The truth about willpower

We've all heard the phrase "Where there’s a will, there’s a way".

But it’s actually a little misleading.

That statement implies that all you need to tackle any challenge is to dig deep and use the raw power of your will.

This might be true, but what's more important is timing.

In the book 'The One Thing', Gary Keller likens willpower to the battery on your mobile phone. Each morning you start with a full charge, but as you go about your day, you're actually using up your willpower.

Examples of things that use willpower include tasks you don't enjoy doing, resisting temptation, suppressing emotions and even trying to avoid distractions.

When you've used up all your willpower, you revert to your 'default settings'. It's why when you try hard to resist cake all day, when your willpower finally runs out after a long day, you often end up indulging.

The good news is that just like your phone battery, your willpower is rechargeable. Downtime and rest help replenish it. And what you eat also has an effect (there's a reason high performers fuel themselves with plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates).

So how do you harness your willpower?

The first thing is to time it - do your most important task of the day early on, when your willpower tank is full.

Next, make sure you eat well throughout the day.

And finally, practice being aware of your willpower levels. Think of it like a battery or fuel gauge and monitor it so you can not only start to manage it more efficiently, but also better understand yourself.