How To Boost Your Career Willpower


Graham W Price details the tools you need to change focus

You know what you need to do to take your career forward but despite your best intentions you’re just not doing it.

We make excuses, such as lack of time or other things getting in the way, but really it’s about us lacking the willpower to stick to our goals and make them a reality.

So how can we boost our willpower to carry through those intentions that are going to positively impact our career and move it to the next stage?

In my experience there are ten, tried and tested, ways to boost your willpower.

Write down your goals and make sure they’re SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, reasonable, time-based]. Decide upon a time by which you plan to achieve each goal.

Write down the benefits of each goal. Visualise the goal as being achieved – make it a clear, strong, vivid visualisation.

Spot any unhelpful when/then games you may be playing – for example, ‘When my partner gets a pay rise, then I’ll take action’ or, ‘When I’m 100 per cent sure of success then I’ll start’. Drop them now and start taking action.

If the goal is important and challenging, make a commitment (a promise to yourself, or maybe even someone else) that you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Think of someone you admire who’s achieved the same goal or something similar, or who could easily achieve it. Ask yourself what they’d be doing in your situation. Then do it.
If a lack of self-belief or any other limiting belief is holding you back, ask yourself what you’d be doing if you had a more positive belief. Then do it.

If a ‘one step at a time’ approach isn’t working, take bold action. Do something courageous or imaginative.

If it’s an important goal, set some time aside every day to move it forward – irrespective of any short-term priorities that may be competing for your time. Make a clear decision to drop tasks that don’t need to be done and won’t contribute significant benefits.

If uncomfortable feelings get in the way, accept the feeling (be willing to experience it and tell yourself it’s just a feeling that needn’t stop you and won’t do you any harm). Then do whatever you’d be doing if you didn’t have the feeling. Doing this repeatedly will unwind the unconscious beliefs that are driving the feeling. If you’re fearful or anxious, and you know your reticence isn’t justified by any real danger, accept the feeling and do whatever it is that’s making you anxious.

If you’re stuck on a goal, ask yourself whether it’s because you’re just focusing on your own requirements and perceived limitations. If so, try rephrasing the goal in terms of what it will do for others. This takes the focus away from your own so-called limitations and gives a new impetus to the goal.

Identify anything that’s mediocre in your life and take steps to eliminate it. Get fit, spend more time with the kids, eat healthily, create a sensible work/life balance, keep the desk tidy, quit smoking. Use the nine tips above to make it happen.

These tools aren’t meant to be universal. Some when/then games may be sensibly cautious. Taking some bold actions might be unduly risky. However, whether you want to boost your current career or change your focus altogether, using these tools appropriately will give you the willpower to achieve any goal you set yourself.


About Author

Graham W Price

Graham W Price is a psychologist, personal and executive coach and development trainer. He’s a chartered member of the British Psychological Society and BABCP accredited. As the developer of Acceptance Action Therapy and its personal development equivalent, Acceptance Action Training, he’s founder of the Association for Acceptance Action Coaching, Therapy and Training ( As the presenter of ‘Positive Mind Training’ webinars he teaches life-changing skills that attendees use every day for the rest of their lives. Executive Assistants can see the ‘organisations’ version of the training free at Please do not share this link. Others can access the training at For more about Graham, see

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