This evening, I had a juicy fun conversation with my brilliant friend, Amber. We were talking about doing stuff that, logically, we know is good for us but for some crazy reason, don’t actually do. (Think eating more vegetables, exercising more, meditating, etc.)
She said she thinks she must be lazy. Well, I know that’s not true. The woman has 2 kids under the age of 5! That in and of itself immediately disqualifies the laziness argument. Oh, and she works full time. So, laziness is not it, for certain.
So what is it then?
Basically it’s Why and Willpower
First, look at willpower. Did you know that everyone is given a finite amount of willpower? (Read the book Scarcity by Shafir and Mullainathan to learn about this fascinating research.) Basically, willpower works like a bank account. Let’s say you have 10 blocks of willpower each day. That’s your allocation. You use 1 block to get yourself to work that morning, 2 blocks to not kill your cranky coworker, 3 blocks to not eat the donuts being passed around, 3 blocks to get you through an afternoon meeting that you’d rather not be at and at least another block to get the kids home from school without anyone causing a riot. All your willpower blocks are used. There is nothing left. Nothing. So you don’t go for a run or go to yoga. You don’t have the energy to make dinner and you definitely can’t face dealing with your finances tonight because there are no more blocks left, there’s no willpower to draw from. You’re not lazy, you’re bankrupt in the willpower department.
And then there’s the “Why.” If you don’t have a super compelling “Why” for what you want to do, you’re screwed. Your “Why” has to be a huge, emotionally-charged, locked and loaded reason for doing something. It needs to be more important than all the other things you have on your to-do list. If it isn’t, you won’t do it. It will get pushed aside and lost under the pile of “more important” or “more compelling” things you have going on.
Most people have weak “Whys” and make goals and set intentions based on their willpower and, as I’ve explained, this is not likely to work. However, if you create a strong “Why” you will automatically, naturally reserve blocks of willpower so that you can follow through and take action with your goal.
Here's why: Let’s say you want to lose weight. Your “why” is solid. When the donuts are being passed around at the office you don’t have to use willpower to resist them, you genuinely don’t want them. You just saved yourself 3 blocks of willpower and you’ll be able to use that willpower later when you’re tired after work, to skip the drive-thru and make a healthy home cooked meal. If your “Why” is super-duper solid not even the drive-thru will phase you and you’ll have enough energy to go for a walk after dinner, too.
Now you’re winning.
If you need help figuring out your “Why,” book a laser coaching session with me or Jill. We’ll help you get it nailed so you can have access to more willpower and start winning.