Willpower Doesn’t Work

I was writing today about this, not only you but also myself. My health is going down hill. And I have to stay committed to making changes in my life.

Here’s hoping this article will help some else.

“Many people think that all we need is willpower, nothing could be further from the truth.” -Arnold M. Washtin,

If you want to make any permanent change in your life, willpower won’t get you there.

Whether you want to get healthier, stop using social media so much, improve your relationships, be happier, write in a journal or start goal planning. Willpower won’t help you with those things.

Personal progress and achieving success are best approached like you’re overcoming an addiction. Because, quite literally that’s what you’re doing. As human beings, we have addictions.

I openly admit being addicted to social media, my current belief system, my comfort zone,and my excuses. I’m also addicted of behaviors that contradict my goals.

We are all addicted to something. And cognitive dissonance is numbing.

If you’re serious about the changes you want to make willpower won’t be enough. Quite the opposite. Willpower is what’s holding us back.

I can sit that look at social media for hours even while I know things need to be taken care of, dishes need to be washed, laundry needs to be done. But I keep telling myself just a few more minutes.

Willpower is a broken approach to thriving and success.

“Willpower is for people who are still uncertain about what they want to do.” –Helia

If you’re required to exert willpower to do something, there is an obvious internal conflict. You want to eat a cookie, but you also want to be healthy. Environment -vs- goal.

What are you going to do?

Ate you going to be strong this time and resist? Or are you going to crumble?

According to psychological research, your willpower is like a muscle. It’s a definite resource that depletes with use. As a result, by the end of your strenuous days, your willpower muscles are exhausted and you’re left to your naked and defensive self with zero control to stop the night time munchies and time wasters.

At least, that’s what we’ve been taught.

Clearly, the research on willpower explains human behavior. But only on the surface level and it’s effects. The vary fact that willpower is required comes from two fundamental sources-the causes:

1. You don’t know what you want, and are internally conflicted.

2. You haven’t committed to something and created conditions that facilitate your commitment.

What do you really want?

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

If our lives requires willpower, then we haven’t fully determined what you want. Because once you make a decision, the internal debate is over. As Michael Jordon once said.

After we decided what we want, the decision is make. All future decisions regarding that matter have also been made. No questions.

So, are you serious about this? Or are you just talking? Are you still on the fence or have you decided?

Until we decide, we’ll be required, and continue making minimal progress.

Are You Committed?

What is commitment?

How do we know of we’re truly committed to something?

When it comes to achieving goals, commitment involves:

  • Investing upfront
  • Make it public
  • Setting a timeline
  • Installing several forms of accountability
  • Removing or altering everything in your environment that opposes your commitment

If we’re truly committed to something, in our mind, it’s as though we’ve already succeeded. All doubt and disbelief has to be gone.

Example: If you’re committed to running a marathon, you’re going to put everything in place to make sure it happens. You’re not going to leave it up to chance.

You’re going to start by signing up for a race (investment). You’re going to a running partner who holds you accountable You’re going to track your progress (feedback) and account your progress to your accountability partner. Lastly, you’re going to remove things in your life that keep you from running.

Commitment means we need to build our external defense systems around our goals. Our internal resolve, naked and I defended and opposing environment is not commitment.

No matter how much internal resolve we have, we will fail to change our life if you don’t change our environment.

For myself I know if I want to lose some weight. I cannot go to the store and buy anything sweet, even if I tell myself “I’m buying this for my husband and I’ll only eat one.” Because I’ll even up eating most of it.

This is where the willpower approach fails. The willpower approach doesn’t focus on changing the environment, but instead, on increasing personal efforts to overcome the current environment. What ends up happening is that eventually we’ll succumb to our environment despite our greatest efforts to resist.

Our environment is more powerful than our internal resolve. As human beings we always take on the form of the environment I which we continually place ourselves.

Consequently, the best use of our choice is consciously designing environments. Actually, if we’re really committed to something, this is exactly what we’ll do.

If someone is trying to stop drinking alcohol, they must stop being around people that drink alcohol and places that serve alcohol and stop going to the liquor or store to buy alcohol. Their willpower will fail if you don’t. They need to truly decide their done, to commit, and then create an environment to make the success of their commitment inevitable.

This is how evolution works. We adapt to our environment. Conscious evolution involves purposefully choosing or creating environments tat mold us into the people we want to be become.

Everything in life is a natural and organic process. We adapt and evolve based on the environments we select. You are who you are because of your environment. Want to change? Then change your environment. Stop the willpower madness.

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