Willpower is a form of self-control. Someone with a strong sense of willpower has self-awareness and the ability to use decision-making skills. Too often we hear about people who lack willpower. There are quite a few individuals who have the extraordinary ability to control their impulses and exercise restraint. Willpower might not come naturally to you, but it’s something you can develop with practice. Here you will read articles about what willpower is, how it can help you in your daily life, and what to do if you can’t control yourself. There’s hope if you have little or no willpower. Read these articles and find out techniques that can help you manage your urges.
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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
Willpower is often associated with trying to do something that is difficult, or that takes a lot of self-control. You might think of willpower as making yourself “do” something, such as wash the dishes, exercise, or study for an exam. There are a lot of things that might come into your head when you think about willpower, but it all comes down to strength. Do you have the power to do (or, not to do) what you are trying to accomplish? Can you stick it out and use restraint, even when it’s hard? Willpower is about knowing yourself, your limitations, and your strengths. It’s about both what you can do, and what you can’t do.
The first part of learning willpower is knowing yourself. You need to be emotionally aware before you start learning willpower. Pushing yourself beyond your limits isn’t healthy, and you want to avoid that. Willpower goes both ways, it’s about trying hard to do something you want to do, and it’s about knowing when to hold back from hurting yourself. Sometimes willpower is about stopping yourself from engaging in a behavior that could harm you. To figure out what those behaviors are, you need to look inward and learn about yourself, which means self-knowledge or awareness. When you know yourself, you’ll be able to know whether or not you have the strength or willpower to do something. If you’re having trouble holding yourself back from engaging in harmful behavior, something that hurts you, that’d be considered a lack of willpower. Don’t feel bad because you’re having trouble doing or not doing something. It just means that it’s something that you need to work on. If you find that you lack the discipline to do something, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. Instead, it says that you have something to practice and develop. How do you gain willpower if you don’t have it? Like anything, you learn. The first step to increasing willpower is to explore what is stopping you from achieving your goal or doing what you need to do.
Finding Out The Block
Sometimes you keep doing something you don’t want to do, and you can’t seem to stop. That’s a difficult place to be in. The first step is to learn why you’re doing it. For example, maybe you’re in a dynamic with a person where there is unrequited love, and you don’t have the willpower to stop reaching out to this individual even though they don’t reciprocate your feelings. It’s time to explore why this is happening. What is it that you’re trying to get from this person? What is stopping you from leaving this situation? This exploration of finding out why it’s happening can you stop them. Learning why will help you realize where you need to gain strength. Here’s another example: say that you want to learn a new language, but when you start trying, you get frustrated and think “I can’t do it.” The fact that you feel as though you can’t do it is not about, say, learning Spanish, at all. That thought is likely from internalized self-doubt or a lack of self-compassion that you could use to work through the frustration and hurdles of learning something new.
An essential part of gaining self-confidence is learning to find strength in yourself. You have the power to do great things, but the first step is determining that you’re powerful. Some people are afraid to embrace their greatness. However, once you see the good in you, you will be able to do so much more. Willpower is linked to your sense of self, and one place to discuss the relationship that you have with your self, is therapy. The counselors at BetterHelp are here to help you figure out what is stopping you from achieving your goals. Why don’t you have the discipline to complete what you’d like to do in life? When you talk to an online therapist, they can help you discover what is stopping you from achieving what you’d like to accomplish and do whatever you put your mind to.