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Main Willpower Triggers

Man Climbing Mountain

It is very human of us to collapse after a hard day and engage in binge watching Netflix, rather than doing something conducive for our careers or personal growth.

Willpower is crucial in helping people persevere despite lack of motivation and fatigue. It is a key to getting things done and avoiding procrastination.

So, what are the main triggers to boost the willpower? Here I will talk about those most important.


When a person fails to get enough sleep, they are much more sluggish and lazy as a result. They find it harder to participate actively in class discussions as their brains now need more time to process information. Moreover, it is in general much harder for them to start working as their brains have not got their most significant rest portion.

Lack of sleep also causes disruptions in eating behavior. The ghrelin levels (a substance that stimulates appetite in the stomach) increase to 15 %, and it drives people to eat more. So, insufficient sleep can be accountable for the weight gain.

Moreover, the motor cortex of the brain becomes overstimulated which results in fidgety and restless behavior that provokes unreasonable reactions and crude decisions.

When you do not get enough sleep, it is harder for your brain to form memories and react to external stimuli. Basically, you become slow, fatigued and mindless.


The effects of meditation have been studied by many researchers, and it has proven to be one of the best ways to strengthen willpower and increase attention span.

The more you meditate, the easier it becomes for you to resist different urges so copious in the modern life. Scientists have shown that meditation alters the brain structure and increases the grey matter mass. The ties between neurons fortify, and it becomes easier for people to react to and process new information.

In the today’s society of constant distractions, meditation is a tool not only to an overall tranquility of mind, but also sound willpower to boost productivity.


The power of habit should not be underestimated. Many people would argue that life should be bright and spontaneous; however, I believe this is a very naive and infantile approach. In order to improve yourself, it is necessary that you take little steps every day, and the easiest way to do it is to make those actions your daily routine.

For example, if you train yourself to get down to homework right after classes, at one point you will stop feeling uncomfortable about making this decision instead of playing video games. At first, the pain areas of your brain will become activated every time you put yourself to work. However, sooner or later this pattern of behavior will turn into a habit that you would take for granted.

However, the two key moments here I want to highlight is that it is essential that you: 1) do not blame yourself for steering away, 2) develop one habit at a time. Research has shown that those people who forgive themselves for minor digressions are more likely to persist than those who become bitter about their every fault. Besides, do not overburden yourself with a billion different habits you dream to develop. First, let one habit stick before you proceed to the others.


You need to find inspiration in your work. It is true that sometimes people have to perform tasks they are not necessarily excited about, however, if those activities take a huge portion of your life, maybe, you need to reconsider your priorities and look at your life from a global perspective.

Sometimes inspiration comes from renowned people, or it can even come from your peers. Reading a biography of somebody who worked hard and became successful can boost your spirits and instill a belief that anything is possible. Working together with your colleagues exerts a peer pressure on you that forces you to carry on even if you feel like you have no energy left.

Remember, no matter how driven and hard-working you are as a person, if you are invariably obligated to do something you hate, there will never be enough willpower for you to compensate for the lack of interest.


Life is unpredictable, no matter how carefully you laid out your plans. Some unexpected social gathering or business trip can befall you any time, so, it is better that you have at least a vague idea of how you are going to behave in those situations.

For instance, if you decided to become a non-drinker, you would be much more effective in this pursuit, if you decide in advance how to formulate your refusal during a hypothetical social gathering. If you do not plan it out, it is much more likely that you are not going to follow in with a plan.

If you are going home from college, and you decided a night before that you would work on your homework that day, you are much more likely to fulfill your commitment. Otherwise, you might end up on the coach watching Netflix and eating popcorn.


Finally, it is critical that you have a big goal to pursue. Envisioning your bright future can really help in boosting the willpower and not surrendering when things get tough.

However, it is hard for a brain to make a connection between the present-you and the future-you. Therefore, it is difficult for people to take upon certain, often unpleasant habits like saving to ensure that they have enough money for retirement, or doing sports so that they do not have a heart attack or health problems in general when they get old.

In this case, I would recommend you to write down your dreams and steps to fulfill them. Ask yourself, what kind of ideal you want to reach. Try not to distance yourself from the future, as it is closer than it may seem.

Don’t Settle

It is remarkable, but people who are more pessimistic about their success are more likely not to trip up and have the strongest willpower. Here I do not mean pessimism that is linked to low esteem, but rather having a more realistic picture of life and its pitfalls.

So, take off your rose-tinted glasses and see the reality as it is. It is harsh and often unfair, but it is not a reason to give up. You need to keep struggling and never settle with what you already achieved. Beware of the pitfalls and always have a plan B. 

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