Today we have the final installment in the willPOWER series.
In the first installment I wrote about how important willpower is when attempting to make any changes in your life and explained why you should be writing down your goals and how integral it was for creating self discipline.
Then I wrote a second article on creating a goal plan. In order to achieve your goal you need to have a way to figure out how to get from here to there. The goal plan breaks everything down into small, manageable steps so you aren’t overwhelmed when working on your goal.
Today I want to let you in on my biggest secret on growing your willpower, and that is the willPOWER plan.
The willPOWER Plan
Making a change in your life is hard!
It is so much simpler to not do something then it is to do something. Turns out this is actually one of Newton’s laws which we all probably learned about in 5th grade.
Newton’s First Law Of Motion: “An object at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by a force. An object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by a force.”
This law is also referred to as “The Law Of Inertia”.
When a person is used to coming home and throwing a frozen pizza in the microwave, cracking open a beer and then sitting on the couch and watching TV, they will continue to do so unless this routine is acted on by another force. Maybe someone will call and invite them out to dinner. Or maybe they will decide to play on their computer instead of watch tv. But until something acts upon their established routine, then day to day living will continue as it always has.
In order to break this cycle you have to actively do something different and do it every single day.
But that can be super difficult! Who wants to organize their home when they could be sitting on the couch?
Willpower is the “force” that is spoken of in Newton’s law!
So to get over the inertia you must make a plan on how to create and use your willpower efficiently, especially if you consider yourself “lazy” or you have a lack of motivation.
How To Create A WillPOWER Plan
There are five steps in creating a willpower plan.
The first step is identifying the crisis points in achieving your goal. A crisis point is where you know your willpower will be tested and try to minimize them as much as possible.
Let me use my personal goal, which is having better eating habits (ie: going Paleo), as an example.
I know I will not make good food choices if I don’t have something already made for me and waiting in the fridge. If I can’t grab it and warm it up quickly then I am going to choose something that is easy to eat, but not as healthy. So part of my goal plan is to make sure I already have meals planned and cooked for the following week.
I need to come up with a solution for when I get behind and there isn’t anything in the fridge.
In this instance, I must come up with a healthy meal that I always have in my pantry. For me, the answer is lentil soup. I shop at Trader Joes and there is a lentil soup that isn’t exactly Paleo but it is super healthy and I like the taste. I know it will fill me up and is a much better food choice than driving to McDonalds, which would be my default if I don’t have something easy to eat at home. I can eat this either for breakfast or lunch.
I also know I really want something sweet after dinner. My plan is to make a healthy treat that will satisfy my craving, but what should I do if I either don’t have time to make it or I run out of whatever it was I had previously prepared? My willPOWER plan is to have purchased a “healthy” cookie or something from Whole Foods that I can eat in a pinch.
The second part of setting up a willpower plan is deciding beforehand how you will mentally respond to a crisis point.
Using myself as an example, I know it is really difficult for me to say no to a dessert when I am out at a fancy restaurant. So I decide before I go out to dinner exactly what I am going to order and whether or not I am going to have the dessert. I am mentally prepared before I even step out of the car to face the crisis of the dessert menu.
The third step is to have a reinforcing mantra.
This is what you will say to yourself when your willpower is tested. My mantra is, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.
Now I know this is a bold statement and a lot of arguments can be made against it. Please focus on the fact that this statement works for me and it is my “private” mantra.
The fourth step is knowing when your willpower isn’t strong enough and you decide to not follow through on your goal, that you are consciously choosing not to move forward.
It might feel like others are “making” you not follow through because they are unsupportive, or they are peer pressuring you to make different decisions. But when push comes to shove, you are in charge of your life, and if you decide to not move towards your goal then that is your choice and nobody else is to blame.
I know I have a difficult time sticking to a healthy diet when I am super stressed out. Let’s say I have a particularly bad week because my husband is sick and the kids are being rotten and things are just generally crazy, so I decide to postpone my diet for a few days.
I am the one choosing to not move forward with my goal.
There may be outside factors involved, but if my willpower was strong then I wouldn’t let those influences change my focus. Stress weakens my willpower and actually I need to add that as part of identifying crisis points and creating mental responses to it.
Finally, the last step is creating a speech to tell yourself when you choose to not move forward towards your goal so you can get back on track.
I might chose to eat a piece of cake for dessert, but then the next morning I tell myself to get right back at it. That piece of cake was just a blip in the long-term goal of getting healthy and that specific choice doesn’t affect all of my other choices!
Now I want you to sit down and write out your WillPOWER plan by answering these questions:
- What problems do you think you will have in getting to your goal?
- How will you handle those issues.
- What can you tell yourself when faced with those obstacles?
- Can you acknowledge that if you let a complication get in the way of your goal that this is your choice, and nobody elses?
- When you fall off the wagon, what will you tell yourself so you will get right back on?
Once you have answered these questions you will have your WillPOWER plan all ready to go!
And there you have it, my best secret on how to defeat all the negativity you have faced in the past when trying to create a positive change in your life.
The willPOWER plan may seem like a no brainer, but I assure you it is a powerful way to face all of the obstacles standing in your way.
Armed with these three tasks: writing down your goal, creating a road map on how to achieve that goal, and creating a willPOWER plan to face your obstacles you can begin to grow and strengthen your willpower!
Willpower Is The Key To Unlocking Success!
When you have a strong willpower you can do anything and be anything you dream of!
Nothing can stand in your way because you won’t let it!
When you start to work on achieving your dreams your self esteem grows, your self satisfaction blooms, and you will find that you are actually excited to get out of bed in the morning because you are finally able to live life on your terms!
I am very excited to begin to teach you all about creating and strengthening your willpower because I truly feel it has been the key to any success I have had in my life. Though these three willPOWER articles give a fantastic overview on why you should create goals and then how to implement an action plan and a willPOWER plan, there is a lot more detail on how to create and strengthen your willpower in my e-book: WillPOWER: Become an expert at being AWESOME!
In this book I explain exactly how working on goals are essential to creating self discipline.
As a matter of fact, I believe one of the most important aspects of this book is how to turn goal setting and achieving into habits, which is a large portion of my e-book.
I also explain how to get over the inertia of procrastination and how to use all of the tools outlined in the book in your day to day life.
If you are looking for the way to finally change your life and become the person you always wanted to be, then purchase my e-book, WillPOWER: Become an expert at being AWESOME!