The Truth About Willpower
By: Coach J
Will-power, the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful…something the disciplined have and the lazy don’t… a resource that some have copious amounts of while others were given the short end of the stick… FALSE!
None of these are true, well at least none are completely true. Will-power is actually an exhaustible resource, meaning we are all limited on how much we have. Now, I don’t have proof that we are all given the same exact amount, but I do know that none of us have unlimited amounts of it. Think of will-power like the battery on your cell phone – as you go through your day and use up your will-power by making decisions, resisting temptation, and sticking to your commitments, your battery loses juice. By the end of the day, your will-power could be all used up…which is okay if you made it to bed sticking to everything you set out to do (or not do). But what happens when your battery is shot and its only 3 o’clock in the afternoon?
A lot of us believe that the people who seem more disciplined or more successful, just have more will-power (I used to think this way). But the truth is, they don’t have more will-power, they’re just more strategic with how they use it.
Here are the three key things the ultra-successful are doing that you may not be:
- They develop habits – When you develop a habit you no longer have to make decisions, you just do the thing you need to do. Making a new habit does use up your will-power, but only during the developing stages. Once it truly becomes a habit, it no longer takes away from your precious ‘battery’.
- They prioritize the most important tasks first – Get the big stuff out of the way when your will power is high. This is why going the gym early in the morning is crucial for a lot of people. They know if they wait until after a long work day they might not have it in them to get to the gym. This is also why its important to schedule your most challenging and/or important work during the first part of your day – your battery is full, utilize that!
- They change their situations and surroundings to align with the decisions they want to make so there is less temptation – Have you ever hear someone tell you to prep your food ahead of time (wink wink)? I can tell you first hand that if my food was not cooked and packaged on a daily basis I would not eat the way I do – I would try to eat healthy, but the temptations and convenient options would always win.
So the next time you find your self wondering why you can’t seem to stick to your plan, ask yourself how you can implement one the above three strategies to better use your will-power!