5 things most people don’t know about willpower


Willpower is defined as the ability to overrule the unconscious bodily desires so as to make rational choices. You need willpower no matter what you wish to achieve in life. Willpower functions like a sort of mental fuel.  You use your willpower to make conscious decisions. And surprisingly, you need a good night’s sleep so that you can fully recharge your willpower. Here are five things most people don’t know about willpower.

Willpower is like a muscle

Many people think that willpower is something inborn – that you either get it at birth or not. But, that’s a false opinion. Willpower is actually like a muscle; you can do certain things to strengthen it over time. One of the best ways to boost your willpower is to set small and incremental goals that you can easily achieve. Just like a fitness routine to exercise your abs, you need to do it over and over again, taking small steps at a time. If you overdo it by taking on a bigger challenge, it’ll be almost impossible to get stronger and you’ll burn out.

Disorganization negatively affects willpower

Many of us aren’t aware that disorganization is a willpower killer. When you have an incomplete task, it occupies mental energy. When the number of unfinished tasks averages about 100 items on your to-do list, mental energy is fragmented across all those incomplete tasks.  At that point, it’s difficult to make advances on any of those responsibilities and your willpower withers away. You need to be orderly. Completing tasks on time leveraging a specific system is crucial to elevate your willpower.

Willpower is in limited supply

Yes, it’s true. Willpower is similar to a piggy bank – it’s very limited in supply. Budgeting your willpower is the key to success. It ensures that you have it when it counts.  Let’s look at one example: You might need to pack a lunch if you intend to hit the gym after work. You may lack the wherewithal to reject pizza for lunch and proceed to hit the gym on your way home.
One thing results in another – in a positive way. According to Marina Chaparro, developing self-control in a certain area of your life often yields other positive outcomes. For instance, once you start hitting the gym, you may end up eating better. In reality, willpower alters how we think.

Willpower is multifaceted

Willpower sounds monolithic, but it actually is a multifaceted thing. Willpower entails three separate parts, which must be used in tandem to develop a new habit.  There’s the “I WILL” power. The “I will” power controls your ability to accomplish something that’s good for you. For example, “I will” hit the gym early in the morning before going to the office. Then there’s the “I WON’T” power. This regulates your ability to resist the things that aren’t good for you. For instance, it can restrain you from watching a series or movie when you should be working on an assignment. Lastly, there’s the “I WANT” power. This controls your decision-making process based on your goals. For example, “I want” to work hard and stay healthy for the sake of my family.

Guilt doesn’t work

Willpower is directly linked to success. Someone with less self-control is more likely to make bad decisions. However, labeling yourself as “bad” after failing to accomplish a task is unlikely to yield positive behavioral change. It only leads to self-sabotage.
Chastising results in guilt and shame – emotions known to trigger stress. Avoid dealing with anxiety in an unhealthy way. When you introduce guilt, your body shifts into a state where it wants to have whatever you feel ashamed about.