Willpower Versus Making Resolutions
By Remez Sasson
Real willpower has nothing to do with making emotional resolutions. These are two completely different things. There is a common misunderstanding of what willpower means, and it is often confused with doings things emotionally.
Sometimes, in response to certain situations or events, we suddenly desire to follow a certain activity, goal or desire, and we enthusiastically and emotionally start doing something about it. The problem is that after a while the emotions calm down, and we quit what we have started, since we lack enough inner power and strength to proceed.
We often make resolutions and promises to do something, behave in a particular way, study, look for a job or a partner and so on, and we might even start acting according to our resolutions, but this goes on only for a short while. We start with much noise, but end in silence. We make resolutions enthusiastically and optimistically, but then we lose our enthusiasm and stop doing what we promised ourselves to do.
This kind of behavior weakens the power of the will, and makes us lose faith in our ability to use our willpower. Then we might even start believing that willpower is just a myth, an unreal thing. This is an erroneous idea, because no real willpower was involved here.
As said earlier, most of the resolutions that people make are triggered by emotions. They make them in response to some strong emotion or thought, and rarely because of common sense and reasonable, balanced thinking. The driving powers behind these resolutions are feelings and emotions, but feelings and emotions are not stable and not constant. One moment you might feel you can conquer the world, and a moment later you may feel weak and incompetent, and everything seems so impossible to do.
A resolution made on the spur of the moment is usually useless. The emotion that triggered it might disappear a short while later, and there will be no desire left to carry on the resolution. Another important point to mention is that subconscious habits are stronger than any resolution, and they usually overcome any decision and desire for change.
All this leads people to believe that they lack willpower, and to regard it as unreal, as an illusion, but this is not so. No willpower has been involved in such resolutions, just temporary emotions and desires. Real willpower is something utterly different. It is not gained in a day, but requires training over a period of time. You cannot expect a physically weak person to lift heavy weight, but if he trains himself regularly, he will get stronger. It is the same with the strengthening of the power of the will.
Real willpower is not dependent on feelings, emotions, temporary enthusiasm or optimism. It is an ability that is developed over a period of time and can turn into a habit. After developing it, you will be able to use it whenever and wherever required.
Training of the will also develops self-discipline, as both abilities are interconnected. Such training also develops concentration, perseverance, assertiveness, self-confidence and the inner strength to make decisions with a balanced, calm mental attitude, and carry them out until their successful fulfillment. You become conscious of a wonderful inner power, which is an inseparable part of you.
Constant training of the power of the will results in a real power, which is always available. It is not the same as programming the mind to do one particular action, and then, when you need to do something else, you start again programming the mind for that other action. Real willpower is like a master key, once present, it can be applied to any sort of action or decision.
Anyone who is willing and ready to devote some time to develop and strengthen his willpower will be highly rewarded. Real training proceeds gradually, and when the inner power gets stronger, you will be able to undertake some more difficult exercises. How far you will go in developing this important ability depends on how much time, effort and earnestness you are willing to invest.