“is essential to the accomplishment of anything worthwhile.” – Brian Tracy
“Nothing is easy to the unwilling.” – Thomas Fuller
Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.
We may think there is willpower involved, but more likely… change is due to want power. Wanting the new addiction more than the old one. Wanting the new me in preference to the person I am now.
George A. Sheehan
Here is what I’ve figured out: I find that willpower only comes into play when I run into a habit I want to change. A friend may tell me that I have so much willpower for avoiding the bread basket at dinner, but it’s not really willpower if I don’t want the bread, is it?
So its important to know your foe. It’s going to be different for everyone so pay attention to what trips YOU up or hits your Achilles heel.
If you have clear goals and know exactly what you want to accomplish, it’s a lot easier to exercise willpower against saboteurs.
If you don’t have a specific goal, but you still find yourself struggling with an action, ask yourself:
Does what I am about to do line up with my authenticity? Does this habit or action align with who I want to be and all that I am capable of being. If it doesn’t sit well with you then maybe you shouldn’t do it. I know I feel amazing when I do things that are authentic to me and I also feel amazing when I bypass a stumbling block or bad habit that doesn’t jive with who I want to be.
Create a habit of checking in with yourself when you are about to do something. Remove yourself for a moment from the situation you are in and say, “Wait a minute. Am I going to feel good about myself after doing this?” Be honest! If the answer is “no” then don’t do it.
Willpower is a muscle we have to exercise to strengthen. The key is being aware BEFORE you do something that goes against your goals. Too often we say, “Ugh, I shouldn’t have eaten that” after the fact.
I hate that feeling as much as the next person, so after much trial and error, I’ve figured out a four-step strategy that works for me. I bet it will work for you too.
1. Get clear on your goals-know your core values and what you want most
Ex. A strong sexy body I feel proud of
2. Suss out potential saboteurs-name your triggers
Eating late at night
3. Map out when and where you may run into trouble
When I have a few drinks out with friends and come home hungry
Only have one drink and eat a healthy, filling dinner beforehand/As you approach your door, recognize that you will want to eat and make an oath to yourself that you will drink some water and go straight to bed.
The fourth step is the crucial action right before you cave into a bad habit or you resist it. Take a moment before the trigger. Visualize what is about to happen and tell yourself that this is not going to be easy to resist. In fact, it is going to be extremely difficult. It is going to take immense strength and focus to override your instant desires.
If you are a spiritual person, ask for help. Call on Spirit, God, the Universe, whatever you call your higher power. Admit that this is going to be difficult, but together you can overcome this one little desire.
If you are not spiritual, just recognizing how difficult this is going to be. Preparing your willpower beforehand can be enough to overcome the negative action.
Willpower is a tough thing to manage, but we only need it when we want to change an action or habit that isn’t serving us. Learning how to use it to our benefit is the trick. And just like a muscle, the more you use it, the easier it becomes.
What is one habit or action you want to use willpower to stop doing? Which action step do you think is going to help you the most? I’d love to hear in the comments below!