In a recent voluntary survey on willpower, 85% of participants reported an increase in willpower through a free, 5-day online willpower boot camp conducted via email.
As of this writing, 121 people have participated in the online willpower course. Updates may be posted at intervals as more data is acquired from future participants.
Participants registered for the course on a voluntary basis and paid no fee. For five consecutive days, participants received an email that asked them to report their results. A final survey delivered the results show below.
“We wanted to discover if willpower could be increased by simply focusing on it in a specific way,” said Mike Bundrant, designer of the boot camp. “When participants failed to exercise their willpower in their chosen areas, we simply asked them to be honest about it. And we gave them specific instructions to highlight the reasons why they failed to do what they wanted to do. This approach seems to have made a significant difference.”
At the start of the boot camp, participants were instructed to make “will statements.” Will statements are clear and specific declarations of specific behaviors that will be done each day. Examples include: exercise 30 minutes, eat a piece of fruit instead of junk food, write in a diary, meditate, etc…
As they reported results daily, participants learned to affirm their successes, earn “will points” and become honest about their failures. Additionally, inspirational messages were sent to participants who replied to the daily emails.
What follows is a breakdown of reported results, based on the completion survey.
Specifically 84.6% reported an increase in willpower. This increase came by doing the positive behaviors identified at the start of the boot camp.
Significantly, 84.6% of participants participated in all five days of the willpower boot camp. So, there is a correlation between full participation and a reported increase in willpower.
Will points, a simple system for tracking your success, brought in mixed results. Only 15.4% reported 100% of the will points possible during the program. This suggests that the increase in willpower may not be correlated with success in executing all the desired behaviors 100% of the time.
Truth statements are formulations that participants used to be honest about their choices. The majority found these statements extremely helpful or somewhat helpful. The lesser percentage found them not helpful or were unsure.
Speculation about future participation yielded a majority opinion that using the tools provided in the boot camp would create consistent improvements in willpower.
Reported improvements in self-esteem were mixed. 38.5% reported an increase in self-esteem, presumably from the increase in positive behaviors during the week. The majority of respondents reported no increase in self-esteem or were unsure.
“We can’t call these results scientific, but on an informal basis, the willpower boot camp seems to be getting very encouraging results,” said Bundrant. “I believe increasing willpower involves a specific kind of intention, focus and structure. Failing seems to be part of the process. It is what you do with the failures that seems to matter most. In our case, were suggesting simple honesty as the remedy. We’ve shown people specifically how to confront their mistakes and move on.”
The willpower boot camp is still free as of this writing for volunteers who want to register and agree to complete the anonymous survey upon completion. See more at 5-Day Willpower Boot Camp.
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Mike Bundrant is co-developer of the AHA Solution to End Self-Sabotage. Learn more about how self-sabotage works and how to stop it by watching this free video.