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

THE MOTIVATION FALLACY

Motivation isn’t the solution; motivation is the problem. Please, let me explain. The belief that you need motivation to take action is going to prevent you from forming any habits. Motivation isn’t an effective strategy for long-term behavior change for two reasons. Motivation fluctuates from day to day and tends to decrease over time. Habits not only fly under the radar of our conscious brain, but they also fly under the radar of our emotions. Just like we savor the first bite of our meal more than the last, we tend to be less motivated the more times we repeat a routine. Boredom is the biggest obstacle to excellence. A lot of people hit the gym for two or three weeks, then lose their motivation to go and quit. They blame their lack of motivation, but it is their belief that they need to be motivated to go that is the problem. So, if motivation isn’t the solution, what is? Continue reading THE MOTIVATION FALLACY

Discover a Surprising Willpower Mantra that Actually Works!

Ego Depletion (Illustrations by Ted Slampyak)

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USE THE POWER OF LANGUAGE TO REINFORCE YOUR IDENTITY

“A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words … the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt.” Mark Twain

Have you ever told someone you can’t have a piece of cake because you were on a diet or that you can’t go to lunch because you need to go to the gym? If you have, you are probably feeling pretty good about yourself right now. What if I told you that the language used in these two examples is weak? Confused? Don’t be. I will explain how the right words will improve your willpower, bolster your self-esteem, and make overcoming temptations easier. Continue reading “Discover a Surprising Willpower Mantra that Actually Works!”

BECOME A REALISTIC OPTIMIST

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One of the most potent strategies for reaching a goal is to identify the obstacles ahead of time and to develop a plan to address each before they are encountered. We want to be optimistic, but we don’t want to be a naive optimist. The naive optimist ignores the obstacles in their way and believes that they will not confront any challenges while striving to accomplish their goal. The realistic optimist believes in their ability to accomplish their goal despite the obstacles in their way. They acknowledge and prepare for the obstacles which makes them much more likely to achieve their goal. We want to have faith in our ability to overcome obstacles, not naively believe we won’t encounter them.

Research shows that predicting how and when you might be tempted to break a resolution increases the chances that you will keep it.[i]When you are working on developing a daily discipline, ask yourself: “When am I most likely to be tempted to give in? What situation is most likely to get me sidetracked? What excuses will I give myself to procrastinate?” Once you have such a scenario mapped out in your mind, imagine yourself in that situation, what it will feel like, and what you might be thinking?  If we are struggling to form a habit, it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine what situations will cause us to slip off our path, because these situations must have occurred for us to be struggling with forming the habit now. Continue reading “BECOME A REALISTIC OPTIMIST”

MOTIVATION IS LIKE STEAM IN A BOILER

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Motivation is powerful, but unless it is put to work, it is wasted. Motivation is like steam in a boiler. Unless it is driving pistons and producing mechanical work, it is wasted. We want to put our desire to good use by consistently executing the daily actions that will produce results. We don’t want to be merely busy; we want to be productive. I recommend you start each day listening to motivational speeches because it will help keep your motivational tank from running empty. Cultivating motivation daily is easy to do and will drastically improve your outlook on life. We need to develop motivation daily, but more importantly, we need to put it to good use.

Continue reading “MOTIVATION IS LIKE STEAM IN A BOILER”