Optomising Willpower to Achieve Our Goals

20 July 2022

It’s not uncommon at each New Year to reflect on our plans for the future, set new goals in line with these plans and assess our priorities for the year ahead. Often we try to look at the balance we have in our lives and what changes we want to make. However, following through on working towards these goals and maintaining the priorities we identify requires willpower .

Research from the American Psychological Association, found that lack of willpower is the biggest barrier to change. Many people, mistakenly, believe that if they had more time, they would have more willpower. Unfortunately, willpower doesn’t automatically increase when we have more time. So what can we do to address this?

The good news is that the research also tells us that willpower is not something that we either have or don’t have. Instead it is like a muscle and the more you exercise that muscle, the stronger it becomes. So you need to design and develop a ‘training programme’ for your willpower in order to strengthen it and bring about the change in your life that you want. In fact, your thoughts and beliefs about your strength of will can impact on how much willpower you can actually exert, and this in turn can impact on your wellbeing. Ability to successfully pursue your goals over an extended period of time can also be increased by planning for how you will reach your goal, such that willpower is not wasted.