Willpower, What's the Fuel?

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New Years, birthdays, even Mondays. For many people, any moment to start new is a moment to relish in. All of us are dreamers, a lot of us are able to map out plans, an even smaller amount go as far as to begin to put those plans in motion. The reality is, for whatever reason, after a time those plans tend to fall apart. Life happens, backtracking occurs. I have a suspicion those moments that give us an opportunity to start over symbolize a little hope; a little hope carried by the naïve assumption that our time on this earth is infinite. Perhaps assumption isn’t the right word there, after all, in the conscious mind we’re all well aware we aren’t invincible. However, it is true we often get caught up in day to day life. As minutes tick agonizingly by, time seems abundant. Whatever goals we had get pushed aside for things that provide a more instant gratification. After all, we can always tend to them later, right? It’s a bit repetitive, is it not? Firstly, the excitement floods in as ideas float into our heads, then (running off pure passion) comes action. The rush to get said ideas on paper occurs (usually) when passion is plentiful. For those that get this far, that’s why plans tend to be intricate; thought out to the smallest detail. Planning only gets you so far, though. As it comes time to actually do, that same energy is starting to dwindle. When the reality of work (coupled by other new ideas) hits, what was so exciting in the beginning begins to lose its luster. Consequently, comes the fall off.

Here is where the separation occurs, that of the great and the average. In a moment of pure honesty, it struck me. Until my love for starting over died, I would perpetually remain in the same place. Successful people stick to the plan. After all, you cannot build an empire by continuously erasing blueprints. It’s at this point that the majority get it wrong. Nobody lacks ideas for long, and most people don’t need help setting up a plan. The struggle lies in remaining en route when passion fizzles out. What keeps you going then?

Willpower.

That’s the easy answer. Defined as, “control exerted to do something” (New Oxford American Dictionary), the question still remains- where does such control comes from? A simple google search brings up a multitude of answers to this question. I don’t want to regurgitate information already out there, instead I’ve complied what I have found to be the most helpful.

  1. Identify your why. Through numerous podcasts I’ve listened to, I’ve found a common denominator between all successful people. They have a why, a specific reason for their need to succeed. Many people think they want money or recognition, but oftentimes going deeper to find why there’s a desire for money or recognition can prove to be a far more effective in reaching long term goals. Do you want to get rich to help your family? Is the money going to serve as security for your future? Why do you want fame or recognition? Answers to such questions can only begin to tap the surface into finding your why. Once you’ve found it, refer back to your why often. Doing so will provide you with purpose.

  2. Going off the first point, I find vision boards (centered around the why) extremely effective. Making mine my lock screen on my phone serves as constant motivation (even when I may not be in the mood to be motivated).  

  3. Get into the routine. Set aside a specific time and shift your mindset to think about your goals as a job. Take responsibility for your future.  From set time to set time “clock in” and “clock out.” Use the time in between to focus solely on your goals. No distractions allowed. While in the beginning you’ll have to actively discipline yourself, eventually this action will become habit.


Making it long enough to taste the fruits of your labor will prove to be worthwhile. Once you begin gaining a little bit of success, you’ll come to find there’s almost an addiction to it- setting goals then crushing them. Remember, on your path, minor steps are always better than no steps, and simply moving forward is always getting you ahead of a majority of people.