Two Ways To Build Up Willpower

The Power of Choice

If  you had stronger willpower, what would you be able to accomplish?  What would you stop doing?  What projects would you start?

The definition of will is: the power to chose one’s own actions.  If we truly grabbed onto that concept, it could literally change our lives.  I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: we choose.  Willpower is the force that engages all of our other emotions.  Sure I can have hope, sure I can say I love you.  But if I’m doing something to activate that hope, if I’m not showing you I love you, then the sentiment is lost.

Willpower is the action over our choices.  But how can we increase our willpower over our choices?  I offer two ways to do so.

1.  For the negative things, choose to start doing something else

There are things in our lives we try desperately to overcome, yet seem out of reach.  Weight loss, bad habits, procrastination, etc. that we feel we just don’t have it in us to beat.  But we do.  Focusing on trying to stop a negative or bad behavior doesn’t seem to work, at least not for me.  Yet, choosing to start doing something else has huge benefits.

Example:  stop thinking about bacon.  Seriously, stop it.  Bacon is ruining your life and you have to stop eating it.  Think about all you could do if you gave up bacon.  Is that what you want for yourself, to be a bacon eater?  You can do it!  You can stop eating bacon!

How do you feel?  All you can probably think about is bacon.  I know I want some bacon right now, and I’m the one trying to make a point.  Focusing on the negative only gets us thinking about that negative thing constantly.  Choosing to start something else shifts the focus onto something else, which builds up our willpower more over the thing we are wanting to stop.

We can choose to eat something else besides bacon (not disrespecting bacon, just using it for example purposes).  We can choose to start getting ready sooner so we can stop being late.  We can start seeing the value and beauty in people and start understanding them so we can stop criticizing.

Another example:  when I was on dialysis, I was on a very strict diet: low sodium, low phosphorus, low taste, low magnesium, and low protein.  Which cut out about 95% of what I usually would eat.

So every time I would drink milk, I would get sick to my stomach.  I would keep drinking milk, and keep getting sick.  So, as much as it hurt, I chose to start drinking apple juice and I stopped getting nauseous.  But every time I tried to stop drinking milk, I just ended up drinking more milk, esp. with Peanut Butter Captain Crunch.

2.  For the positive things, choose to stop doing something else

We want to do so many positive things, but they seem unattainable.  We want to find a wife/husband, we want to do what we love and not work at just a job,we want to be healthy (that is my own code for I want six pack abs and pack on muscle and rip a t-shirt like the true Hulkamaniac I am).  We have the power to do it.  The power of our will is unbelievably strong!

We can refocus and choose to stop doing something to get what we want.  We can stop throwing extravagant pity parties for ourselves and be content with being ourselves/being by ourselves and by that, attract the person we truly want to be with.  We can stop complaining about how much our jobs suck or how bad the economy is  and start researching and seeing what we need to do to start doing fulfilling, passion filled work.  I can stop eating junk food and my beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and stop being sedentary, which will boost my willpower to start exercising.

Once we believe our will is strong, once we grasp that the choice is ours, what could stop us?  Our will is a weapon we can build up with each decision to slay our biggest challenges and help us achieve our goals.

Thursday’s Post: a personal story about willpower, grace, and porn.  Stay tuned…

[ This is Part VI of a Seven Part Limited Series called Weaponized Emotions.  This post is loosely based off the concept of The Green Lantern Corps.] [photo by tastygoldfish]

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