Working on your Willpower

<strong>Working on your Willpower</strong>

Willpower! Do we just have it or do we need to work on it and why is it that some people seem to have a lot more than others? Did you start the year with the best of intentions and everything seems to have fallen over before even the end of January! One of my wonderful Clients sent me an extremely interesting article this week about willpower – what an appropriate time of year to discuss this further!

Being a Personal Trainer I think the single most challenging hurdle I have to help my Clients overcome is having the willpower to achieve their goals. This could be anything from keeping their calorie intake under control, to keeping their steps up every day, to promising me they are doing their stretch exercises each morning. But why do we self-sabotage in this way and is there anything we can do about it? 

According to the article from, there is no ‘cure all’ for being able to combat weak willpower but it does suggest that if you try to pick goals that you have more determination to achieve then you are more likely to develop stronger willpower towards this goal. 

“What matters a lot is you pursue goals you actually like.. If you are being rewarded for your efforts, this can also strengthen your general attitudes and beliefs about your own willpower…If you think of yourself as someone with little self-control, your actions will reflect that, and vice versa.” 

(Veronika Job, Motivational Psychology Professor, University of Vienna)

To give you one of my own willpower examples; I am going on holiday in 58 days time. I am not at my target weight or measurements and I am struggling to keep my diet as clean as it should be if I want to look my best on the beach. I am determined to do well but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t – I will still go on holiday and I will still have a lovely time. My willpower is attached to my determination to succeed and because the stakes are low and it doesn’t actually matter as much to me and certainly not to anyone else, I am much more likely not to keep my willpower strong for this goal. 

However, with another of my goals I have been much more successful because my determination is much higher; I am just finishing up a white paper that is going out in the public domain within the next couple of weeks. I gave myself a very short deadline for this and am working hard to achieve this goal. Reason being it is much more important to me personally and for my job, and I will also be letting others down if I don’t achieve this. The perceived ‘reward’ for me achieving this goal is higher. 

So as the article suggests and from looking at my own experiences with this; Pick goals that are important to you and will provide you with a rewarding outcome and you will be much more likely to have stronger willpower to succeed. Plus have someone else to be accountable to as well and you will feel a stronger sense of responsibility to achieve.

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