[pullquote]Willpower is like a muscle that needs to be constantly trained.[/pullquote]For years I’ve worked with clients who had thought that willpower would help them succeed in whatever they do. While it does work, it’s not sustainable. Willpower is sort of like a piece of candy that gives you that instant feel good sensation. It may last for a bit, but it dies down not long after. It’s the reason why we see so many people go to the gym soon after they make a New Year’s resolution only to see many of those same people drop out. They certainly had a level of willpower at the beginning. Willpower is like a muscle that needs to be constantly trained. Yet, it takes more to reach success.
Willpower alone will not lead you to success.
There are many factors that stops willpower in its track. I’m going to list 7 of them so that you’ll have a better understanding of why you may not be sustaining movement towards your dreams and goals.
1. One of the first ones is the lack of self-control.
Studies have shown that self-control directly correlates with success. In the 1960’s, Walter Mischel conducted a marshmallow test. In this test he gave a group of four-year-old children a marshmallow. He told them that if they waited 15 minutes and not eat it they would get another marshmallow. He asked these same participants when they were in their 40’s to find out how their life came out. It turned out that those that ate the marshmallow sooner had difficulties in their life, including failed relationships and drug abuse versus the ones that waited. A lack of energy can deplete a person’s self-control as well.
2. We tend to overestimate our ability to maintain willpower.
Do some future pacing to see if you came across the same compulsion, weakness or habit, would be able to restrain yourself?
3. Stress is a big-time energy drainer.
When our blood sugar drops, so does our ability to maintain willpower. Stress uses up ones blood glucose fast. Since our brain uses 25% of our blood glucose everyday, it’s no wonder stress hurts us and our willpower.
4. Negative thinking zaps willpower fast!
Even seemingly strong people are stopped from moving forward due to their self-defeating and negative thoughts. This leads to the same in behavior. Whatever you hold in your thoughts most of the time become your reality.
5. A lack of sleep hurts our best intentions.
Just as losing sleep hurts us physically, it really hurts us mentally. Your brain processes information a lot slower which leads to less thinking. Willpower drops rapidly.
6. A lack of belief.
If you don’t believe you can do something, then you won’t. Willpower won’t help you if you have belief deficit.
7. Worrying about supposed outcomes drive willpower into the ground.
If we think that something is doomed to fail, then we tend to lose our will to go on. I’ve seen this in the Marines and in sports. When I look into the eyes of fighter I can see if that person has it or has lost it. When I see a lack of will, then I know they are going to lose.
I hope these help you to identify those things that stop willpower. Nip them in the bud and your willpower increases. Oh, make sure to eat healthier and exercise regularly. Both help increase willpower too.