GrownUps accepts no responsibility for decisions made by Members or any other persons as a result of using or relying on any information on the GrownUps website. GrownUps does not give any health advice or make any recommendation of any product or service.

Improve your willpower

Fingers turning a willpower button and setting it on the highest position, green tones. Illustration of determination or motivation concept.

Fingers turning a willpower button and setting it on the highest position, green tones. Illustration of determination or motivation concept.

Whether you need to finish a boring task, say yes or no to dessert, exercise or bite your tongue, your personal willpower comes into play. Some people have it in spades, disciplining themselves with ease, for others, it’s more of a challenge. Can will power be developed and strengthened, or are you born with a certain amount?

That was the question a group of researchers recently set out to answer. Their findings suggest your willpower is like a muscle. It gets tired and requires exercise to strengthen it. So, it is apparent that our willpower can be strengthened with the right practice, which is great news if you feel yours could do with a boost!

Here are five strategies you can adopt to improve and strengthen your willpower.


Meditation, even for just 10 minutes a day, has been found to give the fastest results of all the willpower exercises. It helps the brain to focus and resist the urge to wander aimlessly. This boosts energy levels and your ability to concentrate for longer periods. Many people find meditation a challenge at first, so if you need a little inspiration, there are plenty of guided meditation tracks available online to get you started.


Research has found a link between keeping a food diary and an improvement in willpower. The majority of us don’t
record our food intake and it takes a conscious effort to keep track of every little thing. There are many apps you can use, or simply use a notebook/pen to keep track for a fortnight. Not only will it give you some valuable information about the little extras that are in your diet, but you’ll also improve your willpower!

Speak clearly

Correct your speech – Shifting your natural speech requires you to work against your instinct, which takes considerable
willpower. A simple change like eliminating a certain word or changing from saying “Hi” to “Hello” for a couple of designated hours each day is effective enough to hugely improve your willpower.

Create and meet deadlines

If you’ve ever studied or had to work to deadlines, you’ll know just how productive and effective it can make you. Creating self-imposed deadlines can have the same impact on our willpower. To get started, pick a task and set a deadline for accomplishing it. Picking a task you’ve been putting off is a good choice, as it’ll increase the effectiveness of the experiment even more.

Lead yourself into temptation

…and resist.  If you really want to challenge yourself, try increasing your ability to say “no” by carrying around something really tempting that you’d usually eat or drink for the full day. Pop whatever it is in your pocket or handbag and flex your willpower to continually resist temptation.