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The Habit of Success

This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives.

Willpower is the most important keystone habit for individual success. Studies show that it’s more important than IQ and other factors. People with high willpower get better grades in their classes and gain admission into more selective schools. They spend less time watching TV and more time doing homework.

The best method to strengthen willpower is to make it a habit. It might look like people with great self-control aren’t working hard. It’s because they made it automatic. Their willpower occurs without them thinking about it.

Willpower is like a muscle. You can exercise it and make it stronger. But when you use it too much, it becomes tired, and you lose your ability to exercise willpower again until you have time to rest. There is a finite amount of willpower at your disposal each day.

Another important thing to note is that you don’t use your willpower when you plan ahead and determine what you will do in certain situations. For example, if you work at Starbucks and must serve an angry customer, how will you deal with the situation? If you don’t have a plan of action in advance, you will use a huge amount of your willpower dealing with the situation, and you may get emotionally tired. This will change your mood. Here is a better method: Plan ahead exactly what you would do in such a situation, and when it happens, you will act on autopilot. It will not affect your energy level as much, and most likely, you will not get emotional.

Actions to take