Increasing willpower and training: tips and tricks

The will is needed to:

  • Stick to setting goals and then achieve them,
  • To resist temptations, stimuli and distractions,
  • Overcoming unfavourable habits and convenience.

All of this could ultimately help strong people, according to one study (by June Tangney Roy Baumeister and Angie Boone).

  • have better relationships,
  • perform better,
  • show more self-confidence,
  • more resistant to stress and
  • are less prone to mental disorders.

The will can be trained!

Although some personality traits are innate, according to various research studies on willpower, willpower can be significantly increased with regular training.

It is comparable to muscle strength that increases with training. If the muscle is no longer used, it relaxes and muscle strength decreases.

Two effective exercises for increased willpower

In order to leave your comfort zone (voluntarily), willpower is ALWAYS necessary.

And this is exactly what the training is based on. It is therefore a matter of regularly taking up challenges and leaving your own comfort zone.

Exercise 1: Facing willpower challenges on a daily basis

Right now, write down a small challenging activity that requires willpower.

If you can’t think of anything quickly, here are some questions to think about:

  • What comfort should I reluctantly do without, even if it would be good for me?
  • What activities/tasks do I always have to pull myself together?
  • Which unfavourable habits should I break?
  • What am I easily distracted by?

Now that you have noted a few challenges, you can begin to implement them. Start training!

Three examples of training

To show the different training options, here are three specific examples:

Example 1:

If you allow yourself to be showered by the television until at least 11 p.m., you turn off the television at 10:45 p.m. for the will training. It is best to set a reminder alarm (e.g. on a smartphone).

Personal exercise instruction: “From today on, I will turn off the TV at 10:45 p.m. at the latest”.

Example 2:

You tend to pick up your smartphone at short intervals and get lost: Agree on a fixed period of time during which you will not pick up the cell phone (unless you are called) – e.g. B. every day from 7 to 8 p.m.

Personal exercise instruction: “Between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m., I’m not taking my smartphone.”

Example 3:

Taking a cold shower every day can also be a challenge to develop willpower. Extreme athlete Gregor Iwanoff also explains this in this interview:

Exercise 2: Doing the familiar in an unfamiliar way

Familiarity is usually associated with comfort, and being comfortable also means that we are acting within our comfort zone and therefore have little need to show willpower.

If you change the course of activity in such a way that you are doing it in an unfamiliar way, it can also help you gradually develop your willpower.

For example:

If you are right-handed, use your left hand for your usual activity in the future: e.g. B. brushing your teeth, eating or writing a short note.

Increases and regularity lead to more willpower

Exercise regularly for at least one month. Increase the challenge: Either vary the times or duration of exercise 1 above or regularly choose a new activity that requires a little more willpower.

As with strength training, you will only achieve an increase in strength by regularly increasing the challenge/difficulty. It’s no different with willpower.

Even if you don’t train in a day, that’s no reason to blame yourself. This is a regular practice. Increasing success will motivate you to take on greater challenges and your “willpower muscle” will grow and grow.

So that the will defeat the bastard – 6 advices

You want to start exercising, but the voice inside the newspapers and they want to keep them? It’s perfectly normal!

Because the bastard and the will are not friends. There are often disputes between them. With people with a strong will, the weaker self usually draws the short straw.

With the following tips, you will be able to outwit the bastard more and more often until he gives in obediently and gives way to the will.

Try the following tips and tricks and choose the ones that make exercise easier.

Establish conditions if-then

The psychologist Prof. Peter Gollwitzer recommends the following sentences if-then. Think of situations or activities that require a certain amount of willpower (see exercise 1). Then formulate appropriate if-then sentences that you can use.


IF I always pick up the cell phone during the off hour of my cell phone, THEN I extend the off hour by 5 minutes the next day.


Imagine in your mind what you will have accomplished in the future with more willpower.

Provoke yourself

Next time you lack the will for a project, give at least 3 reasons why you are not doing it NOW, why you are not doing it, etc.

This awareness process alone can be an incentive to prove it to you, to tackle the problem and gather the necessary will.

Decompose to the smallest partial step

Did you postpone an (unpleasant) project a long time ago? Do you lack the will to finally tackle it? Then it may be useful to break down this activity into its smallest partial step so that it loses its deterrent effect.

A smaller portion of willpower is needed to implement a small sub-step. And then the first step is taken, which is often so difficult.

It’s like pushing a car. The greatest effort (analogous to willpower) is needed to get the car out of a moving stop. When it is moving, only a small amount of force is needed.


You can also train and greatly increase your willpower through regular meditation.

Be good to yourself

If you ever become “weak” in your training phase, give in to stimulating impulses and temptations, it’s perfectly normal. So don’t blame yourself, but be gracious and forgiving to yourself!

Interesting facts about willpower

In what follows, some useful information on the subject:

Definition: what is will anyway?

In psychology, the term volition is used in relation to will. It means the ability to implement or control oneself.

In other words, the ability to “control” oneself in order to act in a targeted manner – even in the case of internal or external resistance.

The difference between motivation and willpower

Motivation is the will to act, i.e. the desire or (inner) will to do something or to reach a goal. But will alone is not enough. You have to do it too. And this is where will, i.e. the ability to implement, comes into play.

When you’re motivated, you feel the desire and the joy to tackle something, to do something. Then it will be easier for you. If, on the other hand, your weaker self responds, you have to stand up to do what you have no/almost no desire to do – so you need all the more will to implement the project.

The weaker the motivation, the more willpower is needed to achieve the desired result or goal.

Will power is not constant!

Will also depends on physical and mental condition and is therefore subject to fluctuations – even during the course of the day.

After all, when are you most likely to take action, when are you most ready to act?

When you’re rested and healthy or when you are tired, irritable, overwhelmed? Right.
You can think of willpower as fuel in a tank. If your willpower tank is (almost) empty, it becomes all the more difficult to get to work and/or resist delicious distractions.

Finally, a list of characteristics that suggest the strength of will.

Take a look at your circle of friends and your work environment. To whom do the following characteristics apply? Maybe to you too?

Willpower can be seen in people who

  • are concentrated, don’t get bogged down so quickly,
  • constantly follow their path,
  • constantly working on their objectives, on their projects,
  • Let words be followed by deeds,
  • setbacks not easily frightened or defeated,
  • Often advances despite having less talent than people with more talent in the relevant field,
  • are perceived by others as “doers”,
  • achieve much of what they decided to do.

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