“How to develop willpower?” It’s a question many people ask.
The answer is – you can develop willpower just like any other skill-learning English, improving time-management skills, polishing your driving skills, etc. There are some techniques, which, if used correctly, can help you develop willpower to its fullest.
What are those techniques? We’ll come to that. But first, let us understand what is ‘willpower?’
What is willpower?
Some people believe humans are chained by ‘fate.’ They say the man is not ‘free’ to act. Such people have no concept of any power that can help a person reach his goals. Are they wrong? No, they aren’t. If you don’t seek willpower, you aren’t going to find it. But if you seek it, you will find it – sooner or later.
Yes, there is a power inbuilt in each of us-a power that can make things happen. But it does not act on its own. You must direct it through your ‘will.’ That’s why it’s called willpower.
The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful individual is not talent, but rather, the willpower or the lack of it. Here are some ways that can help you develop willpower.
Acknowledge your willpower
The first step to develop willpower is to acknowledge it. Most of the times we don’t even acknowledge that we have such a power. You can only use a power that you know you have. if you don’t know you have something you can’t use it.
There’s a simple technique to it: Close your eyes. Take 3 deep breaths, and say to yourself, “I acknowledge my willpower. I know I have it, and I can exercise it the way I see fit. It’s my free will, and I am FREE to use it.”
Some people fear willpower because they believe it can be destructive. It’s true that any power (not just willpower) can be destructive. But it’s not the fault of the power, it’s the fault of the person exercising it. (A knife can cut vegetables, and the same knife can slit someone’s throat. Would you blame the knife?)
Power is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. It’s up to you how you use it. Any power can be destructive or constructive. In the end, you’re responsible for your actions and their consequences.
A person capable of doing bad things is also capable of doing good things. You must have the power to create good in the world.
Start with the easiest thing
Want to develop willpower? Start with the easiest thing. And move forward from there.
Starting with the most difficult task while trying to develop willpower is like jumping straight from level 0 to level 4 of a video-game. You’re most likely to fail.
Imagine a driver who has no idea about accelerator or brakes trying to drive a car at full speed on a busy highway. He’s sure to create havoc, not only in his life but others’ lives too.
Start with the easiest thing. Conquer the basic challenge. Move on to more complicated things. Keep improving.
It’s like progressive weight training. Bodybuilders start the first set with lightweight. They keep on increasing the weight with each set-making the next set difficult than the previous one. It’s how you also can develop willpower.
Challenge yourself every day
Its’ true you shouldn’t go overboard too soon. But it’s also true that if you move within your comfort zone only, you can never progress – be it studies, sports, relationships, or physical fitness. If you want to develop willpower then you must challenge yourself every day. Tomorrow must see you a little farther from where you are today.
A stronger willpower means a weaker mind and vice-versa
Ever tried to focus on a task at hand, only to find the ever-restless mind don’t let you? Mind and willpower have nothing to do with each other, in fact, they are contrary. I know it sounds weird because you’ve been told that by developing your willpower you’re actually developing your mind.
When you develop willpower, you’re not strengthening your mind. Willpower is beyond mind. The more developed your willpower is, the more controlled your mind shall be. That’s how it works.
Consider your mind a robot to complete tasks as you wish. It’s your willpower that directs the robot to accomplish tasks and overcome challenges. If the robot stopped taking command from you, you’ll be in trouble.
And that’s what’s happened. The mind has started refusing your command. Want the control back? Develop willpower.
Accomplish little things every day to develop willpower
Many people think they need to jump off a cliff to develop willpower. While jumping off of a cliff certainly boosts your willpower, it’s not the only way. In fact, life throws so many challenges to overcome that if you just paid attention, you’d be surprised.
You can start developing willpower with quite simple tasks. For example, you can decide, “I shall drink 1 glass of water every 2 hours today-total 4 glasses.”
It’s not a big deal, but you shall notice that the moment you decide to do that, your mind gets restless. If you accomplish drinking 1 of glass water every 2 hours, your mind (the robot) shall lose a fraction of its power. So, it shall try its best to break your resolution.
It shall say, “Oh, what’s the point? There’s no need to drink so much water. If you drink a glass of water every 2 hours, you shall have to make many trips to the washroom, and that can take away your focus from the task at hand.”
The mind shall give as many excuses as it can to break your resolution, but that’s the test. Say to it, “Just shut up! I am going to do what I’ve decided. It’s better you keep yourself quiet. Let me complete my resolution and then we can talk.”
No matter what, don’t listen to your mind. Once your resolution for that particular day is over, you’ll feel more powerful. That’s an indication that your willpower has increased a bit. Keep doing such simple experiments daily, and you’ll notice a significant boost to your willpower within a month or two. That’s how you develop willpower.
Once you have the power, you can use it to score better marks in exams, or to move forward in your career, or to gain an inch on your biceps. It’s up to you how you use it.
If you want to use willpower to achieve your goals, you must have it first.