willpower, he can effectively resist lower-level impulses in any situation. With a low sense of purpose, it is very difficult to overcome your own weaknesses.
Lack of Tenacity is Lack of Freedom
Anyone who is a slave to his own body and does not control his habits will eventually be completely deprived of the right to choose. Blindly following the orders of the body, he will not be able to resist it. Performing even the most difficult tasks will be at risk. Using the example of the same unattainable weight loss, a person will gorge themselves uncontrollably, despite the fact that there are no more suitable-sized things in his wardrobe, and when he overcomes several steps, he suffers from shortness of breath.
Is It Possible to Figure Out How to Cultivate Discipline and Strengthen Willpower?
Quite. Determination can be developed even in the most neglected situations. No matter how weak a person is, he can learn to control his desires.
Have you noticed how, at times, one of your acquaintances changes dramatically? For example, there is a young man from the next apartment – Peter. Absent-mindedness, inability to organize his time and laziness are his calling card. He gets bored of any work in the shortest possible time, he does not want to do anything, he does not set any goals for himself, he only drinks, smokes and has fun with friends. After a while, Peter is kicked out of the institute, demoted at work, and he looks far from the best for the last six months. The worst thing is that he doesn’t seem to notice these changes. He continues to pour over beer, lying on the couch in front of the TV, and enjoy doing nothing.
But at some point, everything suddenly turns upside down. Peter suddenly starts to run in the morning, takes up his studies with a vengeance, greets at the entrance, never ceasing to smile radiantly. Now he looks good, drunken parties with dubious friends no longer seduce him. At work, his diligence was noticed and promoted, and last week all the neighbors discussed the new car he had bought.
Sounds familiar, right? And all because a person set himself a goal and was able to understand how to cultivate willpower, develop character and develop self-discipline. This does not require any special abilities or super powers. It is enough to realize the mistakes you make every day and start fighting them.
Why It can Be So Hard to Hold onto Your Desires?
The human body is designed in such a way that without making any efforts, we timely learn about all emerging needs. Without our control, metabolism, tissue growth and development, and much more occur. All these actions are precisely programmed by evolution and are embedded in the genome.
The Wisdom and Folly of Our Body
The complex structure of the body implies the participation of the mental activity of absolutely all processes occurring in it. The lack of influence of the mind will inevitably lead to numerous “breakdowns”.
For example, the body of a smoker under the influence of nicotine produces substances that are responsible for pleasure, and addiction appears. When a person tries to give up another cigarette, he begins to experience discomfort. After all, the insistent desire to smoke is nothing more than the demand of the body to resume chemical metabolism. No sound arguments about harm to health and mortal danger affect him. He continues to want another dose of the poisonous substance. Just like water or food, really important to life.
That is, the body asks, but it is up to the person to satisfy its requirements or to abstain. How can you improve and increase your willpower to more effectively resist harmful signals from within? This can only be an established personality that gives an account of his actions. Success depends on the mood and willingness to constantly work on yourself.
What is Training For?
By regularly indulging our primitive desires, we eventually acquire bad habits. One by one, ad infinitum. The more often we show weakness and allow ourselves not to resist impulses, the more they rise above us. This is very similar to drug addiction, which is extremely difficult to get rid of.
It is difficult for a lazy person to control himself, to control actions. Just thinking about the need to lead the way, he is already afraid of not coping with the task.
That is why the body needs to be trained, controlled, not allowed to relax. There are many recommendations and exercises for developing willpower, thanks to which it will be possible to gain the longed-for independence.
Are the Desires of Our Body So Important?
Many people think that deliberately denying oneself the satisfaction of needs is prohibitively difficult. In reality, this is not the case. People are often sensitive to their little pleasures, turning them into meaningful ones, which cannot be avoided. In fact, it only seems so.
It’s the same with our body. If he is educated correctly, all his primitive needs will lose their significance. And this does not mean at all that one should renounce primary desires, turning into a monk following the path of the spirit. In everything, you need to know when to stop and learn to be a master, not a slave. Everyone should know how to acquire and develop willpower.
You may also like to read: How to Develop Willpower and Become the Master of Your Life?
How to Develop Willpower?
We have already given the analogy with muscles. Regular training is required to develop them. Successful confrontation with momentary impulses strengthens them and makes them strong. Passive indulgence turns into a flabby, weak-willed mass.
1. Better to Start Small
It’s like going to the gym for the first time, immediately tackling the most difficult exercises, overworking and losing the craving for sports for the rest of your life. It is right to start with simple ones, let the muscles adapt to the new rhythm. You can’t try to do everything in one go. So you will only harm yourself and your health.
Psychologists’ advice on the development and training of willpower should be carried out in the same way in stages. Because it is too difficult for an unprepared person to cover all the recommendations at once. Do not overestimate your capabilities and try to jump over your head.
2. Revise Your Daily Routine
Following a certain regime only at first glance is regarded as something insignificant, not worth attention. In fact, this is the main platform, the base on which the new worldview will be built.
Give up meaningless actions, concentrate on what will benefit.
3. Train Yourself to Get Up Early
Break the habit of lying in bed until lunchtime. Try to get up at the same time every day. The beginning of a new day is a crucial moment. If instead of getting up when needed, you continue to sleep further, the volitional muscle does not begin to work. The laziness that you give in in the morning is very difficult to get rid of until the evening. It is much better to cope with momentary weakness and, despite the protest of the body, to meet a new day.
4. Eat Right
Lack of beneficial trace elements and vitamins leads to impaired cognitive functions. Performance decreases, memory deteriorates, etc. Healthy food is very important for the effective functioning of the human body. Eating the right foods helps to normalize weight, supply the body with nutrients. How to acquire and raise willpower? Often, this is impossible without switching to proper nutrition.
A physically active person thinks much better. If he is in a static state for a long time, the brain begins to gradually fall asleep. This is why it is easy to doze off in public transport or at a boring lecture. If the body is in motion, blood circulation increases and mental activity reaches its maximum activity.
6. Don’t Waste Time on Nonsense
Or limit it if possible. Avoid doing something meaningless like watching TV or hanging out on social media. Better get into the habit of reading more. A great solution would be to regularly walk in the fresh air. In a word – improve yourself, develop.
7. Keep Promises Made to Yourself
Get in the habit of making promises to yourself. Instead of: “We need to vacuum the palace!”, Say to yourself: “I promise to clean up the apartment until evening.” Otherwise, you are much more likely to work out all day nonsense and never get to the task.
8. Sleep Well
A prerequisite for motivating willpower is the quality of sleep. It is necessary to sleep during the night hours, when our body is really set to rest and restore energy. Remember that sleep deprivation is extremely negative for your condition. The brain, which has not received the necessary unloading within 7-8 hours, will not work as it should.
9. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Water is vital for humans. Concentrating efforts with its lack is simply impossible. Even mild dehydration can negatively affect thinking. For normal functioning, the body needs at least 8 glasses daily. It would be even better to increase this dose by one and a half to two times.
It is really possible to train self-awareness through meditation. It will have a positive effect on the ability to concentrate, abstract and control oneself. Applying in practice the simplest breathing control techniques, it will not be difficult to focus on solving the assigned tasks.
11. Practice: Five Minute Brain Exercise
Regular exercise helps people get rid of bad habits much faster and more painlessly. A simple, short meditation will definitely be beneficial.
Sit on a chair, keep your back straight, put your hands on your knees. Sit quietly, do not twitch or fidget. Immobility is a prerequisite for achieving the desired result.
Concentrate on your breathing. The eyes can be closed or the gaze can be focused on a certain point. As you breathe, say “inhale” and “exhale” to yourself. As soon as you realize that you are distracted and immersed in your thoughts, focus on breathing again.
Notice feelings and thoughts. After a while, stop speaking the words and just breathe. Feel the flow of air entering and exiting your lungs. At this stage of training, you work on self-knowledge, learn what willpower is and learn to control your actions.
12. Do Not Neglect Hygiene, Clean Up Order
Remember to wash, brush your teeth, shave and wash. After all, cleanliness is the key to health. The rule works for people of all ages. Do not try to evade under any circumstances.
Keep your house tidy. Clean floors and dishes, order on the shelves in the closet and on the table – should be by definition. Clean your computer sometimes too. Delete unnecessary files, do not accumulate unnecessary information.
13. Get Rid of Bad Habits
Realize that drinking too much alcohol and smoking is very harmful. By indulging these weaknesses, you cannot learn willpower. Believe me, the degradation and triumph of primitive desires in front of clarity of thought are otherwise inevitable.
14. Postpone the Pleasures
Our brains insist on meeting our needs right here and now. Looming somewhere in the distance, the prospects of finding harmony, financial independence, good health, a successful life do not seem so important. Because of this, we constantly succumb to temptations – we neglect the diet, spend large sums on trinkets, and waste our free time irrationally.
Try to be patient a little. Delay the moment you get what you want for 10 minutes. This is quite a bit, but during this period your consciousness will “reconsider priorities” and is more likely to make the right decision.
15. Warm Up
Having dealt with the definition of what willpower means, it’s time to learn how to train it. Take note of a couple of easy ways:
- Make a start in your actions on the position “I will not”. Try not to use strong words in speech, do not swing your leg while sitting, do not wrap your hair around your fingers, etc.
- Make it a rule to pronounce the expression “I will” and conform to it. Set aside time every day for meditation, take a contrast shower, walk, and more.
- Performing these simple tasks every day, you will be able to strengthen self-control, the ability to concentrate, and resist momentary impulses.
16. Take Action
Alternatively, start jogging in the morning without delay tomorrow. Just get up early and go for a run. Then make a commitment to yourself to do it daily. Get the support of quality literature or professional psychologists. Let this be a small but serious step towards understanding what willpower is in psychology and how to get it.
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