How to build
and strengthen

Building the driver of productivity & success

September 9, 2019

Building the driver of productivity & success

September 9, 2019

Life is a constant test of willpower; the will to succeed, to overcome, or to push through in the face of adversity. Commonly referred to as “self-discipline”, willpower is the basis of almost every success story.

Defined as the “control exerted to do something or restrain impulses”, willpower is about determination, commitment, drive, self-discipline and a strong sense of purpose. As the American Psychology Association put it: “Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.”
So much of achieving our health and fitness goals is dependent on our will to achieve them and maintain focus despite challenges that may emerge along the way.
Whether you want to quit smoking, run a sub 3-hour marathon or simply hit your daily steps there will be many bumps and road blocks along the way and willpower is the key to reducing these obstacles to minor speed-bumps.

People lacking willpower are often labelled as weak, lazy or lacking drive. There is a sense of indecision, lethargy and stagnation – an indifference. This combination of traits would make it difficult to get to work on time let alone complete a long training run in the pouring rain. So is this steely determination something you can build and develop or is it finite, a hand dealt at birth?

Willpower: Can you build it?

Good news! Studies show that willpower is not an innate trait that you are either born with or without.
Although there is some controversy, studies show that it should be considered a muscle. It’s thought that willpower, has to be exercised in order to build strength. And in the case of overuse or high work load, you will need to allow time for rest and recovery to re-build willpower. Studies show that just like a muscle, willpower can be fatigued after spending too much time on activities that require self-control. It’s now known that the strength of our willpower depends on the level of energy available in our brain at a given moment. Hence why people find they make poor choices in the afternoon, especially on stressful days.

Harness and strengthen your willpower by following these 3 tips:



Plug the leaks
Through structure comes freedom. Take time to streamline daily practices in a way that removes unnecessary decision making. When these daily actions become unconscious habits they are much less taxing. Something as simple as streamlining what you have for breakfast, your morning routine and the way you get to work will make the morning less draining and give you a better chance of having a focused afternoon.


Refill your stores
First and foremost, reduce your daily mental load. Make time for solitude and play, steering clear of technology and allowing time for mental rest and recovery.
Then make space to connect to what really drives you.
Often willpower can waiver when we are not truly connected to a specific outcome or goal. It is much more difficult to delay gratification or overcome road blocks when we are indifferent about the end point.
Get clear on why you want to achieve a certain outcome and make sure it is something of true importance to you (or at least something you can make relevant to you). When you’re working towards a greater purpose, those rainy days won’t stop you!


Build a support network
For those days when willpower is close to rock bottom, having a solid support network is your safety net. Even with strong drive and determination, we are all human. There will be flat days and days where stress, work, the weather or emotions are overwhelming. Having a coach and/or training squad there to lift you up and get you back on track makes all the difference.

It’s not always about the grind, be smart about it. As the saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way”. Build up your reserves and avoid draining your willpower unnecessarily. Train that “muscle” of yours and allow it plenty of rest between activities requiring high self-control.
Take time to streamline your positive habits in order to reduce metal fatigue of small, low-impact decisions. Save your willpower reserves for the decisions that really drive success.

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