Everyone wants more willpower. More, more, more!
And that’s because everyone knows that willpower is like magic fairy dust. Sprinkle this dust on a decision, and POOF!! Things start to change, like magic.
And vice versa. Nothing happens without willpower.
If you decide that you want to exercise more, but you’re fresh out of magic willpower dust — then nothing’s gonna change.
That’s why everyone wants more.
But many people don’t know what willpower really is.
For example, I meet many people who say that they’d LOVE to practice qigong.
When I ask them why they don’t, they give the same answer: “I just don’t have enough willpower.”
In other words, they think that they need willpower BEFORE practicing an art like qigong.
This is bass ackwards. The exact opposite is true.
Qigong is the perfect choice for people who struggle with willpower. Here are the top 10 reasons why:
1. It builds willpower
Willpower is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, then it gets flabby.
If you feel like you lack willpower, then your willpower muscles are flabby.
Qigong is how you’ll whip those muscles into shape.
Do you need more endurance before starting a jogging habit? No, jogging is precisely the thing that will help you build more endurance!
The same is true with qigong — it is precisely the thing that will help you to build more willpower.
The latest research suggests that practicing mindfulness meditation every day builds willpower by nurturing the gray matter in your brain. (Click here to read more about why qigong is a form of mindfulness meditation.)
Everyone is talking about meditation these days. For example, in her book, The Willpower Instinct, Dr. Kelly McGonigal talks about building willpower through meditation. She even offers guided meditations.
In my experience, qigong is even better at building willpower than guided meditations and sitting meditation.
I’ve seen qigong build willpower in people who swore that they were hopeless. I’ve seen it work where everything else has failed.
2. It only takes 15 minutes
Many people think that you need to dedicate an hour or more to qigong.
That’s just not true of many styles of qigong, and it’s certainly not true of Flowing Zen Qigong.
Do you have 15 minutes?
The basic qigong routine that I teach is roughly 15 minutes long, and that’s enough to get remarkable results.
Of course, I have students who practice longer than 15 minutes. But that’s because they WANT to.
At that point, it’s a labor of love, and willpower is no longer an issue.
3. Okay fine, it only takes 2 minutes!
We all have bad days, especially when we are still building our willpower muscles.
Some days, we don’t even have the willpower for 15 minutes.
That’s where the 2-Minute Drill comes in!
The 2-Minute Drill saved my life. It’s how I developed the daily habit of qigong, even while wrestling with clinical depression.
I had zero willpower, so I just practiced for 2 minutes. That’s it.
Sure, my results were less spectacular than if I had practiced for 15 minutes, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I practiced every day!!
Practicing for 2 minutes every day gradually gave me the willpower to practice for 15 minutes per day. From there, I gradually worked all the way up to 3 hours per day!
I started with 2 minutes. And you can do the same.
(If you want to try approach, then I recommend that you try my 30-Day Energy challenge, which is great for building a 2 minute daily routine. It’s free.)
4. It’s stress relieving.
Did you know that stress drives you to increase your current habits?
For example, if you smoke, then stress will drive you to smoke more. (I know this from experience.)
But here’s something you might not know: It doesn’t matter if your habits are good or bad.
In other words, stress can drive you to good habits just as easily as it drives you to bad habits.
If you have a healthy habit like qigong, then stress will drive you to do it more.
The more stressed out you are, the more qigong you’ll practice!
5. It’s not physically demanding.
Exercising is hard.
Qigong is easy.
You don’t need equipment, you don’t need special clothes, you don’t need to schlep to the gym, and you don’t need to break a sweat.
All of those things require willpower, and all of those things are unnecessary with qigong.
6. It’s feels great
There are few things in life as enjoyable as a good qigong session.
For those of us who’ve been practicing for years, qigong is like the best drug ever. Not only does this drug get us high on life, but it has no negative side effects!
Gimme another hit of qigong, dude!
7. It’s medicine.
Qigong is enjoyable to practice — but even if it weren’t, I would still practice it daily.
Because it’s my medicine. If the medicine works, then I’ll take it even if it’s terrible and bitter.
But qigong isn’t bitter! It’s delicious!
If qigong had a warning label, it would read:
Side effects may include spontaneous mood elevation, increased willpower, and deeper sleep.
8. The form is not important
In qigong, the physical movement is the least important aspect. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I actually encourage my students to butcher the physical form. This frees them the dreaded disease of perfectionism.
When you stop worrying about the form, you’re free to enjoy your breathing. You’re free to enjoy the exercise, even if it’s not perfect.
Many students tell me that this freedom is what made them fall in love with qigong.
9. It’s not a martial art (but it can lead to one later)
Don’t get me wrong. Martial arts are a fantastic way to build discipline.
I’ve practiced and taught various martial arts since 1992. I can say, without equivocation, that martial arts are not for everyone.
If martial arts are not for you, then Qigong is a fantastic choice. It gives you a kung-fu-free approach that still has many of the same benefits.
And later, if you change their mind and want to try a holistic martial art like tai chi, then you’ll be well prepared, thanks to qigong.
10. Maturity matters.
To become a world-class violinist, you need to start learning before the age of 5.
Not so with qigong. In fact, maturity is an asset for this art.
Why do they say that youth is wasted on the young?
It’s because when you’re young, you don’t fully appreciate how amazing it is to be healthy, to have full mobility, and to be able to eat whatever you want.
But as you age, you start to appreciate the little things.
Maybe that’s why they also say that life begins at 40?
As you age, you not only develop a greater appreciation for health, but you also develop qualities that are essential for qigong — like patience, an appreciation for subtlety, and a broader perspective.
The truth is that most people who start qigong before adulthood don’t stick with it.
But adults who fall in love with qigong often make it a lifelong practice.
“I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to discover qigong.”
That’s a statement that I hear from a lot of students.
Qigong gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself at any age. And of course, it also gives you plenty of magic willpower dust to implement the necessary changes!
You might also enjoy: Tips From a Kung Fu Master: Willpower Isn’t What You Think
What about you? Do you struggle with willpower? If so, have you tried qigong yet?
Or have you already used qigong to build willpower?
Either way, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Best regards, Sifu Anthony I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong (pronounced "chee gung") to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. Today, I'm the director of Flowing Zen, an international organization with students in 48 counties. I've been teaching qigong since 2005, I've served on the board for the National Qigong Association, and I’ve helped thousands of people to use qigong for their own stubborn health challenges. If you're ready to get started with qigong, there's no better way than my best selling book, which comes with free videos and meditations. The sooner you read my book, the sooner you can start healing! Click here to see my book on Amazon.
Two days left to my 30 day challenge! It is true, the more you do Qigong, the more you want to do it..I feel more peace, more ambition, I have been looking for this all of my life, I truly believe this…Thank you so much for the articles, they are so encouraging…I get excited when I see a new message in my inbox from Sifu Anthony!! I am ready to start another 30 day challenge!!
Sifu Anthony Korahais says
Woohoo! That’s fantastic, Janice! I love it!
Good morning Sifu. I have a question for you. How do you treat GERD hiatal hernia correlated with qi gong or with TCM?
Sifu Anthony Korahais says
Hi Riccardo. The exercise called “Plucking Stars” is excellent for a hiatal hernia. But you might need a good acupuncturist as well.
Hiatal Hernias are very treatable, and respond well to qigong and acupuncture.
Tom Judge says
one week ago tomorrow I was feeling great and pleased with my qigong progress. It was the 3rd day of doing my mile plus morning walk after recovering from sever knee problems so I added a knee stretch exercise (and overdid it), the pain was excruciating any movement of the left knee brought tears. What to do? Dug out an old magnet knee brace which re-leaved some pain. AND OUT OF HABIT DID YOUR 30 MINUTE GATHERING QI ROUTINE. Within two days the pain was 95% gone.At age 83 Today I am back to mile plus morning walk. Thank you
Sifu Anthony Korahais says
Wow, Tom. That must have been scary. But that’s fantastic news. Keep doing whatever you’re doing (minus that knee stretch).
Pauline Irving says
I have been reading your articles on Willpower and it is so true that it is best to add a positive to a daily routine then try and quit something not so good. I do not smoke but I see so many people who are trying to quit smoking and adding 2 mins of Qi Gong to their day would be amazing. Or, do a practice instead of reaching for the next cigarette.