Talent is overrated. Most of the people who end up achieving their goals aren’t those who are more talented than others, or are more intelligent or better looking than others. What sets them apart from others is their willpower to succeed and their persistence towards their goals, irrespective of how small or large their goals may be. Little do we realise that our willpower can make us achieve things that we presume to be unachievable at the outset. Promises that were never kept, resolutions that were never fulfilled, goals which were never achieved, all point towards lack of willpower. It all comes down to a battle of mind against your heart and ego. Every smoker has a craving towards cigarettes, everyone urges for delicious but unhealthy food. Yet, there are some who are able to contain their feelings while others find excuses that could justify their actions. What separates these people from others is their willpower.
Failing to achieve your goal doesn’t make you an outlier. Millions of people set goals everyday and only a handful of them go on to achieve their aim. What sets you apart is your will to try again and again, till the goal is achieved. Contrary to what some people might want you to believe, willpower is not God gifted. It is a human creation. Thus, gaining willpower is a matter of personal efforts.
Define specific goals : Your mind and body crave for specific goals. “I will lose 15 kg” is a much better goal than “I will slim down.” Similarly, “I would score 90% marks” would encourage you much more than “I will do good in studies.” Quantifiable goals lead your mind to break them down into smaller parts and encouraging you to be on track. These quantifiable goals also help you keep track of your progress and exhibit that you are on the right track.
Compete with yourself, and no one else :If God wanted you to live someone else’s life, He would have made us all replica of each other. We are made differently because we have different lives to live, different goals to achieve and different ways to achieve it. While making a goal for yourself, remember that it is for you and no one else. Make a commitment to yourself since you are answerable to yourself only. Your accountability is with you. Achieve your aim for yourself and no one else.
Avoid distractions, remember your goal :Long term goals are the hardest to achieve. Studying for 8 hours today is much easier to accomplish than studying 6 hours every day for the entire month. Saying ‘no’ is a tough task. Saying ‘no’ to an offer to play or saying ‘no’ to your favourite sweet takes a lot more guts than it seems. Remember, the hardest ‘no’ is always the first one. The satisfaction of conquering your short term desires with an eye on the long term goal goes a long way in strengthening your willpower and ensuring that you stay on the track to achieve your goal.
Break down your goal into smaller pieces :The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Whatever your goal is, try to break it down into smaller, easier goals which are easily achievable and before you know it, you would be within the close proximity of your goal. Don’t think about losing 15 kg. Work towards the next 1 kg at a time. Rather than aiming to finish the entire syllabus, make a plan for the next few chapters. Making realistic goals ensures that you have no excuse to give up midway. Setting up humongous, unrealistic goals not only discourages you to work towards them but also deters your persistence.
The human mind is capable of performing some unbelievable tasks if it is pushed to the core. You’d be surprised how much your mind can endure, if you want it to. People have uprooted centuries old empires without firing a bullet, differently-abled people have won marathons because they wanted to, Shahid Bhagat Singh and his friends undertook a 116-day long hunger strike—all these seemingly impossible tasks have been achieved riding on strong willpower only. You are no different than any of these great souls. There is only one way to find out what you are truly capable of—use your willpower and win the battles of mind.