Personal Development

Self discipline, willpower and motivation – Part 2

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Willpower is the initial force needed for you to take action.

Picture the scene: It's pissing down with rain outside, it's
cold, you're lying all cosy and comfortable watching TV in front of the
fire and the dog is crying to go for her daily walk. If you've
got a lot of willpower you would get up and take her for a walk, if you're
lacking in willpower you'll carry on watching TV and justify to yourself
the reasons for not taking her a walk.

willpowerWillpower and self-discipline go hand in hand. You need the willpower
to start whatever it is you want to do and you need the self discipline to
carry on where the willpower left off and this will go round in circles. For
a specific task you might only need to engage your willpower once and self
discipline will carry you through to your goal. On the other hand you
might have to engage your will power a hundred times before your goal has been
reached. For example every morning I have a cold shower it takes willpower
to turn that dial all the way down to 0 for a freezing cold temperature. I
used to do it gradually but now I just yank it right down to 0 when I have
finished washing. My willpower is acquiescing a bit now and it is getting
easier to do it but it still takes willpower and then the self discipline to
stay under. Why do I do it? Because I can, I am proving to myself I control
my mind and I believe there are benefits to be had from taking a cold shower.

There are certain steps needed to kick your willpower into action

  • An outcome (what is it you want to do?)
  • A plan (how are you going to do it?)
  • Action (get off your arse and do it!)
  • Let self discipline take over and repeat steps 1 -3 if necessary

Okay you've managed to get out of the sofa, walk the dog in the pouring
rain what now/ nothing, you have achieved your goal, but (always a but) do
you want to go on to bigger and better things, of course you do. Start
exercising your willpower regularly to keep it active and healthy. Here
are a few exercises to keep your willpower active and fit:

  • Read for half an hour every day
  • Stand on a chair for 5 minutes a day (If anybody asks what you are doing
    tell them it's a new form of meditation, you never know you might
    be able to give classes in it.)
  • Take the dog for a walk every single morning for 21 days
  • Stop drinking coffee for a week
  • Get up half an hour earlier than usual for 21 days
  • Take a cold shower every morning for 21 days
  • Don't eat sweets of any kind for a week

I am sure there are lots of things you could think of to exercise your willpower;
the above list is just a few examples.


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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.