Is Making Resolutions an Act of Willpower?
By Remez Sasson
Often, making resolutions, such as New Year resolutions, is not an act of willpower and inner strength. Many of the resolutions people make are emotional resolutions, which have nothing to do with real willpower, and therefore, they don't last long.
Sometimes, in response to certain situations or events, we suddenly desire to follow a certain activity, goal or desire, and we enthusiastically and emotionally start doing something about it. The problem is that after a while, the emotions calm down, and we quit what we have started, since we lack enough inner power and strength to proceed.
We often make resolutions and promises to do something, behave in a particular way, study, look for a job, or find a partner. We might even start acting according to our resolutions, but this goes on only for a short while.
We start with much noise, but end in silence. We make resolutions enthusiastically and optimistically, but then we lose our enthusiasm and stop doing what we promised ourselves to do.
This kind of behavior weakens the power of the will, and makes us lose faith in our ability to use our willpower. Then we might even start believing that willpower is just a myth, an unreal thing. This is an erroneous idea, because no real willpower was involved here.
As said earlier, most of the resolutions that people make are triggered by emotions. They make them in response to some strong emotion or thought, and rarely because of common sense and reasonable, balanced thinking. The driving powers behind these resolutions are feelings and emotions, but feelings and emotions are not stable and not constant. One moment you might feel you can conquer the world, and a moment later you feel weak and incompetent, and everything seems so impossible to do.
A resolution made on the spur of the moment is usually useless.
The emotion that triggered the resolution might disappear a short while later, and there will be no desire left to carry on the resolution. Another important point to mention is that subconscious habits are stronger than any resolution, and they usually overcome any decision and desire for change.
All this might lead you to believe that you lack willpower, and to regard it as unreal, as an illusion. Actually, no willpower was involved in those resolutions, just temporary emotions and desires.
Real willpower is something utterly different. Its development requires some training. You cannot expect a physically weak person to lift heavy weight, but if he trains himself regularly, he will get stronger. It is the same with the strengthening of the power of the will.
Real willpower is not dependent on feelings, emotions, temporary enthusiasm or optimism.
Willpower is an ability that is developed over a period of time and can turn into a habit. After developing it, you will be able to use it whenever and wherever required.
Training of the will also develops self-discipline, as both abilities are interconnected. Such training also develops concentration, perseverance, assertiveness, self-confidence and the inner strength to make decisions with a balanced, calm mental attitude, and carry them out until their successful fulfillment. You become conscious of a wonderful inner power, which is an inseparable part of you.
Constant training of the power of the will results in a real power, which is always available. It is not the same as programming the mind to do one particular action, and then, when you need to do something else, you start again programming the mind for that other action. Real willpower is like a master key, once present, it can be applied to any sort of action or decision.
If you are willing and ready to devote the necessary time to develop and strengthen your willpower, you will be highly rewarded. How far you will go in developing this important ability depends on how much time, effort and earnestness you are willing to invest.
Discover how to gain willpower & self discipline, overcome procrastination and laziness, and have more control over your life.
Read the book Willpower & Self Discipline.