5 Science-backed Tactics For Developing Willpower (Self-discipline)

Have you ever planned to do something and failed to do it? I guess the answer is Yes. And you’re not alone. It happens to the best of us.

But failing to do the things you need to do not only leaves you with a backlog of tasks to catch up on, but it also leaves you with a feeling of guilt which steals away your happiness.

How do you get yourself to do the things you need to do so that you can improve your happiness?

Gaining willpower has been directly linked to becoming self-disciplined, but:

What is willpower?

Merriam Webster dictionary defines Willpower as;

the ability to control one’s own actions, emotions, or urges.


strong determination that allows one to do something difficult.

The second one applies here more.

A strong willpower is what sets the high performers of this world from the rest of the population. They have a strong determination that allows them to do difficult things.

Willpower is what makes you spend hours working in your office or business when you’d rather be taking a cruise around the world.

Sounds good, but is willpower really important?

Why is Willpower Important?

With a lot of research like the 10,000-hour rule by Anders Ericsson coming out to show that sometimes what separates maestros from mediocre performers is how much time they’re willing to dedicate to the relentless practice of their skill, more people are beginning to realize just how important willpower is.

You’ve probably already noticed that doing productive work doesn’t always feel easy. Sometimes it seems like you have to push yourself really hard to be able to focus and get yourself to do work.

Your willpower is what ‘pushes’ you to do your work on those days when you don’t feel like it.

How to Develop a World-class Willpower for a productive life

We can all agree that willpower is very important to leading a happy and productive life but, why are we yet to develop ours?

Because it is HARD!

Developing strong willpower is hard and that’s why, even though we all agree that stronger willpower will greatly impact our productivity, we are still struggling.

To help you improve your productivity, here are four tips to help you develop world-class willpower.

Four Science-backed Tactics to Help You Develop a World-class Willpower

Work to develop your prefrontal cortex

Some neuro-scientists from St. James School of Medicine, The Netherlands did a research on the Maturation of the brain and in their research referred to the prefrontal cortex as “the region that helps accomplish executive brain functions.”

Your prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that controls complex behavioural patterns. Working to develop your prefrontal cortex gives you better control of your mind.

You can develop your prefrontal cortex by exercising your willpower in relatively easier circumstances. Choosing to turn off the TV and going to bed at night instead of binge-watching Netflix or deciding not to have desserts are some small decisions that help develop your prefrontal cortex to be better ready to deal with the bigger decisions

Find Time to Meditate

According to a research conducted by a group of neuroscientists, meditation significantly grows the prefrontal cortex. Meditation grows your prefrontal cortex which automatically increases your willpower.

Meditations help you find the power to make better choices, resist temptation and do the things that are most important to you.


Another great way to grow your willpower is through exercise. Harvard Medical School’s Associate Clinical Professor, John Ratey MD, has through his research proved that increased physical activity (exercise) improved a wide range of brain functions.

Like meditation, exercise grows the prefrontal cortex and because of this great power to improve brain functions, exercise has been tagged the “wonder-drug of willpower.”

The next one will probably shock you.


Getting adequate sleep is another way to develop your willpower. Depriving yourself of sleep causes mild prefrontal dysfunction. 

Mild prefrontal dysfunction is the reason why we struggle to make the right choices when we are exhausted. So, make sure that you have adequate sleep if you want to improve your ability to make correct choices and develop your willpower.


Getting yourself to do the things you need to do at the right time is a great way to improve your productivity and overall happiness. Developing your willpower is exactly what can help you do that.

So, I encourage you to implement the tactics I’ve shared with you above so that you can start your journey to the realm of maximum productivity.

Thanks for reading.