What is Will Power & Self-Discipline

Does willpower really matter? There's a growing body of evidence that points out that willpower and self-control are essential ingredients to a happy and successful life.

To understand it, we first have to define what it is:

It's the capacity to restrain our impulses, resist temptation - do what's right and good for us in the long run, now what we want to do right now, according to Roy Baumeister , a social psychology professor, who believes that willpower is a mental muscle that can be strengthened and trained.

Willpower helps us:

  • Control or reject unnecessary or harmful impulses
  • Delay gratification long enough to think through costs/benefits of our actions
  • Finish what we start
  • Avoid distractions and stay focused
  • Accomplish what we set out to do

Can we really train our kids to resist temptation?

Young students are able to differentiate good and bad behaviors and can accurately predict consequences of many behaviors. This is a good age to encourage your child to stop and think about consequences before leaping into action.

At this age, feelings are better understood, but not always controlled. Encourage your tween to trouble shoot situations that make them lose control. Have them think about how they might differently, the next time.

The teen years can be turbulent. Although teens should be able to control most of their actions at this age, it is not uncommon to for pent-up frustration to lead to slamming doors, yelling and loss of control. It is appropriate for parents to enact consequences, like lost privileges, for losing self-control.

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Josh Rodriguez hosts Josh Speaks, a self-help series which offers teens advice on how to become their "best selves." A man of many talents, Rodriguez is a gifted motivational speaker, YouTuber, marketing strategist, graphic and web designer. HIs post is reprinted with permission.

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