Motivation is a peculiar thing. It comes in waves and can quickly subside without much warning. All it takes is one factor or shift in mentality and it’s gone. On the flip side, it only takes one domino to fall to set motivation back into motion.

How to Capture Willpower and Stay Motivated

“We rely on willpower to exercise, diet, save money, quit smoking or drinking, overcome procrastination and ultimately accomplish our goals. It impacts every area of our lives,” psychologist Catarina Lino writes. “Most people have an intuitive sense of what it is, but many lack the scientific knowledge that can help [them] understand what undermines it and how we can work with instead of against it.”

According to the American Psychological Association, willpower is a broad term used to describe a variety of human capacities. It’s the capacity to delay gratification to satisfy long-term goals. It’s also the ability to override unwanted feelings, thoughts, and impulses. There’s only a limited amount of willpower available to each person and it requires a conscious effort of self-regulation to continue pushing through.

It should be no surprise, then, that people often rank a lack of willpower as the greatest obstacle to change in their lives. And when you consider that willpower drives how we think, feel, and act, this would certainly be true.

While some people seem to possess more willpower than others, this would be untrue. Instead, it can be said that some people know how to harness their willpower better than others. You can do the same – here’s how:

1. Set Clear Goals

The human mind needs a clear objective to muster up enough willpower to take action. Mindlessly meandering through life will cause you to run in circles. Whether it’s school, work, health, money, or relationships, you need clear goals.

Think of an objective as a target. It helps you aim. You won’t always hit the mark, but at least you have something to shoot for. And more often than not, you’ll end up with better results than if you were blindly chasing after a vague result.

2. Break Goals into Checkpoints

A goal can provide you with a general direction, but sometimes you need more than this. This is especially true when you’re reaching for long-term goals – like becoming a millionaire in 20 years or moving from mailroom clerk to CEO. It’s easy to lose sight of these goals and have your willpower dwindle. That’s why you should always attempt to break large goals into a series of checkpoints.

If, for example, you want to become a millionaire in 20 years, you could break things down into annual or biannual checkpoints to keep you focused on what’s directly in front of you.

3. Find an Accountability Partner

As humans, we’re innately social beings. We extract joy from our relationships with people (some more than others) and thrive when we have the support of those around us. We’re also more likely to follow through with something if we know that someone else is going to hold us accountable.

Whether it’s a small goal – like working out three times per week – or a large one, like avoiding a drug addiction – it’s always helpful to have an accountability partner.

4. Use a Calendar

It’s easy for willpower to dissipate when you can’t see the end in sight. Try printing motivational calendars and placing them in visible spots where you’ll see them – like at your desk, on your bathroom mirror, and in the kitchen. Place key dates on these calendars so that you’re able to see your goals and strive toward them.

5. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions will, by definition, prevent you from reaching your goals. It’s time to be honest about what your biggest distractions are so that you can weed them out and refocus your energy and attention. (Hint: This could be a website, app, person, place, hobby, etc.)

Harnessing the Power of Motivation

Just as you train certain muscle groups through weight lifting and agility exercises, regularly exerting self-control will allow you to improve the capacity of your willpower over time. It isn’t easy, but it is possible. Implement these tips and techniques to achieve superior results.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Jessica and I am an independent journalist, freelance blogger, and technology junkie with a passion for music, arts, and the outdoors. One of my greatest passions and joy is assisting communities and business owners. My utmost desire is to help people and business owners to succeed and prosper in their personal and business affairs. I share, comment, write and edit popular news stories.