What is willpower?
Willpower is the strength to act in an
intentional way, despite adverse circumstances or moods.
Our strength of
will is shown through our actions, especially when we have
to overcome obstacles in order to carry out a resolution
or reach a goal.
Forging our willpower will make us free
to act according to our reason enlightened by faith and
guide, channel, and master our passions, feelings, and instincts.
is it important to form willpower?
The person with willpower:
able to work in a patient and focused way to
achieve his goals.
• can handle suffering and adversity without caving
• grows with each new responsibility and rises to new
occasions, because his will is like a muscle that grows
stronger every time it is challenged.
• bounces back from
failure and difficulty because he is mentally tough.
• is more
able to resist vices and bad habits that prey on
laziness and weakness, such as gluttony, drug abuse, alcohol abuse,
• is more able to grow in other virtues, since
the formation of good habits requires constant effort and repetition.
concrete terms, forming our will can mean:
• Controlling our personal preferences
in small things. Examples:
o getting up when the alarm
clock rings without hitting the snooze button
o keeping our closet
in order and folding our clothes before stuffing them into
o getting responsibilities done first, without procrastinating
o giving our
best in sports or in a workout, not slacking off
or cutting corners
o learning to organize our time and our
work by priorities, not by preferences
o doing our homework carefully
and attentively, checking it over for mistakes and typos before
handing it in
o eating less junk food
• Taking on new
o Learning a new hobby, sport, subject, or
technique that may not be easy at first, but that
o Taking more advanced courses that will be more
demanding, but that will also be more enriching
o Befriending someone
out of your comfort zone
• Doing something for others. Examples:
the table or taking out the trash for Mom before
o If you drive: volunteering to get the groceries,
pick up your brother at soccer practice, or run some
o Visiting the elderly in a nursing home
something special for a friend on her birthday.
o Helping out
at the local parish as a CCD teacher or volunteer.
• A false sense of entitlement, as if life always
has to be effortless and easy.
• The habit of living
by whims and not by goals.
• The emphasis on comfort
and convenience in modern culture, which can make sacrifice and
effort seem foreign or exaggerated.
• Good old laziness…
Note: Be patient!
Willpower is not forged overnight with one or two grand,
heroic actions, just as strong biceps can’t be formed with
one weightlifting session. As with any muscle, it takes time,
patience, and constant repetition to form true strength and endurance.
That is why consistency in our ordinary, daily duties is
one of the best ways to grow in willpower.