Lu and I are working on gratitude. In the midst of lots of things she’s dealing with, we decided we’re going to each share one thing we’re grateful for each night before heading to bed. She’s been pretty good at keeping us on that bandwagon. I think maybe she feels the difference in her soul as she strives to make more room for pondering the good. There is something magical that happens when gratitude takes up more of our heart than the woes. SO it’s great timing what we put up our traditional “Thankful Tree” in our kitchen this week. Lu and I couldn’t stop on adding “thankful leaves” when she got home from school. One of them, in big letters, says “willpower” because I’ve been pondering that power for the last couple days: how to develop willpower.
Willpower has such an incredible impact on human life. Not to sound too dramatic, but it can make the difference in entire life trajectory. Think about the habits we make our priorities. Or the goals we want to achieve. The things we want to get done. The relationships we want to cultivate. They all need one special ingredient to make them happen: WILLPOWER.
So how do we develop willpower? That all-encompassing super-power?
I think in small doses. Step by step.
If we think we’re going to conquer the world and get our whole lives in order in a day, we’re going to fail miserably (believe me I’ve tried! Over and over again!)
Willpower is to be found in the power of habits. One step at a time.
Grace’s big race
So today I want to share a story of willpower from my girl Grace.
Because willpower is even more beautiful when you see it in your children.
One day, out of the blue, Grace decided she was going to run a half marathon.
Now, keep in mind that she hasn’t run more than a few miles before in her whole. Just hasn’t ever interested her. But somehow the stars aligned and she and a friend decided they were going to go for the “Haunted Half” in Provo.
That first day she was pretty amazed when she ran five miles without much of a problem.
But that first day wasn’t the day she found that willpower. Willpower comes from lots and lots of days, being willing to just keep putting the work in.
Over the next month she and her friend figured out running schedules.
They stuck to the program.
They put in the work.
Early morning and late nights. They ran their little hearts out.
Sometimes together and sometimes alone.
And after a lot of work, the morning of the race arrived.
It was freezing in those Provo mountains, people with nerves bouncing around, all in various dress-up get-ups (I mean, it was the “haunted half” after all…).
And guess what?
That girl did it.
Oh I just wished with all my heart I could be there to give her a big huge hug.
Luckily this girl was there:
As well as her awesome parents:
And others who were her support crew.
Just so proud of this girl of ours.
But she should be pretty proud of herself.
She learned how to develop willpower on another new thing.
So, what is the answer to “how to develop willpower?” that I asked above? I think it’s to focus. Sure, running a half-marathon isn’t really simple. But it was a chance for Grace to focus on her goal. Put that running as a priority and make it happen.
Now that this is under her belt, and that willpower is that much stronger, I think she’ll find that the next “impossible” to come her way may fit into her priorities in a whole new way.
Willpower has the power to propel you in ways you never thought you could go.
Maybe all that willpower will get me to run a half marathon some day.
But first, I’m just hoping it will help me clean off my never-ending piled-up desk.
GO GRACE! What a way to put that willpower to work.