THE BLOG

Winning At Will Power

25/02/2013 15:49 GMT | Updated 24/04/2013 10:12 BST

The successful sporting individuals who strive to reach their goals with an intense, burning desire to achieve are often referred to as being "driven." But this is a special quality that is not reserved only for a privileged few. With the right approach, anyone can cultivate a deep, burning desire within themselves and move to a state of total commitment, knowing with certainty that success is as inevitable as the sunrise.

Research now suggests that the lack of natural talent is almost irrelevant to achieving great success in sport. It appears that we have the power and ability within ourselves to allow us to become any number of things, including truly great. Indeed social scientist and researchers in recent years have reached an overwhelming conclusion- that improving your store of will power is the key to going above and beyond your best. So how can we achieve excellence and become exceptional?

I have spent years working with many sporting champions, including the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, the Arsenal football team and Ellen Mcarthur. I have always asked these people, "how committed are you to achieving your goals and being the best you can be?" It doesn't take long for many of them to figure out that in order to achieve excellence they need huge amounts of will power.

If you looked at the greatest sports people to ever walk this planet, people like, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordon and you were able to measure their will power you would see they are full of it.

So how can you increase your will power? Well, research shows there are several simple exercises to help strengthen resolve and self control. If you want to increase your own will power then start with a simple exercise of sitting up straight during the course of the day. This may sound like a mundane thing to practise but it did yield remarkable results. A group of students who were given this task found that by concentrating on this and recording their progress (the most diligent kept daily logs of how often they forced themselves to sit up), performed better at other will power tasks that had nothing to do with posture.

There many other things that could be done, for example if you use your right hand to pick up a glass to drink, do it with your left hand. The key to this strategy is that it concentrates the mind to change habitual behaviours. These techniques can be used to improve your will power in the build up to a bigger challenge, such as ridding yourself of those unwanted pounds.

Another study carried out in Australia, demonstrated the remarkable beneficial effects of forming a plan for regular physical exercise. The participants again scored much higher than their peers in other tests of will power. The main conclusion drawn was that exercise improves people's stamina, allowing them to hold out even when their will power was being tested by other temptations. It also helps people do better at other things.

The answer is simple: if you are looking to be better in any sporting endeavour, focus on improving your will power and you will have greater success.

For more tips on how to improve your will power, take a look at my e-book

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Aristotle