I am reading the book “Start” by Jon Acuff. I am half way through it, and it has me so motivated. In one of the chapters he focuses on willpower. I consider myself to have a lot of willpower, but as he states, willpower is finite.
I remember, when I was about 14 my buddy Wes and I was asked by his uncle to dig up these bushes in front of his grandmother’s house. Most of us have all done some yard work in our life and forgot about it, but this particular job was special (I still remember it.) I am not sure what kind of bushes these were, but they had deep roots and he wanted us to get all of the roots out as well. This was one of those July summer days in Louisville that we all are aware of where the temperature during the day gets above 100. I think we had a shovel, axe, saw, and maybe some other tools, but none of them were the right tools. There were three bushes across the front of the house. We worked on these bushes for about 16 hours in two days, as much as I wanted to quit, we never did until the job was done. I remember this story, because I was mad because I think we ended up splitting $25 between the two of us. I can still remember going down to that cool basement both days after working on this project and just lying around resting. This story illustrates how I have alway been a hard worker and had the willpower to get a job done.
The older I have gotten I have realized that willpower is finite. And depending on the amount of rest you get your willpower will run out. In his book “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg describes how executives tend to have affairs late at night, when there is very little left in the tank so to speak. So knowing that willpower is finite how can we insure we maximize our willpower.
I know that my willpower is the strongest in the morning, before I get started on anything I know that for me I must get my workout done. If I put it off until the end of the day I will not get it done, because after a long day of work, I am exhausted and my willpower is depleted. For me, to get my reading accomplished, it requires me to do two things. Have a goal for my reading and to do it in the morning. So I have personal goals on what I want to read and how many books I want to read. Maybe you have a different system, find what works. Since I started reading in the mornings when my willpower is the strongest I have accomplished more reading than ever before.
My days look like this: The morning when my willpower is the strongest. I focus on me and my goals. The best investment I can make is in me, so I must maximize my time and my willpower focused on the thing that gives me the greatest return. (Also, a better me, makes me a better employee to my company as well.) I start my day with my workout, because without HEALTH, none of this other stuff matters that much.
The day-to-day routine of life doesn’t require much willpower. Like waking the children up and cooking breakfast. This one action doesn’t require all of your willpower. Playing with the children after work. This one action doesn’t require all of your willpower. However, when you add all of the actions up on a given day it dissipates your willpower and by the end of the day you won’t have much left.
So to accomplish more, to have more, to get more done, it requires willpower. If none of this matters to you, you probably wouldn’t have read this blog. You have to find a way to maximize your finite willpower when you have the most of it.