Who hears the word willpower and actually gets excited?
I’m sure there are a select few out there who pride themselves in having great willpower, but many of us cringe at the sound of the word. However, we all have the ability to endure anything if we choose to and it definitely helps if there’s a big payoff!
There are times that willpower is necessary and beneficial both physically and spiritually. Yet to suggest that we can achieve the life we are meant to live by employing willpower as our primary growth tool is dumb. Yes, dumb. This personal growth tactic is crap and will not lead to any lasting change.
Growth needs to be enjoyable.
Not easy, I said ENJOYABLE. The truth is that you probably find yourself doing some really stupid stuff. For instance, watching lousy TV, endless clicking of useless websites, eating loads of chemical ingredients that you can’t pronounce, drinking no water, not exercising, on and on I could go. We’re all guilty to some extent.
The thing is, we know what we should be doing. We don’t need to go to a 4-day Tony Robbins retreat and stay up until 3:00 a.m. each night dancing and clapping to figure this out. We know better, but do nothing about it.
In 17 years of being a chiropractor, I found that people rarely changed their habits because they were motivated by statistics and/or potential negative outcomes.
The facts and scary statistics often initiated change but the changes wouldn’t last. However, if a patient had a Hawaiian surf trip scheduled and wanted to make sure he was in gnarly shape for it, I’d see majorly high levels of commitment to ensure that the trip was perfect. This pattern repeated itself with tons of my patients because it just isn’t enough to be scared or forced into change. It’s crazy that we keep trying the same stuff that just doesn’t work.
Let’s face it, willpower sucks and it doesn’t work long term!
In previous blog posts I’ve talked about how powerful our feelings are. Just changing a feeling from negative to positive can unleash a chemical cascade better than can be bought. Is it really a wonder that the dread of using willpower creates a less than stellar environment both physically and mentally? Us humans don’t really like stuff that makes us feel bad. We tend to avoid that.
I’ve realized that the only way I can personally make lasting change is to do it in a way that doesn’t make me feel bad or cause majorly negative feelings. Or, I have to completely give myself no other option. For example, I once signed up for a 200-mile bike race months in advance, knowing that if I didn’t train I’d die or just not finish. It worked, I completed the race.