If you have to use willpower to get something done it’s usually a sign of internal conflict.
And that’s ok. Life is full of internal conflict.
“I want to get up and go to the gym but the bed feels so warm and cosy”
“I want to lose weight but I also want my chocolate fix at night”
“I really need to stop off at the supermarket but I just can’t be bothered”
When the urge we have in the moment is in conflict with the goal, we have to use willpower to push through or we give in.
Research has shown that willpower is finite by the way. We only have so much of it on a daily basis so it needs to be used wisely. By mid-afternoon resources are usually waning.
Bear in mind that we are also in constant contact with the source of internal conflict, our environment – the warm bed in the morning, chocolate bars and biscuits at work, we drive past multiple fast food options on our way home or we open the kitchen cupboard in the evening and see an array of sweet bites. All this environmental stimulation creates urges and desires that are often in direct conflict with our goal. Make no mistake, environment is a powerful influence.
You can’t change your complete environment, unless you seal yourself off from the world, which means you have to try harder and harder to overcome it.
Inevitably, your willpower fails. It’s not that you don’t have enough of it or that you’re not strong enough. Its that willpower is not meant to be used as a long term strategy.
So what do you do? What is a good long term strategy?
Let’s go back to internal conflict. Conflict occurs when you don’t have complete clarity on what you want or you haven’t fully committed (yet) to your goal.
When you reach clarity and when you commit the internal debate is over. You’ve reached the tipping point or the point of no return. The alarm goes, you get out of bed. You walk past the biscuits at work because you’re on a different path now.
Your actions fall in line with your goals.
I’m not saying it’s easy. There’s work involved in achieving goals. There’s just no conflict.
Clarity comes when you take the time to define your goals. Here’s a worksheet to help you with that. Add as much detail as possible.
More Detail = More Clarity
Commitment comes when you connect deeply to your ‘why’ – why this goal – why now?
The more you know about your ‘why’, the more energy or desire you create. This energy trumps willpower any day of the week. And the closer you get to your goal, all those small wins, you start to add belief to your desire. All this energy propels you forward.
I’ve created this tool to help you connect with your weight loss’why’. I’m going to ask you to clarify your goal and then I’m going to ask you to uncover your deepest ‘why’. I’ve included an example so you can get the hang of it.
Once you have clarity and commitment you are well on your way. There are, however, a few other things that will support your success:
- Invest in a personalised and sustainable nutritional plan that aligns with your goal
- Change your home environment as much as possible to support your goal
- Create an accountability structure that supports you (a blog on that next…)
- Celebrate your small wins – they add up quickly!
About Jillian Mooney
I am a nutritionist and life coach. Together we create strategies that deliver the nutrition outcomes you want while working within your life structure.