6 Easy Ways to Develop Your Willpower

By July 27, 2023 July 7th, 2024 No Comments

Many times, in many circumstances, when I have felt like a failure, I have said, “I lack the willpower to do that.” And yet, I have also had other people praise me for my willpower when I have succeeded at something that they have not been so successful with. They say things like, “Wow! You have so much more willpower than I do. I could never do that.”

Just what is this thing called ‘willpower?’

As defined by The American Psychology Association, “Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” It is our ability to delay gratification. It is our personal self-control that leads to resisting distractions, staying focused, and persevering. Some people call it stubbornness, while others call it tenacity. Whatever term is used to describe it, willpower helps us to achieve our goals. 

Willpower is a characteristic that can be strengthened and improved. If we consider willpower to be like a muscle, we can train it, exercise it, and strengthen it. With this same view of willpower, we can see how it can also get tired if overworked and weaker if not used enough. Here are a few ways to develop stronger willpower. 

6 Ways to Develop Your Willpower

1. Exercise your willpower daily. 

Start small and build up. For example, if you want to make a change in your schedule to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you do to journal or meditate each morning, start by waking up 5 or 10 minutes earlier each day until it becomes natural. Make sure you then add a small amount of the behavior –  journaling or meditation – to make the extra 10 minutes productive and beneficial. After this becomes a habit, add another 5-10 minutes. Repeat until you achieve the desired goal. These small steps are an example of using the practice of exercising your willpower to achieve a larger goal. 

2. Feed your brain the right food. 

Feeding your brain the right food will help you eliminate brain fog and will help you fight cravings. Your brain wants healthy fats and proteins. However, often, if you just eliminate grains and sugars cold turkey, you will feel like you have no willpower and your brain will demand sugars and grains. You might have to take it slowly. Remove sugary drinks. Then switch seltzer water and tea. Once you have succeeded with that step, you might then be able to give up wheat and corn. As you progress, you will find that your brain will be quicker and less foggy, and your cravings will subside. You will be building willpower as you make these changes.  

3. Develop your own reward system.

By breaking your larger goals into smaller tasks and rewarding yourself as you achieve them, you will develop the ability to keep focused. Rewards should be meaningful, simple, and intrinsic. For example, if you want to wake up 30 minutes early and have broken the goal into 10-minute segments, keep a calendar tally. When you have earned 100 points, reward yourself with a new download of calming music or enroll in a Laughter Yoga class. 

4. Don’t overdo it. 

When you get on a roll and feel like you are making great strides, it is easy to overdo self-control and willpower. When this happens, protect yourself from burnout by giving yourself a short rest or a break. Be mindful of the need to be compassionate with yourself and encourage yourself to be gentle. You might have to schedule the rest break. For example, if you are getting up 30 minutes earlier, make sure that you schedule a day to NOT get up early once or twice a month. You will find that it can be a lovely part of your routine. 

5. Work on stress levels. 

When we are under high levels of stress, we are often running on reactions and we feel that we have no self-control. When we become reactionary, we are living in fight or flight mode. We are just surviving. It is important to breathe, think, and find ourselves in our rational brains. The stronger our willpower muscle is, the easier it is to get back into the calm space in our day where we can use our willpower to make wise and productive decisions.

6. Set realistic goals. 

When we set goals that are too lofty, we can often become discouraged and defeated. Goals should be high enough to be motivating but not so high that they are unattainable. Break the goal down into subgoals. As you achieve these smaller goals, the larger one will become a great reward when you finally achieve it. Keep a log or a record of your achievements. As you review your records, you will see your success. This will be the evidence you need to prove to yourself that you really do have a superpower!


When we start the journey towards developing willpower, using these six steps as our guide, and with perseverance and dedication, we can strengthen our willpower and achieve our aspirations. Developing willpower is not an overnight process. Let’s celebrate every step forward, and be kind to ourselves during moments of difficulty. 

As we continue on our journey, we’ll find that our willpower gradually strengthens, leading to greater self-control and the ability to achieve our goals.… To see clearly and realize that anything is possible with lipedema!

Check out our Facebook Group, Lipedema Simplified Support.

And join our newsletter here and be a part of our supportive and accepting community.

~ Gail Straker, BAEd
Community Manager, Director of Coaching
Lipedema Simplified