Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Our willpower is severely limited, and every demand for self-restraint draws from a single source. They will look at their list and blame their lack of willpower when they should be blaming their list and their lack of focus. No one has enough willpower for that list. Sometimes a single willpower challenge will feel like one demand too many.

It is easy to blame their failure on a lack of willpower or motivation because if they had an extraordinary amount of either, they could have powered through, but the real culprit was their poor strategy. Anything that is outside of our comfort zone is going to trigger resistance. We want to shrink the commitment so that we only take a tiny step outside our comfort zone – expanding it slightly. Once our Elephant gets comfortable with that, we can encourage him to take additional steps. Our comfort zone will eventually expand. We always want to have enough willpower to keep our habit alive. Shrinking down our commitment ensures we will always be able to do it. These tiny steps aren’t a finish line, they are a starting line. You can always do more when you are motivated to do so, but don’t rely on motivation. Continue reading Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Motivation is an Ineffective Habit-Forming Strategy

Motivation is an ineffective strategy for forming habits. First, it depends on our emotional state. Emotions are difficult to regulate, and consistency is an absolute necessity for habit formation. Repetition is the language of our basal ganglia, where all habits reside. Another reason motivation is a terrible strategy for developing habits is that it decreases over time. We don’t build motivation through repetition; we dilute it.  Continue reading Motivation is an Ineffective Habit-Forming Strategy