Developing Willpower and Discipline to Establish Good Habits

Developing Willpower and Discipline to Establish Good Habits

Achieving success in any worthy but difficult endeavor requires willpower, discipline and habit. These are intrinsic factors that can help overcome difficult situations. Without these factors, dreams are likely to remain as unfulfilled aspirations. Talent and opportunity rarely converge without the individual’s inner impetus to succeed. These concepts are similar and interconnected.


Willpower refers to the psychological factor of being highly committed and focused in doing a task or pursuing a goal. On the other hand, discipline involves the actual investment of effort, time and resources, requiring self-control. It is often associated with delayed gratification or the ability to avoid distractions. Habit may refer to regular any task or behavior that has become part of the routines of an individual.

Willpower is necessary to enforce self-discipline and sustained discipline is necessary to form good habits such as taking regular exercise and eating healthy food. Evidently, not all habits can be considered as positive or productive. Some habits such as vices and procrastinations need to be eliminated. Eliminating these bad habits will require willpower and discipline.


Just like bad habits, good habits can be developed through repetitions. By incorporating tasks, behaviors and attitudes in the regular routines, they usually become habits. More often than not, habits do not take too much effort or thought. They become natural and virtually effortless that they are almost instinctive.

Bad habits are oftentimes much easier to develop because they are pleasurable and sometimes addictive. They are also difficult to eliminate. For example, smoking is a bad and unhealthy habit that is hard to eliminate because of the addictive nicotine content. Any addictive habit creates physiological and psychological dependency that can interfere with normal cognitive functions.

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If willpower and discipline are needed to develop good habits, they are also needed to eliminate bad habits. Unfortunately, bad habits are usually the result of external circumstances such as social pressure or culture. Case in point is the unhealthy eating habits of people in highly industrialized countries. Fast food restaurants are almost ubiquitous in these countries, serving high-calorie and fat-saturated food.


Developing willpower and discipline is only possible if there is enough motivation to do so. Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic. It may come in the form of incentive or threat. For example, the main incentive for eliminating smoking habit is better health either through disease prevention or recovery from already existing diseases such as emphysema and lung cancer.

Willpower and discipline will allow individuals to be fully responsible for their actions. These help in achieving success despite of difficulties. Hence, success truly become meritorious and worth savoring when accomplished.