Where’s the Willpower?

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Do you ever feel like you have lost the will to carry on, or have no energy to get going? Why is it that some people seem to have boundless energy while others have none at all?

At Live In The Present we run courses and therapy for people that wish to change some aspect of their life. For some this is easier than for others who can find it the hardest thing in the world. When the going gets tough what is needed is will power, but what is it?

Well, ‘power’, as an engineer would define it, is ‘the ability to do work’. Engines and motors are all rated by their ability to complete the task required, they have a power rating. Power, when associated to us is a our ability to complete the task before us. For some the task will be a problem and for others a challenge.

When the task is seen as a challenge it is easier to face and overcome. Challenges can normally be related to plans and strategies that take us to the solution. When the task is seen as a problem it all becomes so much more difficult to deal with. At this point people commonly become stuck, demotivated, lose direction and, often give up. This is where the willpower comes in.

A quick Google of ‘Will’ results in…

  1. the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.”she has an iron will”
  2. synonyms: determination, firmness of purpose, fixity of purpose, will power, strength of character, resolution, resolve, resoluteness, purposefulness, single-mindedness, drive, commitment, dedication, doggedness, tenacity, tenaciousness, staying power, backbone, spine

At LITP we describe ‘Will’ as persistence and consistence towards a defined goal.

The goal might be physical, social, intellectual, emotional, financial, business etc,etc, absolutely anything, there are no limits. Here are some tips that might help you get your head around willpower,

1: Set a goal

To achieve anything you need to be clear about what it is that you want or where you are going. The lack of clarity at the outset will often lead to failure. The clearer the goal the easier the result. If your answer to the question “what do you want?” is “I want to be happy” this will not work for you, it is too vague. To be clear you have to know what it looks like, feels like, smells like, what colour it is, what shape it is.

Tip: Write your goal as a sentence or descriptive paragraph. If you can explain it clearly to another person then you will know what it is.

2: Resources

What do you need? Resources may include ideas and images, plans and organisation, money and other practical resources, market testing to make sure that it works, and the physical manifestation of the idea in the physical world. It is important to realise that other people are also resources.

Tip: Write it all down and share it with someone else. perhaps a mentor.

3: Plan

A plan is like creating a route that describes your journey to your destination. But plans are never set in stone. A good plane is flexible and can adapt to changes and unforeseen challenges.
Tip: To move a project from idea to goal requires a plan. By using mind maps , spider/Venn diagrams are a good way of setting out your ideas on a flat piece of paper that can then be moved into a plan.

4: Mentorship

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. On the basis that you can do things the easy way or the hard way learning from other people’s mistakes can make it much easier. If you talk to other people, use a mentor or a coach you can save your self so much time, avoid making mistakes and allow someone else to feed your will.

Tip: You will be amazed at the people who will be prepared to help you. All you have to do is ask. Many people will help you for free some, such as coaches, will charge a fee. You may have someone in mind already, you may need to talk to people and ask around.

5: Stay focussed

The ability to remain on task will normally mean the ability to live in the present. That requires that you let go of the past and stop worrying about the future. In short, this is the contents of the LITP book. On a daly basis we recommend that you use Mindfulness to enhance your ability to stay focussed, this means some ‘zoning’ time every day. The ‘Mindfulness Toolkit’ from the LITP site will be of use to you especially the ‘morning focus’ and the ‘evening review’.

Tip: Take time out every day to clear and focus your mind. We also recommend headspace.com and One moment meditation on you tube.

6: Stay Motivated

Everyone on every project will find times when their energy has gone or is very low so that it is really hard to get going or keep going. So, build this into your time line and your plan so that you have extra time to take it easy when you need to. Look after yourself, take time out and make sure you have some fun. ‘Down time’ is often a good time to review and audit where you are up to and to decide if things need to change or adapt.

Tip: Expect to need some ‘down time’, allow for the fact that you will need to take breaks and have fun.

7: Get Networked

Every week groups of people meet to network. These are often business groups but there are other interest groups like writers groups or self help groups. These are really useful to keep you motivated, focussed and on track.

Tip: Google your area and find groups of people that you can network with.

8: Get The WillPower Habit

Willpower, like every other behaviour that we have, is a habit. A habit is something that we do without thinking about it, we just do it. If your habit is to keep going, despite the challenges, then it is simply what you do. We know that to develop a habit takes an initial 30 days of consistent and persistent activity. This creates new brain cells that is the neural circuit that is the new habit. However, to get this habit into longterm memory so that it is there for ever takes a further 60 days. To create the will power habit takes 90 days of persistent, consistent behaviour.

We often think that willpower is a magical ability that only a few have. The reality is that we all have willpower once we tap into it. Anyone can contact their will power as an everyday habit by working persistently and consistently towards a given goal. perhaps that last thing to say is that keeping fit, eating well, limiting alcohol and caffeine and, getting enough sleep will aid you in your task.

Take care

Sean x

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