February 12, 2016

5 Tips to Maximize Willpower to Achieve Personal Goals

Maximizing willpower creates self-sustaining momentum.

Have you made any personal New Year resolutions for 2012?  Now, as the end of January approaches, are you sticking to them and on your way to achieving success?

A new year offers a new beginning – a fresh start – and a great time to set personal goals.  Achieving personal goals builds personal confidence and empowerment – two critical characteristics of any successful entrepreneur, like you — a freelance business owner.  A personal goal represents something you hope to accomplish during the year that doesn’t directly relate to your business.  Perhaps you’ve set a personal health goal, like losing 30 lbs, or a financial one, like getting out of debt. Regardless of the type of goal, you need to harness the power of will to actually see it through.

The Power of Will

Willpower represents the key that can guarantee you reach your goals – 100 % of the time, all the time. Forget about the notion of a magic pill, or panacea, to guarantee success.  The strength you need comes from within.  Without willpower, you will never achieve even the smallest goal.

So what steps can you take to maximize your willpower? 

An empty tank sets you up for failure.

First of all, understand that you, like everyone else, have a finite daily reserve of willpower.  The more decisions you make over the course of a day, the quicker you will deplete your willpower reserves.  So tackle your goals in the morning, when you have the highest level of willpower in your tank.  Don’t wait until afternoon or evening. As night approaches, you will have almost emptied your tank, making it difficult to stick to your goals.

5 Techniques For Maximizing Willpower

Use these five steps to maximize your willpower and achieve your goals.  Read this illustration of the five techniques, using a weight loss goal as an example:

1. Break it up.   Make sure you don’t set unrealistic goals that will sap your willpower early on and eventually lead to failure.  Set small goals that you can achieve.  For instance, if you want to lose 50 pounds during the next 12 months, you’ll probably start out strong, but quickly lose your motivation if progress seems slow. Focus on losing just 10 pounds.  Concentrate on that number until you’ve achieved it. Then move on to the next 10 lbs.  Those little victories fill up your motivation tank.

2. Focus.  Constant distractions whittle away at your ability to keep your eyes on the prize. Your diminished ability to consistently focus also diminishes your willpower and your chances of meeting your goal. When trying to lose weight, for example, you need to focus your physical energy and mental power on the things – like daily blocks of exercise and healthy food preparation — that directly influence your success.

3. Banish the Excuses.  Excuses are the enemy when it comes to achieving your goals.  Even if you have lots of willpower, once you start coming up with excuses as to why you don’t want to work out, or why you should reward yourself by eating a bucket of ice cream, then you’ve already failed — epically.  Banish the excuses by creating a routine.

4. Make It Routine.  If you know that you have higher levels of motivation for physical activity in the morning, make working out a part of your morning routine.  Make it automatic, like brushing your teeth.  So when you wake up, you know you must work out before you do anything else.

5. Get an Accountability Partner.  Whether you choose a close friend or family member, let someone you trust know about your goal so they can call you to task and hold you accountable.  It’s easy to let go of your goals when you’re the only one who knows about them.  When you let someone in on what you hope to achieve, your chances of achieving that goal increase exponentially.

Harness your willpower and achieve your goals for this year by using the above techniques.  Here’s to your success!

Sound off: Do you have an accountability partner? Have you already experienced a setback toward goal achievement? Victory? Please tell us about it.


Images: fitnessihub dot com, Shutterstock dot com
About Michael Taulier

Michael is a freelance writer and professional resume editor. He enjoys writing for clients on a wide variety of topics, but specializes in writing for the health care industry. With a classic education and training as an historian, he's got what it takes to add an intangible "certain something" to his work that gives a powerful layer of meaning and effectiveness to the final story. Read more about Michael at The Refined Writer .


  1. I can definitely relate to running out of gas at the end of the day. I recently saw a psychology report indicating that the more decisions we face per day, the more fatigue we experience – even when those decisions are seemingly trivial. As someone who’s had to lose over 50 pounds twice (post-pregnancy), the analogy fits. If you focus on the whole deal, you’ll quickly become sour. If you break it up, you get to enjoy a victory more than once, which is motivating in itself. Good advice!
    Laura recently posted..Back Pain Can’t Keep ME Down! Oh Wait, Yes it Can…My Profile

    • Kudos to you, Laura, for achieving your post-pregnancy weight loss goals! It’s so true, tackling smaller goals gives you the confidence to keep going because they’re much easier to achieve. They act as stepping stones towards the ultimate goal.

      Thanks for comment.

  2. I agree about the “finite daily reserve of willpower.” Willpower is about ENERGY. I find my energy gets depleted not only by all the usual things – lack of sleep, deadlines, etc. – but also by my state of mind. When I start thinking “life is so hard” (which it is), I no longer have the energy to focus my willpower. As usual, a positive attitude will get you further!
    Nellie Sabin recently posted..PMS: Watch OutMy Profile

    • Nellie, I agree with you that a positive attitude has a tremendous impact on achieving your goals. The power of a positive mind cannot be overestimated and is often the only barrier to accomplishing what you set out to do.

  3. I’m having to change some of my routines because of a new job, but I think that’s where the other four tips come into play.

    Welcome to FWD!
    Erin Feldman recently posted..Automobiles, Mechanics, and SpecializationMy Profile

    • Erin, good luck with your new job and thanks for the welcome! As long as you stay flexible and work on the five techniques, I think any goal is achievable. One of the other keys to achieving your goals is to assess your progress along the way and make any changes you deem necessary to ensure your success.

  4. I love your tip #1, that one seems to help me accomplish some of my goals.Tip #2 is where I run into trouble. I’d love more advice on that tip. Thanks for sharing these 5 tips. I bet used all together you could accomplish a lot!
    Lisa recently posted..Would You Know If A Twitter Friend Was In Danger?My Profile

    • Lisa, I think the key to Tip #2 is to eleminate all distractions. To take the weight loss goal as an example, if you’re used to multi-tasking while you work out (talking on the phone, texting, watching television, etc.) then your focus on the workout will be reduced. Just like when you’re driving, if you’re talking on your phone or texting at the same time, your brain is pulled in two different directions.

      In order to get the greatest benefit from any task, your focus on that task has to be complete. Turn off the television, put the cell phone in another room, do whatever you have to do to devote your whole being (mind and body) to that particular task at that particular moment.

      Doing so will help you achieve your goal sooner than you think. Good luck!

  5. Thanks for the great inspiration, Michael!

    I believe Focus is the most important of the above mentioned. We, as humans, aren’t made for multi-tasking, and trying to focus in many different directions at the same time is much like autosabotage.

    Divide a big task into as many small tasks as possible, and focus on each one at a time. Definitely a win strategy!
    Andrew recently posted..Staying Motivated 101 – Secrets to Never Lose Your MotivationMy Profile

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