Can I Learn Willpower?
Can I Learn Willpower? Can I get more willpower? Can I learn self-discipline? I want to Have more willpower. Improve self-discipline with some fun exercises.
Many people want more willpower but do not know how to get it.
It is often assumed we are born with it or without it and there is nothing we can do about it.
We often sit back and envy people with strong self-discipline. People who get up early, plan their day and achieve enormous amounts during the day.
People who cut their grass regularly, have tidy houses and can find everything they need.
People who always get to work on time, study, learn and pass exams.
It seems that many of these things are out of our reach and, no matter how hard we try, these things elude us. We get up late, skip washing, miss the bus and get told off at work.
We lose our receipts to the dusty corners of our pockets and can never find them to return faulty goods.
What is it about these people that separate them from us? Are they born with a willpower gene?
Scientists have found that higher willpower has a bigger influence on success than IQ.
People with more willpower or self-discipline are generally have better relationship skills, higher self-esteem and are more successful academically. They also are less likely to become binge drinkers or alcoholics.
Generally people who have willpower a
re happier because they feel more in control of their lives.
The Scientific Theory
Willpower is the means by which we make conscious choices.
Here is what we mean by willpower, people can:
- Delay short-term gratification and resist short-term temptations.
- Keep to a decision even when faced with opposition or challenges.
- Make and sustain conscious choices.
There does seem to be a bucket of willpower that we have and if we use it up, even with the best will in the world, it fades and the effect lessens.
This is important in understanding how to improve your willpower.
What Can We Do With More Willpower?
- Get more done with less effort.
- Become happier because we are confident we can achieve what we decide to do.
- Become more sociable because people like a person who keeps their promises.
- Feel more motivated to take on challenging tasks.
How Do We Do It?
First it is necessary to find out what we really want to do. This is the goals we want to achieve, not the expectations others place on us.
This is a whole article in its own right. Some people go to Life coaches, some ask friends to check out their goals and some do tests to find out what sort of person they really are and what their true wishes are in life.
“The Fantastic People Exercise.”
One Way to Get an Idea is this Little Exercise: Do the stages one at a time and avoid reading all the instructions before you start.
- Think of 3 people you admire, they can be real or virtual people.
- Write their names on each of 3 separate sheets of paper.
- On each page, write down the things which you admire them for. Write down at least 5 things for each person. Take your time and if you change your mind and think of a better person, it does not matter, swap them out. You can also have more than 3 people.
- When you have at least 5 qualities you admire for each person, get a clean sheet of paper and collect all the qualities into one long list. This can be easier done on a laptop or PC.
- Delete any duplicates so that you have only unique qualities listed.
- Rank them in order of importance with the most important at the top. If you are using paper you can just number them.
- You should now have a list of ranked qualities.
Later I will explain what to do with the list and how to use it to unlock your deepest beliefs.
Easy Help First
Let’s get a few easy things out of the way that almost everyone can do. To help strengthen their willpower:
- Eat well and do not eat after 7 pm (Cheese or anything. ) You need the blood flow to go to the right places at night to replenish and refresh your organs.
- Sleep well. If you are tired and so also probably irritable and anxious, you will struggle to stay focused.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Your body will say thank-you.
To increase willpower we need to get ordinary, everyday concerns out of the way. The mind, body and emotions work in conjunction and support each other. If you are tired in your body and trying to focus on something difficult, you mind and body will be in conflict. Give them a break. Be kind to yourself.
Emotions Clogging up our Willpower
Most people are controlled more by their emotions than their minds. Here is a small but powerful exercise to get some quiet in our feelings.
I went to wonderful workshop years ago by Jason Chan. It was 3 hours of how to forgive. After I had done the workshop, I felt so wonderfully light and unfettered. It really was like a load being taken off me. Some bits needed more practice, bit then, everything does, doesn’t it?
Here is the way for you to do it:
- Sit or relax somewhere, take a deep breath, because you have some thinking to do.
- Think of a little annoyance that someone has created or done to you. Forgive them.
- Look inside yourself and see if that has improved how you feel, a little bit.
- Think of something a bit worse that someone has done, and forgive them. It must be genuine forgiveness and you will never feel bad about it again.
- Look inside and see how you feel. It was easy to let go, yes?
- From your new feeling of quiet peace, find a serious “offender,” someone who has really upset you and forgive them.
- Look inside and relax in a lighter mood than before.
- Rest for today and repeat the exercise daily, finding someone to forgive each day. See how many days you can last before you run out of people to forgive. Most people never reach 15.
- When you have forgiven everyone you can possibly think of, forgive yourself. There are always things we blame ourselves for. We are all human and make mistakes, yet things in the past can linger and bog us down. Forgive and accept that you cannot go back and change things. You can forgive and move on.
Who Makes Our Lives so difficult?
The above exercise frees us up from blaming other people for preventing us in succeeding. Others are never to blame.
We are the ones who must take responsibility and then we are strong and can move forward.
If we take that responsibility in our own lives we have empowered ourselves and increased our willpower.
The Fantastic People Exercise (continued.)
Let’s go back to the exercise and look at our list of qualities. We can see which are the most important in our eyes.
These top qualities are the “values” or things which are most important to us in our lives. These qualities are a reflection of what we want. We will be more successful if we include these qualities in
- our personal goals
- our jobs
- our hobbies
- the friends we make and keep.
It is not always possible to include all the qualities in one job, so spread them out over jobs and interests.
You might want to re-assess who your friends are, who you associate with and, most of all, what work you do. If your work does not include you having some of these qualities, you may well be unhappy and that makes it difficult to succeed. It can be possible to include some of these values in hobbies or non-work activities.
They are important to you, so take it seriously.
The Small Details
Having reviewed and possibly changed your activities to suit yourself, you may find after forgiving everyone, you are feeling buoyant and have a sense of direction in your life.
Willpower needs direction.
Willpower needs practice.
Willpower will flourish with small achievable goals.
Willpower likes rewards for small successes.
Willpower is not bottomless. If you are spending a lot of willpower on useless things, there will be little left over for the important things.
Willpower is best in the morning, so get up early to practice it.
Willpower needs a healthy, fresh body and mind so sleep and eat well.
Willpower works best with Endorphins. These are released when we exercise regularly.
Willpower needs you to delay gratification to another day, another time. Do just a little more each time.
You can use your gradually improved willpower to help you lose weight, stop smoking, tidy the garage or anything you set your mind to. Follow the exercises and lead yourself gently into a better future for yourself.
Thank you for reading. I hope I have given you some inspiration and some real exercises to work on. The exercises are useful by themselves or in the context of the willpower objective. None of the exercises are religious or dangerous.
The only danger is that you will succeed.