Effective Strategies for Developing Will Power


“Man can accept his fate, he can refuse.”

– Sri Aurobindo.

Will Power is the capacity to do what we instinctively want to achieve. Will-power is the force which enables us to overcome lethargy, temptation and weakness. What will-power can do is unimaginable; it can illumine our weaknesses and enable us to lead the life we want to live.

Some people seem to have tremendous will-power, others think that will power is not within them. However, there is no reason why anyone cannot achieve greater will power. These are some tips for developing Will-Power:

Don’t Procrastinate

Procrastination is a powerful way to weaken our will-power. When we have the enthusiasm and determination to achieve something, we should act on our initiative and inner motivation. If we hesitate, we allow doubt to creep in; if we wait for more favourable outer circumstances to achieve something we will never succeed. Will-power doesn’t depend on favourable outer circumstances. When we have an inspiration to aim for something we should follow through with our inspiration and cultivate our will power. The best time to act is now. (see: How to Avoid Procrastination)

Never Give Up.

Will-power doesn’t mean we have to achieve our targets at their first attempt. Will-power is closely linked to perseverance. Will-power is the willingness and enthusiasm to remain unaffected by setbacks and difficulties. If we can persevere, even amidst set backs, we will strengthen and grow our will power. Adversity is a powerful motivation for encouraging stronger will-power. An easy life will do little to grow our will power; but, a readiness to face life’s challenges is the beginning of creating real will-power.

“I do not give up, I never give up – for there is nothing in this entire world that is irrevocably unchangeable.”

– Sri Chinmoy

Be Clear on what you want to achieve.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”

– Henry Ford

If we are confused and uncertain about we what we actually want, it will be impossible to harness the power of our indomitable will-power. If we have a very clear focus and target it becomes easier to focus our energies on achieving our targets. If we are very clear what we want, it becomes instinctive to focus our energies and capacities on achieving it. For example, if you are trying to break a bad habit make sure you are 100% committed to changing; if part of you still subconsciously harkens after the bad habit, your focus will be split and you will not be able to generate the necessary will-power.

Break Out of Bad Habits.

Bad habits sap our will-power. If we feel a slave to bad habits, we weaken our inner confidence and self esteem; often one bad habit can lead to another. However, if we break a bad habit, we will feel tremendous confidence in our own will-power and this will inspire us to develop more good habits.

Develop Like a Muscle.

If we start to run, we don’t expect to run a marathon straight away. If we learn to play the piano, we don’t expect to be an expert overnight. However, if we practise regularly we will slowly, but gradually, build up our capacity to run and play the piano. It is the same with will-power, if we actively seek to cultivate will-power, we can start to make gradual improvements. Make a list of some areas where you would like to strengthen your will-power and make conscious efforts to develop greater determination in these areas.

Remember the benefits

If you want to achieve a difficult target it is always important to remember the benefits. We often need will-power to overcome bad habits, and in the beginning it can feel like we need to make sacrifices and we are giving up on certain pleasures. However, we need to maintain in our mind the positive impact our clear focus will bring. If we are clear on the benefits then we will work to improve our will-power. If we don’t value the benefit of strong will-power we will not improve it.

Will-Power comes from within

Will-power is not just about a mental attitude using the power of the mind. Real will-power comes from the source within; if we can still the mind, we can access our source of tremendous will. Often, when we think excessively, we weaken our will power because our thinking brings in doubts and hesitation. To access our inner will-power requires a more intuitive attitude and willingness to follow the voice of conscience.

“Will power is to the mind like a strong blind man who carries on his shoulders
a lame man who can see.”

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Don’t be a Fatalist.

The biggest block to cultivating will-power is a negative attitude. When we expect things to go wrong, we will always be weakening our will-power. To avoid a negative mindset, is probably the biggest help to cultivating will-power. By its nature, will-power is positive energy directed in a targeted way. You don’t necessarily have to be a cheery optimist, but, at the very least, you need to suspend disbelief and a fatalist attitude. Our thoughts have a powerful influence over our will so make sure they are positive ones. (see: Tips for avoiding a negative mindset)

Will-power is something that everyone can cultivate and make stronger. Of course, it is important we use our will-power for the right reasons. If we use will-power just for the accumulation of wealth and power our life will still remain unfulfilled. However, if we want to work on our self-improvement and self -development it is essential that we develop will-power. It is not enough to have vague resolutions to be a better person; we also need the inner will to make the changes a reality.

Photo: By: Tejvan

14 thoughts on “Effective Strategies for Developing Will Power”

  1. Great post, thank you kindly!
    The lack of will-power is truly one of the greatest obstacles in my spiritual growth. This blog has given me some good pointers and made my situation more clear to me. I thank you deeply for yet another great blog article!

  2. In regards to breaking habits, there are some things I’ve learned along the way that may be of help to others.

    First and foremost, it’s important that people realize that the habit has served a purpose to them. In most cases, a “bad” habit is protecting us from something.

    For example, suppose we have a bad habit of staying up late at night. We may not realize that we actually are staying up late at night because we have nightmares and our unconscious brain believes that the less we sleep, the less we will be subjected to our nightmares.

    Now that’s a simplistic example. It can get more complex, as well as more real than that. We may choose to overindulge in sweets as a way to make up for the lack we feel elsewhere in life… so in this regard, eating sweets protects us from the pain we would feel if we actually had to look at how we feel lacking in other ways.

    So in most (if not all) situations, a “bad” habit is a protective instinct. Once we understand and accept this, we’re then empowered to make changes.

    Here’s a quick tutorial for changing bad habits to good ones:

    1) Take the time to write down every single reason why the bad habit is a GOOD thing to have. This shows you how it is protecting you and has your best interests at heart.

    2) Then after that, we can take the time to write down every single reason why the bad habit is keeping us from what we WANT to have.

    3) Next, thank the parts of yourself that the bad habit was protecting (from step 1). Gratitude is a powerful force of change, especially when directed inward at ourselves. This lets your inner-self know that you truly do appreciate that it was protecting you.

    4) Then let that part of yourself know that you no longer need protection from those things, and instead would like for those parts of you to be of service in new ways.

    5) Identify those new ways. Connect with the parts of yourself that want to experience what you described in step 2.

    Let those parts of you know which ways they can be truly of service to live in new ways (i.e. either new better habits, or moving to a place of awareness with no habits at all).

    This entire process helps our inner-selves realize that we trust it has our best interests at heart, we are grateful for that, and now we’re ready to guide ourselves to a new place in which we no longer require protection from the things our bad habits were protecting ourselves from.

  3. Wow, Chris, blessings to you. Your insights into the foundation of habits and how to work with them are truly profound. Thank you for sharing this with us. It is clear to me now, some of the habits I’ve been wanting to lay off are really old protective barriers. I haven’t been able to see it this way before. I have been working on them, but the tools I’ve had at my disposal have not been tools of compassion, but tools of war. Through your insights, I can now approach this from a wholly new perspective, on a deeper level and in a fashion which I’m frankly more comfortable working with.

    Again, blessings to you!

  4. Magnus,

    I’m grateful to be of service. Please, keep me posted as to how it goes! Sometimes all it takes is one minor shift in perspective to inspire a world of change within us.

    Have a wonderful day!

  5. Developing will power is indeed one of the key components of success. One may read thousands of books on success, personal development, finances, etc., but if you don´t have the will power to execute, it will be just wasted time. There is a book that helped me tremendously on this. It´s from the late 1910´s and it´s kind of difficult to find, but I´m sure some googling will get to it. It´s called the “Creed of the Conquering Chief” by Albert Pelton. I think Amazon carries it.

    Many blessings,

    Art Gonzalez
    Check my Squidoo Lens at: Quantum Knights

  6. Wow I really enjoy the comments. And the scripture that comes to mind when I read Chris’s notes are “God has not given us the spirt of fear, but of Power and a strong Mind.”

    Many blessings!

  7. really its helpful to al those people who give up things in first
    in starting itself.
    it can bring change in thinking of people and their mind set to comprimise for all
    with out even trying for once

  8. really its helpful to al those people who give up things in first
    in starting itself.
    it can bring change in thinking of people and their mind set who comprimise for every thing
    with out even trying for once

  9. Wow, this is deep and helpful. However just not enough because my life is such a mess now that every aspects need to be changed and bad habits have became my only best and only friend for the past few years and know nothing else but that. Yes, great protector but mean time suicidal…

  10. Great post, especially the “develop like a muscle” tip. This is directly relevant to a post I just made discussing techniques from leading psychologists to develop will power. Interested readers will want to read more at: http://agaponzie.blogspot.com/2012/07/developing-will-power.html

    Some of these tips however seem to require willpower to implement them, such as “never give up”, and “don’t procrastinate”. It seems that these items are achieved once will power is developed.

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