Joy Journal

Every Friday, you can receive the Joy Journal, which will give you information, inspiration and tips that you can use in your pursuit for joy.


“Will You?” or “Won’t You?

The Magic of Willpower

From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you are constantly using willpower. Will you or won’t you eat that piece of cake?  Will you or won’t you exercise today?  Will you or won’t you have that difficult conversation with your partner?  Some sources suggest that we make 35,000 choices a day – many of which can drain your willpower. 

The American Psychological Association defines willpower as the ability to delay gratification and resist short-term temptations to meet long-term goals.  In simple terms, it is an exercise of self-control in pursuit of your personal objectives.  It involves both what you won’t do combined with what you will do towards achievement of your goals.

What’s interesting is that willpower operates much like a cell phone battery.  There is a finite amount of it available, and it drains throughout the day.  No wonder it is so difficult for me to resist that piece of cake at the end of the day!  I have no willpower remaining.  The beauty, however, of willpower is that it recharges with sleep and exercise.  And the earlier in life that self-control or willpower can be fostered and developed, the greater success a person can have later in life. 

Walter Mischel, a psychologist at Columbia University, conducted a study in self-control called the “Marshmallow Test.”  The video below shows a version of this test.  What’s interesting is that Mischel’s research team followed up with the children years later and found that those who waited for the second marshmallow were generally doing better in life (higher SAT scores and lower mass body index).

As a Joychiever, will you or won’t you make choices for joy today?  Engage and nurture your willpower to keep you on track during your journey.

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