Have you ever wondered that if only you have stronger willpower, you probably can do better in life?
Willpower is seen as the root of life. It builds our emotion and action in doing something, either positive or negative things. A study by Psychological Science of Self-Control revealed that willpower is the number one reason for lifestyle changes. About 1 in 4 respondents surveyed cited that lack of willpower was the most significant barrier to change. Therefore, individuals often blame their imperfect willpower for their imperfect choices. Interestingly, the study also mentioned that individuals should not be discouraged from a lack of willpower as willpower can be learnt.
So, what is willpower?
Willpower, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is an ability to control your own thoughts and a way in which you behave. Carrie Wilkens commented that willpower is a sense in which if you have control over it, you could find a solution in every difficult situation such as poor school score, poor work performance, overeating, and many more. Wilkens in her survey noted that willpower is tied with our intelligence and self-control, which means willpower can be used to control things like our emotional reactivity and task performance.
Supporting Wilkens statement, scientific proof written by James Clear revealed that willpower is the greatest ability to delay gratification and choose long-term rewards over short-term rewards. For instance, when you are on your way to finishing a project, sometimes you feel like procrastinating and lazy to read resources or even open your laptop for it. But, on the other hand, you still have the energy to browse on the internet, surfing on your Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or other social media. The browsing part shows a short-term reward such as you are happy browsing now but you still have the burden of not finishing the project. Whereas in fact, finishing your project first offers a long-term reward such as you will have more free time to do other things or accomplished other goals. Therefore, if you are determined and have strong willpower, you can swipe aside your temptation of browsing in your social media and complete the project early.
“Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction.” – James Clear
How do we accomplish better and stronger willpower?
Many scientists agreed that willpower is something that can be strengthened and learnt. The study of Psychological Science advised that in order to have better willpower, you need to establish a motivation for change and set a clear goal. Then, you should monitor your behaviour toward that goal. Last but not least, you need to exercise your brain to see delayed gratification as a positive.
When does willpower become impractical?
As mentioned in earlier studies, willpower has been linked to our brain, intelligence, and self-control in order to accomplish goals. Thusly, willpower will be impractical if:
(1) you don’t have a goal;
A goal is an important ingredient is a successful life. Whether it is a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goal, every aim is essential. Imagine your life without a goal, it will be tasteless and less challenging. Additionally, willpower will only work when you have a purpose in life. For example, you aim to find a better job by the end of this year. So, you will continuously tell yourself that you need to edit your resume, find openings, and apply to the position you want. This continuous self-input will propel your willpower to accomplish them.
(2) you have a messed-up system;
An accountability system will work well if you think your willpower as a bonus to accomplish them. Zak Slayback advised that a system that works off of your values is important. For example, you want to launch a new venture. Here, you should hold yourself accountable to goals and announce your goals publicly and make it clear you will execute them. In this regard, failure is not a choice as you already build a system of telling everyone that you want to accomplish them. Willpower, here, will guide you and tell you that you have to success because everyone needs to know this.
However, if your system is easily breakable and you embrace the temptation of delaying what you want to accomplish, then even the strongest willpower cannot save you from failure.
(3) you surround yourself with unproductive behaviour or people.
Our environment is affecting our attitude and the way we think. A neuroscientist, Moran Cerf, said that people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is that you will slowly become just like them.
That being said, if you surround yourself with people who are driven by laziness and procrastination, you will be like them and your willpower will be impractical in this case. Therefore, you should surround yourself with people who can help strengthen your willpower.