Making YOUR willpower work for you.

Willpower and the ability to control it is probably the most important thing that will either help you succeed or help you to fail. There are many people who don’t get ahead because their lack of determination and willpower get in the way. As Muslims we all have will power to some degree- we know we can’t drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and eat non Halal food. But there are some who break these rules and are not sure of how to get their lives back on the right path. It is easy to feel helpless through all of this.  At the same time there are some really amazing strong willed people who very easily know what is right and can steer clear of the wrong things. What is the secret of their will power? Perhaps first and foremost it is the rules that Allah has given to us, but even then sometimes temptation does come to us. So how can you build your will power?


Imagine you made a resolution to skip lunch for a month and actually stuck to your decision. You may save your lunch money, lose a few pounds, develop sympathy for the poor, and give your digestive system a much-needed rest. More importantly, you will strengthen your willpower. The reason this works is that you teach yourself to avoid lunch even when you know you could have it if you decide. Your stomach may growl, but you won’t listen. Thus you train yourself to ignore the calling of your lower physical self and reach for the higher goals of real human achievement. Doing the right thing even when your desires are calling for something else.
Every year, for one month, able Muslims go through a similar fasting exercise. They observe the fast as a compulsory practice which Allah prescribed in His revealed messages, especially in the final revealed book. One of the many benefits they experience from fasting is its training aspect. The willpower they develop in that one month helps them to continue doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong throughout the year. They find the fast such an effective method of spiritual training and of achieving closeness with their creator that many Muslims also keep some additional, optional fasts on other days of the year.

So how can you train your will power? When you have to control yourself, there is less willpower available to you for other parts of your life. This fact is a good one to know because people who lose their will-power often do things that they would rather not. They become aggressive and give up too early.Scientifically your self-control is at lowest point when you are mentally exhausted. So, what lessons can we learn from what the science is telling us? How can we be in more and better control of ourselves more often?

Below are 3 tips to help you.

1. Anticipate and plan for your times of low self-control. Now that you know that self-control is a limited resource and that depleting it means less for later, you can do some anticipating and planning. For example, make sure that you are not food shopping after a long day at work, don’t start on an important task after a frustrating journey.

2. Exercise your willpower muscle to get more of it. Research confirms that willpower is like a muscle. Exercising a muscle in the short-term leads to its exhaustion, in the long-term, though, exercising a muscle causes it to grow. In fact, there is some good evidence that exercising your willpower, though temporarily depleting, means that it will be stronger in the long run. So, push yourself. Things to do that will deplete your willpower:

  • Work on a tough to solve puzzle;
  • Watch a funny movie but resist the urge to laugh;
  • Watch a sad movie but resist the urge to cry.

3. Drink some orange juice. It turns out that glucose is one of the key ingredients that your brain needs for effective self-control. Willpower. It’s not just for breakfast anymore! And the extra vitamin C is always good.

InshaAllah these tips will help you to have more control over your will power, but remember that Islam also trains us to have will power and when we remember the things we can do then inshaAllah you know that you can increase your will power capacity and make more time for balance.

Remember that the path to managing willpower is hard. nothing will lead to you your goal and paradise without hardship. In a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim by Abu Huraira radia-Allahu’anhu the Messenger of Allah sallallaahualayhi wa sallam said ‘Hell has been veiled with desires and paradise has been veiled with hardships.’ Imam Nawai commented on this saying it means that nothing will help you to reach paradise except going through hardships, and nothing will lead you to hell but whims and desires. Hardship includes striving consistently and patiently in worship, restraining ones anger, forgiving, being patient, giving in charity, being kind to those who mistreat you, resisting physical desires etc.

In many ways controlling your will power is part of being a Muslim and the 3 tips will help you get on your way!

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