Why More Willpower is Not the Answer

Willpower myths   Willpower myths are what stand in the way of long-term change for many people. One thing I dread when meeting a client for the first time is if they ask for more willpower.  It’s really important to understand willpower myths.   It’s not that I don’t think having willpower is valuable – it is.  It helps you overcome impulse and achieve goals.  But the reason I am not a fan of it being the thing is that it’s an awful lot of work, isn’t it?

Effort and resistance

Willpower implies effort and resistance.  A constant battle to overcome bad habits and to achieve your goals.  Personally, I think that life is tough enough without having this battle of wills – the good habit versus the bad habit.  Which will win?  The problem is that when you are feeling low, or tired, the bad habit will win out because your resistance is low.

No.  Willpower is not for me.  And it shouldn’t be for you. The big thing.  The thing which wins over willpower time after time, is motivation.  When you are motivated for what you want, your behaviours will take you there quite naturally.

5 point plan to engage your motivation

How do you engage your motivation?  Here is my 5-point plan to help you:

  1. Think of what you want to achieve and the benefits of it.Spend a lot of time making a really good list.  You want all the benefits. When you have finished the list, write some more.  Go for double your original list.  This list is going to be your driver for motivation so it needs to be really, really, really good.  This is not the time for cutting corners.
  2. Write down the negative consequences of keeping things as they are.This provides you with an away-from motivation – giving you an incentive to make things different.
  3. Think about anything you will lose by changing.These are the things which are keeping you stuck.  There is always something, otherwise you wouldn’t be stuck, right?
  4. Find another way of achieving the benefits you gain from the “bad” habit.For example, if you gain comfort from it what is another way you can get comfort without this habit?  How quickly can you feel comfortable with this new habit?  (Usually quicker than you think).  I go into this in a lot more detail in my book 21 Ways and 21 Days to the Life You Want.
  5. Virtualise yourself with the new behaviour and enjoying the benefits of it.Make the virtualisation as rich as possible –what you will look like in full colour, what you will see, what sounds you will hear, what you will feel, the responses of other people, etc.

Your mind is very powerful and virtualisation (a powerful form of visualisation) is a great way to train your mind what you expect from it.

A final tip

As a final tip, think about someone you admire who already has the behaviour or goal you want.  Then, when you have a ‘should I/shouldn’t I’ dilemma, you can ask yourself “What would so-and-so do?”.  This is a simple and effective technique to keep you on track.

So, motivation – better than willpower myths, don’t you think?

If you want to super-charge your motivation, why not book a hypnotherapy session?  Or, if you aren’t local, a Skype coaching session could help too.  For more information, call me for a free telephone consultation on 0345 130 0854 or get in touch here.  You’ll be glad you did!