9 Ways To Boost Your Willpower And Determination

Having and boosting willpower and determination can make it easier to deal with the challenges that life throws at us. Willpower is one of the things that enable us to face tough times head-on and achieve our goals. Willpower is a mix of mental strength, courage, and determination. But not all of us can seem to summon our willpower when we need it most.

By 1Vibrant Life Editorial Team / April 4, 2021

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A Therapist’s Perspective on willpower and determination…

Understanding the psychology behind goal setting and goal achievement can really help us to remain determined when the going gets tough.  Neuroscience tells us that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a key role in willpower and determination, keeping us focused on goals. 

Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that is intrinsically linked to reward and motivation. You’ll know how sweet success feels when you’ve had to work at something.

Dopamine keeps us going and gives us a feeling of reward and pleasure when we’ve achieved our goals. Anything that boosts our resilience and determination ultimately helps us benefit from the pleasure associated with dopamine release. 

This article contains 9 ways to really tap into the power of dopamine by boosting our willpower and determination, leading to the feel-good reward of achievement. 

Claire Law 

Boosting Willpower and Determination

It’s often very challenging to handle the negative situations in our lives.

We may feel lost and weak, and it can seem like everything is falling apart around us. Fortunately, willpower and determination can be strengthened and learned.

First, we’ll explain what these abilities are and why they’re so important, and then we’ll talk about some strategies that will help you develop and improve these abilities.

What is Willpower?

“Willpower and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair.” – Napoleon Hill

Willpower is a form of motivation.

A person with strong willpower can make better decisions even in the midst of a difficult situation and move forward with confidence.

With poor willpower, on the other hand, people doubt themselves and have trouble sticking with a plan in the face of adversity.

Strong willpower is the first thing you need to achieve your goals, after, of course, taking the time to figure out what those goals are.

When you understand yourself and have a clear picture of what you want, you’ll be able to face challenges and overcome even the biggest difficulties in your life as you work to achieve them.

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What is Determination?

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”   – Og Mandino

Determination is about intention. Each one of us has to deal with disappointments and failures; that’s the part of life.

But if you’re a person with a lot of determination to achieve your goals, you’ll come back from the setbacks in your life and work even harder.

If you want to become a painter, you paint. You may be terrible at first, but with enough determination, you’ll keep going until you master this skill.

No one has it all—we all start from scratch. We have to deal with many obstacles in our path. Everything is possible with determination.

Determination is the power that keeps us going even if there are many obstacles ahead.

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The Importance Of Willpower And Determination

Changing Habits

Many of us have bad habits that we want to stop or new habits that we want to cultivate.

Willpower and determination play an important role in your life. It takes willpower to take those first few difficult steps in beginning a new habit or stopping yourself from engaging in harmful behavior.

Whether you want to start eating better, quit smoking, or train for a marathon, willpower, and determination are an important part of the equation.

Achieving Goals

Look around and you’ll notice that the successful people are the ones with a clear vision of their goals.

You can’t achieve success without goals, and you can’t create those goals and work toward them unless you have strong willpower and determination.

Maintaining Motivation

Motivation and willpower are closely related. Strong willpower allows you to keep working on something even knowing that it’s difficult or challenging.

When you’re determined to work hard to achieve your goals instead of worrying about the possible challenges, you’ll create the positive outlook you need to succeed.

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9 Proven Ways To Develop and Boost Willpower And Determination

1. Make Bold Decisions

The first step towards building up your determination and willpower is making decisions.

Exercising your willpower and determination will help you strengthen these abilities, so make bold decisions and commit to them.

If you’re worried, start small, but start.

Every time you commit to a decision and then follow through, you’ll be increasing your capacity to keep making strong choices and facing adversity.

2. Understand Your Emotions

Willpower is greatly affected by your emotions. If you’re not processing your emotions and instead either suppressing them or letting them control you, you’ll find you have less willpower when you need it.

If you’re feeling lost or heartbroken, for example, examine your feelings and thoughts and determine the cause behind your emotions and find out why is that so.

Often, we’re not aware of the real reasons that we’re feeling upset or hurt, which makes it nearly impossible to get out of that negative phase.

If you want to develop your willpower, start figuring out the reasons behind your emotions.

3. Face Your Fears

Fear is the enemy of determination. So if you want to strengthen your determination, you have to overcome your fear.

When fear kicks in, it forces you to give up, and you’ll miss out on opportunities and experiences. But facing your fear is easier said than done. How can you cultivate bravery, and thus improve your determination?

Again, start small. If you can use your willpower to overcome your fear and do something you’re anxious about, you’ll be building up your resistance.

Each time you don’t let fear keep you from doing something, it will get easier: practice makes perfect.

4. Manage Your Stress

One of the most effective ways to restore your willpower and develop determination is through stress management.

Stress affects all aspects of your life, including a decrease in your willpower.

This can lead to a negative cycle where your stress makes it harder to engage your willpower and accomplish what you want. Then you feel bad about that and cause more stress.

Conversely, when you manage and reduce your stress, you’ll also naturally build up your willpower.

Learn how to recognize your signs of stress and practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation and engaging in activities that you enjoy.

5. Practice Self-Affirmation

There are several studies stating that willpower can be enhanced by using self-affirmation phrases. These phrases help you to develop and practice self-control, which helps you stay determined and motivated.

You can make use of this self-control in your daily routine, your work, and your efforts to work toward your goals.

6. Stick to Your Plans

It’s very easy to make plans, but sticking to them is often very challenging. The main reason that many people find it hard to follow through with the plans they’ve made is that they are unrealistic.

So make sure you’re making plans that are practical and achievable. Your successes will improve your willpower and determination moving forward.

7. Get Enough Sleep

We all know that getting a full 8 hours of sleep is very important for our health and well-being, but many of us tend to ignore this fact.

The majority of adults sleep for less than 7 hours a night, getting up early for work after staying up late to fit in time for family and entertainment activities.

When you’re not well-rested, your energy levels decrease along with your capacity for engaging your willpower and determination.

So make sure to prioritize getting enough sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should sleep for 7 to 9 hours.

A night of restful sleep allows you to wake up fresh and relaxed, and you’ll experience increased productivity and willpower.

women showing her willpower waist loss with jeans

8. Eat Well and Exercise

Eating a healthy diet and exercising is not only beneficial for our bodies but keeps our minds healthy as well.

Maintaining an exercise routine takes willpower and determination, but it also helps you build them up as surely as it helps you improve your health. Exercise is also a powerful mood booster.

Even when it’s hard to get started, you’ll feel better when you’re done, and that will in turn make it easier the next time.

Eating well is a good way to practice using your willpower.

Making the healthy choice instead of the convenient choice can be hard, but it’s something we all face every day, and these small moments of willpower and determination will prepare you to tackle the big stuff head-on.

Finally, when you’re in good physical shape and getting proper nutrition, you’ll have the energy you need to make progress toward your goals.

9. Imagine Yourself As A Determined Person

Visualization is a powerful tool, and it’s a great way to increase your willpower and become a determined person.

When you keep telling yourself that you’re weak, that you have no willpower, you create that reality.

Conversely, if you imagine yourself as a positive, determined person who can achieve anything you want. This practice will greatly help you to improve your mindset and become determined.

Final Words

Nobody lives a perfect life. Reality is far different than our dreams, but that’s not a bad thing.

We all have to deal with failures, negativity, and shortcomings. The true beauty in life is to get back up and come back even stronger.

This is where willpower and determination come into play.

These are the powers that will help you overcome your fears, imperfections, and failures and lead a life full of positivity and enrichment.

We hope these tips help you in developing your willpower and determination and becoming successful in all aspects of your life.

Claire Law is a UK-based Counsellor and Psychotherapist from Preston, Northern England. Claire became a therapist after a career of almost two decades of High School teaching experience. She’s also worked extensively in the Social Care and Charity Sectors, and as a Mental Health Advisor in Higher Education. Claire combines her current Psychotherapy practice with freelance writing on Mental Health, Wellbeing and Psychology topics. She has a passion for Social Justice and environmental causes.

Claire holds a degree from Nottingham University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Leeds Trinity University College and a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy from the University of Central Lancashire. She’s completed a wide range of extensive training and certifications in Domestic Abuse, Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence, Suicide and Self-Harm, Expressive Arts Therapy, Gender Variance, Online and Telephone Counselling and Polyvagal Regulation developed by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University.