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Willpower Is Overrated — Do This Instead….
If you are having to will yourself to get something done, you have probably already made a mistake somewhere along the way.
Especially if you have a deep goal, you should not be pursuing it through willpower. You should be pursuing it through habit.
"Repetition Is My Mantra"
Let me give you a simple example. I decided a while back to make my bed every morning, first thing, for a minimum of 40 days. I admit this isn't such a difficult goal to achieve, but it was interesting what happened.
First, the fact that I made a FIRM, CLEAR DECISION that I would do this every day for 40 days and knew precisely when I would do it (first thing) somehow removed about 70 percent of the mental effort. There was no decision to make. I just had to execute.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, at some point the momentum of just doing the same action each day at the exact same moment took over. The whole thing became automatic, routine, and hardly even conscious.
More interesting still, after 40 days, I just kept going on autopilot. I probably made it over a year (I know at least 300 days as I was tracking this) making that bed every day. The repetition--first thing each and every morning--eventually made this behavior automatic and effortless....
Falling Off The Wagon
Then, somewhere in the last few months, due to travel and jet lag issues, I fell out of the routine. Making my bed became a bit of an effort again. I wasn't making the bed first thing. I had to decide to do it. It was just sort of annoying and a hassle.
I had fallen out of the momentum of habit and had to DECIDE to make the bed each day and DECIDE when to make the bed. Yuk.
So, yep, now I'm back on the wagon. I've committed again to making my bed every morning for 40 days in a row first thing in the morning. It's easy again and automatic.
What Do You Wish To Repeat?
I used making my bed as a simple example. But this same construct--DECIDE BEFOREHAND WHAT YOU WILL DO AND WHEN YOU WILL DO IT--can help you achieve your goals and build momentum. I should add that--for activities that aren't nearly instant like making your bed--deciding beforehand not only when you will do something but for how long will make it much simpler for you to build a rock-solid habit.
You want that power of momentum working for you. You just have to make a decision, pick a time, pick a duration, and start the flywheel going. Repeat until the behavior becomes automatic. Start small at first if you need to. But get that flywheel turning!