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Common Misconceptions About Willpower


We all wish we had more willpower. Willpower is the key to being more productive and achieving our goals. It is the foundation for inspirational stories and extraordinary feats. It is what helps us defeat bad habits and create the life of our dreams.

Though we can recognize willpower and know its benefits, there are still many misconceptions about this subject. This article aims to address those misconceptions with facts about the reality of willpower.

If you wish to learn more about willpower after reading this article, then head over to BetterHelp for more information as well as tips on how to increase it.


The Definition Of Willpower


Willpower is a form of self-control that helps a person resist temptations and bad habits to more easily achieve their goals. Those with solid willpower can stay motivated and focused and are less likely to give in to impulses, indulgences, or temptations.

Willpower is a skill that can be built up. Willpower itself is not necessarily a moral or virtue. It is not necessarily good or bad; it is just a neutral skill to help you achieve your goals.


Common Myths And Misconceptions About Willpower


Despite so much information available about the subject, willpower is an often misunderstood concept. For example, some people believe that people are born with a certain amount of willpower that cannot be altered. However, this is not true, as willpower is a mutable skill that can be built up or depreciated over time.

Below are a few more common misconceptions about willpower. If you believe any of them yourself, then you may be hindering yourself from maintaining the willpower you need to achieve your own dreams. Read on to learn more about these misconceptions about willpower.

Willpower Is Limited

It turns out that what you believe in willpower will manifest in your life. Though no one has unlimited willpower (we all need to rest and sleep at some point, after all), our perceived beliefs on the limits of willpower will ensure that our willpower is more limited than it actually is.

Studies have shown that those who believe that willpower is severely limited will give up more quickly. However, those who think they have enormous willpower or nearly unlimited supply will remain motivated and disciplined to achieve their goals. Therefore, what you believe about the limits of your willpower will become true.

Willpower Is the Same As Self-Discipline

People often confuse willpower and self-discipline as the same concept. This is understandable, as the two terms are very similar. However, there are some key differences.

While willpower is the use of energy and determination to control your impulses, discipline is the act of training yourself into good habits. So willpower is the essential first step to creating good habits, and discipline is the act of maintaining those habits. However, willpower can develop into discipline, which is the cause of much of the confusion.

For example, let’s say your goal is to stop looking at social media throughout your workday to increase your productivity. Willpower will help you control any impulse to switch over to Twitter while working. However, discipline includes the actual acts of avoiding social media, such as blocking social sites on your work computer or locking your phone away during work hours.

Willpower Is The Key To Curing Mental Illness

Though willpower is an incredible tool that can help in many areas of life, the truth is that it cannot cure everything. A common misconception is that willpower is enough to cure certain mental illnesses such as depression or substance use. This results in a harmful stigma that those who live with these conditions are just not working hard enough to treat or cure themselves.

While willpower may play a pivotal role, it is rarely enough to treat these conditions. Many people will need help from a psychologist or other professional and may need to include treatment options, such as medication prescribed by a psychiatrist or physician.

Despite what this harmful misconception may suggest, people who ask for professional help are not weak simply because their willpower wasn’t enough to treat the problem. Mental illnesses are serious health conditions and often require more than just willpower for treatment.

Willpower Means Never Doing What You Want

Since willpower is a form of self-control, many people believe they have to give up on what they enjoy in order to work towards their goals. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Going back to the social media example, preventing yourself from using social media during the workday does not mean you should delete all your accounts. Once your workday is finished and you are back at home to relax, you can use social media as much as you would like. Since the point was maintaining focus at work, there is no need to avoid social media while at home or not working.


Bottom Line


Willpower is a powerful concept that has helped many achieve their goals. However, it is sometimes overrated, leading to some frustrating and even harmful misconceptions. Hopefully, this article informed you about the truth of willpower so that you can use it to improve your life healthily and realistically.

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Marie Miguel
the authorMarie Miguel
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.