How to Overcome Obstacles and Make Permanent Changes in Your Life

Posted by Maria Lennartz on Monday, July 2, 2018


Many people think that what you need is willpower, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you want to make any permanent change in your life, willpower won’t get you there.

Whether you want to get healthier, stop using social media so much, improve your relationships, lose weight, get fitter, be happier, write a book, — willpower won’t help you with any of these things.

If you’re required to exert willpower to do something, there is an obvious internal conflict. You want to eat the cookie, but you also want to be healthy. Environment versus goal.

The tension is mounting…!!!

What are you going to do?

Are you going to be strong this time and resist? Or are you going to crumble?

According to psychological research, your willpower is like a muscle. It’s a finite resource that depletes with use. As a result, by the end of your strenuous days, your willpower muscles are exhausted, and you’re left to your naked and defenceless self — with zero control to stop the night-time munchies and time wasters.

What do you really want?

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

If your life requires willpower, you haven’t fully determined what you want. Because once you make a decision, the internal debate is over. As Michael Jordan has said, “Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”

After you decide what you want, the decision is made. Therefore, all future decisions regarding that matter have also been made. No questions.

So, are you serious about this? Or are you just talking? Are you still on the fence, or have you decided?

Until you decide, you’ll be required to use willpower.

Are you committed?

What is commitment?

How do you know if you’re truly committed to something?

When it comes to achieving goals, commitment involves:

·         Investing upfront

·         Making it public

·         Setting a timeline

·         Installing several forms of feedback/accountability

·         Removing or altering everything in your environment that opposes your commitment

An example, is running a marathon! If you’re committed to running a marathon, you’re going to put everything in place to make sure it happens. You’re not going to leave it up to chance.

You’re going to start by signing up for a race (investment). You’re going to make it public (phase one of accountability). You’re going to get a running partner who holds you accountable. You’re going to track your progress (feedback) and account your progress to your accountability partner. Lastly, you’re going to remove things in your life that keep you from running.

Creating conditions that make success inevitable. No matter how much internal resolve you have, you will fail to change your life if you don’t change your environment.

This is where the willpower approach fails. The willpower approach doesn’t focus on changing the environment, but instead, on increasing personal efforts to overcome the current environment. What ends up happening? Eventually you succumb to your environment despite your greatest efforts to resist.

An example of this is, if you want to become a professional rock-climber, you need to surround yourself with professional rock-climbers and orient your whole lifestyle to that goal.

This is how evolution works. We adapt to our environments. Thus, conscious evolution involves purposefully choosing or creating environments that mould us into the person we want to become.

Conclusion

If you’re required to use willpower:

·         You haven’t made up your mind.

·         Your desire (your “why”) for your goals isn’t strong enough.

·         You haven’t fully committed to what you’re going to do.

·         Your environment opposes your goals. Thus, you haven’t created an environment that makes your goals inevitable.

Willpower sucks. Forget about it.

Instead of focusing on your behaviour, focus on your environment. Your environment — including the people you surround yourself with — is the clearest indicator of who you are and who you’re becoming!