Will power and doubt


How can I increase my will power? I give up too easily about many things. I try meditate for 1 week and stop for 1 month. I feel it's no use and I am not sure I really love God. I think it's very difficult to be a better person – it seems that everyone else is better than me, and have more success on the spiritual path.

—jon, norway


 Dear Jon,

Your short letter included 3 important topics: will power, negative self talk, and doubt. I’ll share some brief thoughts on each.

To help develop will power, Yogananda suggests choosing something you’ve always wanted to do, something that is not too huge of a challenge for you, and persisting until you achieve your goal. One suggestion, based on other things here, would be perhaps to make regular exercise part of your day. Could you develop the habit of exercising vigorously (biking, walking, running, etc) for 15 minutes a day? Creating a habit like that could help develop your will power, as well as give you energy for doing other things.

Negative self talk: The tendency most of us have is to identify our faults (this can be useful), but then to make those faults our definition of ourselves. Once we notice the failing, it’s ideal to place a positive thought in the mind that will help us move in the right direction. Repeat this positive thought to yourself especially as you are just waking up in the morning, or just before sleep at night, and during quiet moments of the day. Swami Kriyananda gives this affirmation on will power in Affirmations for Self-Healing: “Within me lies the energy to accomplish all that I will to do. Behind my every act is God’s infinite power.”

This brings us to the last issue — your doubt of if you really love God. Swami said to me once: “Doubt paralyzes you!” The more we ask impossible questions of ourselves, the more difficult it is to move forward. None of us loves God as much as we would like — if we did, we wouldn’t need to be on the planet working things out. We would be free. If you feel even a little love for God, focus on that little love, and pray for the strength to love Him more. Pray something like this, “I want to love You more than I do.” It opens a door for you.

In divine friendship,