There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.

Willpower is one of the most critical traits in determining how successful an individual will be. The reason that most people don't correlate their self-control with success is that it's also misunderstood.

Willpower comes off as this mysterious magical force that should only be in Harry Potter movies. Many have no idea where it comes from, what drives it, and how you can even build more of it since it's so important. Once you realize how vital willpower is, you will be encouraged to develop better habits.

Willpower gets you started. Habits get you results. - Priit Kallas

Click to Tweet

What is Willpower and Why it's so Important?  

Willpower is the inner force we have in us to resist our natural impulses. It's that thing inside of you that show up to help you do some of these things. 

  • Not eat the donut 
  • Go to bed as soon as you feel you're tired
  • Avoid looking at pornography 
  • Stay focused on your work 
  • Not check your email or social media 
  • Drag yourself to finish a workout

Willpower is essential because it's what all self-control is based in. When you lack self-control, it means you act on impulse. One of the most significant differences between people who end up in the prison system and those who don't is self-control. It's important enough that it can change your entire life in a moment. 

Your self-control helps you to:

  1. Control Your Thoughts
  2. Control Your Emotions 
  3. Focus 
  4. Impulse Control

It's not taught in school, but willpower is one of the most important things that you need to work on. Most people have heard of the marshmallow study that was done. They took young children and offered them one marshmallow now or two later. All of the kids that took the two then went on to be more successful.

The research followed them for decades, and there was no doubt in the data that the kids with more self-control had much better lives. The kids with more self-control experienced: 

  • Better grades
  • Less substance abuse
  • Better responses to stress
  • Less chance of obesity 
  • Better social skills
  • Longer marriages 
  • and much more...

A lot is riding on your ability to resist the impulse. Every thought you have, the things you say, the actions you take, and the things you choose to focus on depending on your willpower. 

It's not taught in school, but willpower is one of the most important things that you need to work on. Most people have heard of the marshmallow study that was done. They took young children and offered them one marshmallow now or two later. All of the kids that took the two then went on to be more successful.

Willpower is The Answer to The Temptation Landmines We Live In 

The modern world is filled with new temptations that we did not have to face as a society before. Think about sugar; you used only to get it in abundance if you ran into a Bee Hive, and you would have to fight bees to get it. Now you can walk into a grocery store that is completely stocked with processed sugar.

Social media is another excellent example of a problem area. Social media in small doses is a great thing, but it's designed to get you to spend hours on it. That is not a temptation that our minds have had to deal with for even one-hundred years.
It's a catch-22 because your willpower will also do much better when you take care of yourself better. Here are three things you can do to improve your self-control daily.

1. Eat Well

You want to make sure that you keep your blood sugar levels stable. When kids have low blood sugar, they are liable to act a fool, and it turns out that adults are the same.
You want to try and consume food that is low glycemic foods. But even simpler than that, make sure you're regularly eating throughout the day.


2. More Self Control Creates a Desire for Sweets

The more you fight your desires, the less willpower you have at the end of the day. This depletes your glucose and creates a craving for sweets. Many people want to resist sweets themselves, but more resistance creates an impulse for more of the very thing you don't want. 

It's important to know this because you can be proactive and not have your environments loaded with sugar. Don't buy sugar and let people who are around you know not to bring it around.

3. Sleep 

Kids love to skip out on the sleep that they need. No matter how tired you tell them they are, they will fight you to the death on this for no reason. Adults do the same and try and fight off sleep and do with much less of it than they need. If you want to see peak levels of willpower, consistently get some good sleep.

The more you fight your desires, the less willpower you have at the end of the day. This depletes your glucose and creates a craving for sweets. Many people want to resist sweets themselves, but more resistence creates an impulse for more of the very thing you don't want. 

Patience + Willpower = Success 

The magic formula for success is much simpler than many people realized. You need to be patient, and you need to have willpower. The more of both you have and the better your chance of success. Too many people think of success as just being about money, but it's more significant than that. Success is suitable in any area of your life.

If you want to have a successful marriage, you need to be patient and have self-control. If you're going to be a good parent or manage your finances well, the same is true.

Patience gives you the ability to sit and wait as the work and habits build. Nothing worthwhile is going to happen overnight, but most people quit before they can see the rewards. 

The willpower is what allows you to stick with your positive habits over the long run. You will have all the chances to sleep in and not do your workouts. Each time you skip on your habits, you lose an opportunity to get a bit better. 

Decide You Won't Move or Quit

You're going to mess up and make mistakes. You will have days that you wish things were more comfortable than they are. One of the best things you can do to develop patience is to decide that you will not quit. If you're trying to break through a wall, you will keep hammering until it crumbles. 

With this project, Habit Stacker, I have a countdown on my phone for ten years. I told myself that I would give this a decade of my life, no matter how hard it was. You need that sort of resolve to succeed. 

Do Less Each Day But More In The Long Run 

The other thing you need to change is the way you view progress. Real progress happens over the years and not days, weeks, or months. Some too many people need to see success in a short period for them to keep fighting. 

Don't overestimate what you can do in a day. Twenty-four hours go fast, and it will often leave you disappointed. If you give yourself ten years, though, of consistently working day in and day out, you can't even imagine how far you can go. Expect more from your life in the long run. 

Patience gives you the ability to sit and wait as the work and habits build. Nothing worthwhile is going to happen overnight, but most people quit before they can see the rewards. 

Willpower is a Muscle and it Gets Tired

One of the more exciting things about willpower is the fact that it runs out. It does not last forever. This is why you often feel focused and sharp in the morning, but you start making poor choices by night time.

At night, you see people do drugs, drink, have sex, party, lie, eat poorly, and do other things that they may regret in the morning. It's easier for people to avoid these behaviors because your will power is much higher.

Stress Kills Habits

When you experience high-stress levels, you tend to want to throw your habits out the window. I have been tracking my habits for years, and I have seen how true this is.

You can have the best routine down, but your impulse is to throw it all out when you get stressed out. You want to do everything you can to avoid being stressed out.

Limit Choices 

One of the best things you can do to keep your willpower high is to avoid making decisions that don't matter. Too many people waste willpower in the morning figuring out what to do, what to wear, and what they should cook. Each decision you make notches your will power down a bit.

What you should do is automate what you can. Have fewer clothes to wear if fashion doesn't matter to you. Eat similar things for breakfast, so you don't need to think about it. Leave the hard mental choices for things in the day that need your time and thought.

Naps Help

You will be glad to know that the best way to increase your willpower is to nap and rest throughout the day. Don't be scared to take a chill pill so you can make better choices.

One of the more exciting things about willpower is the fact that it runs out. It does not last forever. This is why you often feel focused and sharp in the morning, but by night time, you start making poor choices.

Conclusion 

Willpower is a beast that you need to pay attention to. The more you can grow your self-control, the easier it's going to build confidence. You will know that you can continue to be the person you want to be in the face of temptation.

You need to be patient and give yourself a fighting chance over the next ten years of your life. Focus on building good habits in your life, so the choices you want to make become automated.


Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

__CONFIG_colors_palette__{"active_palette":0,"config":{"colors":{"62516":{"name":"Main Accent","parent":-1}},"gradients":[]},"palettes":[{"name":"Default Palette","value":{"colors":{"62516":{"val":"rgb(9, 10, 9)"}},"gradients":[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__
Learn More

Related Posts