How to Boost Your Willpower, Success in Marriage and Life

Happy Life: Happy Marriage

What would you do differently in your life if you had more willpower? Are there efforts related to your personal health or improvements to your marriage and family life you would make if you could stay on target?

Sometimes it’s easier to get inspired to start something new or to make increased efforts, but it’s hard to continue. For instance, if you decide to do something romantic for your spouse once a week, how long will you continue? Or, if you decide to participate in more physical activities (alone or with your partner or kids), does your enthusiasm quickly wane?

The Greater Good newsletter provides 5 tips for boosting willpower that may lead to more success. My favorite was #5: “Remind yourself WHY you are doing what you are doing, and what you will lose if you give up.” Ask yourself, “Why are you trying to start your new habit or quit your old one? Be honest as you do this; remind yourself what you really want, rather than what you think you should want. For example, I could tell myself, or my neighbors, that I’m exercising more because I want to be a good role model for my children (what I should want). But what I really want even more than that is to fit into my jeans and feel healthy. Research suggests that these less moralistic motives tend to be more effective.”

If you’re trying to make an effort in your marriage, such as to increase the number of positive interactions compared to negative (which should be at least 5:1), or to schedule and prioritize time alone, or to work on improving your communication or sex life, etc., remind yourself frequently what your goal is and what you would lose if you give up (i.e., a better, more intimate relationship).

Read the other four tips here for boosting willpower, and if you have others, please share in the comments. Other ideas include getting enough sleep and curbing alcohol, because lack of sleep and alcohol use can decrease your willpower.

I have read that creating a new habit is the key to willpower, and that 15 days of a new habit is all it takes. So, (years ago) I got up for 15 mornings in a row and exercised. But I have to say on the 16th day, I felt no more desire to exercise than the first. So for me, maybe focusing on why I’m doing something would be more effective.

How does your willpower measure up these days? What goal are you working toward that requires a willpower boost?

Speaking of increasing your happiness, I enjoyed this article on the 15 powerful things that happy people do differently. It’s a meaningful list; check it out.

Lori Lowe is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages. It’s available  at and in all e-book formats at

Photo by Ambro courtesy of

5 responses to “How to Boost Your Willpower, Success in Marriage and Life

  1. This was a great read–I have a hard time summoning willpower sometimes. I think I’m going to have to try meditation, since it has so many other benefits besides strengthening willpower.

    Also, I stumbled upon this article about how many days it really takes to form a habit that you might find interesting. Apparently, it’s not 15 days, 21 days, or 28 days as many have heard. Who knew!

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  2. I love that step : Remind yourself WHY you are doing what you are doing, and what you will lose if you give up. Often times in relationships, we take for granted the little things that we used to do, especially in marriages that have lasted for years. Going out on date nights, especially when there are kids involved, is one of the simplest and most common thing that most couples tend to put off and ignore because it starts to feel like an obligation after a while. But we should remind ourselves why we go on date nights — to spend time with our husbands and wives without the demands of every other aspect in our lives, and just focusing on each other.

    • Excellent point, thanks! I agree, sometimes the most routine things seem like obligations after a while. It’s good to remind ourselves of the bigger goal, then maybe shake things up a little while still working on that goal.

  3. Pingback: Happy Hour | The Romantic Vineyard

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