Willpower and Self-Discipline Guidance and Exercises
By Remez Sasson
Developing willpower and self-discipline can make a great difference in your life, bringing to the fore, inner strength, which is vital for success and for personal growth.
Do you sometimes, feel that you lack the inner strength to take action, act assertively or be persistent?
Are there any habits you want to change, but you lack the necessary inner strength to do so?
The possession of willpower and self-discipline or their lack is a major factor in everyone's life, leading to success or to failure, to taking action or to being lazy. This applies to major goals, and also to simple, everyday tasks.
These abilities are vital ingredients of success, both material success and spiritual success.
- How many times you did you decide to go for a walk, knowing how wonderful you feel afterwards, but due to laziness or lack of inner strength, you stayed at home and watched TV instead?
- How many times have you tried to change your eating habits, stop smoking, or get up earlier in the morning, but you didn't possess enough inner strength and persistence?
- Do you start doing things, but quit after a short while?
You can change this behavior when you develop your inner strength!
Let's examine these skills.
- The ability to control or reject unnecessary or harmful impulses.
- The ability to arrive at a decision and follow it with perseverance, until its successful accomplishment.
- It is the inner strength that enables you to refuse to indulge in unnecessary and useless habits.
- It is inner power that enables you to overcome inner and external resistance and obstacles.
- It is the antidote to laziness and procrastination.
- It is the companion of willpower. It gives you with the stamina to persevere with whatever you do.
- It is the strength to withstand physical, emotional and mental hardships and difficulties.
- It stands for perseverance and tenacity.
- It is the ability to reject immediate satisfaction, pleasure or comfort, in order to gain something better, even if it requires effort and time to gain.
With these skills, you have the option to choose your behavior and reactions, instead of being ruled by them. They make you feel more powerful and in charge of yourself.
There is a misconception in the public mind regarding these skills. It is erroneously believed that their development and use require a lot of mental and physical strain and effort. This is not true. You can build up these skills through simple exercises, and even enjoy the process.
How to Strengthen Your Willpower and Self-Discipline
A simple and effective technique to strengthen these abilities, is to do things, which you would rather avoid doing, due to laziness, procrastination, lack of inner strength and assertiveness, shyness, or other reasons.
By carrying out such actions, in spite of your inner resistance and reluctance, you become stronger.
As muscles get stronger by resisting the weight of barbells, so these skills are strengthened by overcoming inner resistance.
Willpower and Self-Discipline Exercises
Exercise no. 1
You are sitting in a bus or train and an old man or woman, or a pregnant lady walks in. Stand up and give up your seat, even if you prefer to stay seated. Act so, not just because it is polite, but because you are doing something that you are reluctant to do. This is an exercise in overcoming the resistance of your body, mind and feelings.
Exercise no. 2
There are dishes in the sink that need washing, and you postpone washing them for later. Get up and wash them now. Do not let laziness control you. When you know that in this way, you are actually strengthening yourself, it becomes easier to take immediate action, despite laziness and the desire to procrastinate.
Exercise no. 3
You come home from work and sit in front of the T.V., because you feel too lazy and too tired to take a shower first. Do not succumb to the desire to sit in front of the T.V, and go take a shower immediately.
Exercise no. 4
Do you like your coffee with sugar? If you do, then for one whole week drink it without sugar. Do you drink three cups of coffee each day? If you do, then drink only two cups a day for one whole week. Such exercises prove to you that you can control or change your habits, and this inner strength.
Exercise no. 5
Do you, like many others, like to read some unimportant gossip in the newspaper or magazine? Then, for one whole week, abstain from doing so. This might not be easy, but it's good for your training. I am not telling you to do so indefinitely, but for only one week.
Exercise no. 6
If you have the choice of going up with the elevator or climbing the stairs, choose climbing the stairs. However, climb the stairs only if it's not a high storey, and you are in good physical condition.
You will find many more exercises in my book about this topic.
These are very simple exercises, which everyone can practice. Remember, the purpose of the exercises is to develop inner strength, not to make life difficult for you.
If you practice weight lifting, running or aerobics, you strengthen your muscles, and therefore, you can use your physical strength whenever you need it.
It is the same with willpower and self-discipline. When you strengthen them, you make them available for use, whenever you need them. They give you more control over your life, help you change and improve habits, and are essential for personal and spiritual growth and for achieving success.