When people talk about what motivates them, it often comes down to passion and willpower. The two are very similar, and equally important, though passion will only take you as far as the initial stages. Willpower however, will support you along the way and see your plans through to fruition. Which leads to the big question, how do we gain more willpower to drive us to success?
Willpower has a battery life
American psychologist, Roy Baumeister, did many studies on the topic back in the day and came to the conclusion that willpower is much like a battery. We all begin with a full storage - the amount dependent on the person - and it runs down throughout the day. This explains why after a long day of work you may not have any willpower left to go to the gym or to cook dinner.
So how can you increase the life of your willpower? Ultimately it comes down to your habits. In my 25 years of experience working amongst a diversity of leaders, I have found that the difference between the most and the least successful people is that those who were most successful, had better daily habits.
How do habits directly affect your willpower? Eventually, if you practice often enough, they become so ingrained in your mind that the actions require very little conscious energy. To put it simply: more positive habits = more willpower.
How do you create successful habits?
- Visualise the four integral areas of your life: physical, spiritual, relationship, and financial. Look at each category, and decide on what your values are within each. Your daily habits will find a place in these areas, but it’s essential that you understand what your values are for each of them in order to differentiate which habits are positive or negative contributors.
- Analyse your current habits. Within each area what are the habits you practice daily, or weekly? Once you can visualise them, ask yourself whether or not they sit in line with your values for the particular area. Now is a good time to decide which habits you’d like to get rid of.
- Invite new values and success habits. After visualising the four areas of your life, you should have a good idea of the values you’d like to implement for the long-term. After a deep clean of your habits, now is the time to bring in any new values that support your future goals and of course all new habits that will have a positive effect on your life.
So you’ve reshaped your habits… now what?
Now that you’ve created a plan for daily success habits that will take you where you want to go, all that’s left to do is begin practicing them... and often! The moment that these healthy habits become second nature to yourself is the moment you will be able to conserve more conscious energy, which will all go towards the longevity of your willpower.
I’ll admit some habits can be hard to develop, like waking at an inconceivable hour of the morning just to get in a run before work. But no matter how strenuous it may be, it is crucial to maintain consistency. In the instances that you find it too difficult to hold yourself accountable, ask a friend or family member to act as an accountability coach for you. I promise it will be worth all of the hard work when your actions finally become successful habits, and you get to reap the benefits of increased willpower.
Struggling to find the time to fit these new habits into your busy life? Take an extra moment and learn effective tips on how to be less busy and more productive.