5 Willpower Habits Every Man Should Develop

Human beings are capable of incredible things, but willpower is the key to making it happen. Taking a deep dive into what defines willpower and how we can develop it will help you break through in any circumstance. Developing these five habits will give you more power than ever before.

The “unhelpful habits everyone should quit” is a list of 5 willpower habits that every man should develop. It includes things like waking up early, avoiding procrastination and more.

The following excerpt on “Will Power Habits” is from Donald A. Laird’s The Technique of Building Personal Leadership (1925). To fit current vernacular, we altered “will power” to “willpower” in the text. 


I have no idea what willpower is. However, I am aware that many individuals struggle to regularly and successfully direct their mental and physical capacities. Maybe it’s a lack of desire and grit, or maybe it’s a lack of willpower. In any case, they are deficient in a critical attribute that leads to success. Near-poets are probably the only individuals who can pull off this look without any make-up.

You may have known persons who were publicly labeled as obstinate and stubborn because of their tenacity. Rather than a continuous direction of one’s energy, this is selfishness. It’s not so much willpower as it is won’t power. Many individuals mistakenly believe they are strong-willed and moral just because they don’t do anything wrong. The genuine test, on the other hand, is positive rather than negative. It’s this: how much good have you done with your time and energy?

“May the gods save me from these ‘burn-’em-up’ salespeople who work like a tornado the first week of the month, then lie down for the rest of the month,” a Wall Street bond firm sales manager recently told me. He was looking for bond salesman who, at the end of the year, generated the highest commissions for themselves — and, incidentally, for the firm — rather than those geniuses who could sell without trying and who attempted intermittently. The race is not always won by the fastest, but more frequently by those who possess the uncommon attribute of perseverance.

The following tale was recently related to me by the track coach of a midwestern institution, and it demonstrates the idea. Joe Smith attended college after growing up on a farm. He was too tiny to play football and too nearsighted to play baseball or basketball, but he wanted to create a name for himself in track. However, the track coaches saw little potential in Joe and suggested him to try debate or checkers instead.

Joe, discouraged yet determined, surreptitiously trained for the distances for three years. Joe took care of the furnace at an attorney’s house two miles from where he resided on campus. He raced to his furnace in the early mornings when no one else was awake on campus. He resumed his morning routine late at night. He kept track of his time, altered his stride, and continued going for three years without the instructor noticing.

When the entries for the conference’s spring meet were being taken, Joe came out on the first afternoon and demonstrated his abilities to the coach. Joe was entered in the two-mile race after the coach approved. Joe, on the other hand, waited off until he was put in the half-mile, mile, and two-mile races. Joe qualified in the preliminary rounds and finished first in each of the finals.


I’ve developed the habit of thinking about Joe whenever I’m in the mood to do anything else. It assists me in avoiding getting disheartened too quickly. It assists me in planning for outcomes not just for the day, but for a long-term objective. I’ve discovered that letting people know about Joe is also beneficial. Difficulties like the ones Joe overcame provide the finest opportunity for building what some refer to as will power.


There are a number of readily developed work and cognitive habits that help to boost self-determination and energy direction.

One of them is to get down to business right away. I know folks who labor themselves to exhaustion just getting started. They keep an eye on the clock to see whether it is ticking (although it has never missed a day). Then the items on top of their desk must be meticulously organized. Then they start to think about what they should do initially. They suddenly believe it would be considerate to sharpen a quantity of pencils. They should be taught to recognize, however, that it is preferable for them to seize the first letter and focus on it rather than engage in all of this will-weakening debauchery, which each day becomes more entrenched due to habit formation’s persistence.

Another crucial habit that everyone should strive to develop is to do the difficult or unpleasant work first. Putting off sending an unpleasant letter, for example, makes it simpler to put it off the following time. I’ve seen personal workstations simply filled with these kind of unpleasant activities. This individual was not aware of a weakening of his willpower; he was concerned by exhaustion brought on by his light employment. It’s no surprise! Anyone would have been exhausted by the accumulating anxieties in his desk. Anticipating unpleasant chores therefore undermines one’s self-determination while also causing extra exhausting concern. Do the challenging task first thing in the morning so you may have a more relaxing day. Learn to like tough activities since it is these, not the simple ones, that will test your resolve.


When we put on our hat to leave home, how many undone chores are left behind also reveals the strength of our self-determination. To improve this characteristic, one should do a task until it is completed. Make it a habit to stick it out rather than giving up. And remember Joe, who trained for long distances, or Daguerre, who spent fourteen years trying to create a photographic picture to stay on glass. Don’t be a slacker when it comes to putting.

The fatigued person is a weak-willed, easily led individual. Overwork kills a lot of individuals, but it also kills a lot of wills. Last year, the editor of one of the world’s two most well-known publications came to see me. “For heaven’s sake, don’t ask me to make a choice; that is all I do all day on the job, and I want to relax,” he said as he walked off the train at Utica. Make it a habit to get plenty of rest. You are depriving yourself of rest if you require an alarm clock to wake up in the morning.


Are you convinced of yourself, what you’re doing, and your life’s objective and purpose? There’s no need to be concerned about your willpower if you are. Internal motivation is the greatest motivator for doing deliberate and persistent action. It is a regretful individual who does not have the example of a renowned guy from history or from today’s company to encourage his inner self. For personal encouragement and inspiration, read about these individuals, interact with them as much as possible, and get under their shadow.

  1. Make it a habit to get down to work right away.
  2. Make it a habit to start with the most difficult or disagreeable task.
  3. Make it a habit to complete a task until it is completed.
  4. Maintain a healthy level of sleep.
  5. Believe in yourself, your career, and your long-term goals.

Make sure you listen to Kelly McGonigal’s episode on willpower: 




The “manly habits” is a list of 5 willpower habits that every man should develop. The habits are: 1) Eat less junk food, 2) Stop eating before you’re full, 3) Get enough sleep, 4) Exercise regularly, and 5) Don’t drink too much alcohol.

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