Is Your Will Power “Broken”? Here’s Why…

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!!!  I know that we are now officially several months past the New Year, but this is my first blog of 2010 and I thought that I would start by wishing everyone well. Some people have asked “hey, where is the new blog??” I enjoy blogging because it allows me to share my thoughts and opinions, but it’s always important to me that when I write its something sincere and heartfelt and not perfunctory. I’ve taken the last few months to clear my thoughts, read some books, travel a little (some for work, some for play) and now I’m back!!!

We’ve often times heard that the best way to start the New Year is with resolutions. Some people do them, some people don’t believe in them and some people don’t do them because they know they won’t stick to them. In th[e]is “goal oriented” world we live in, we’ve also heard that the best way to get rid of an old habit is to replace it with a new habit. Additionally, we’ve heard that the best way to start a new habit is to repeat it at least 21 days in a row and then it will integrate into your way of living. Cliché after cliché, we hear them, but for some reason resolutions, good habits and routines don’t always stick. Let’s find out why.

The key to moving your dreams and goals into being is to change your beliefs. It isn’t our will power, it is actually our belief systems that create the focus, discipline, conviction and drive that help us stay on point with accomplishing anything. Far too often people rely on sheer will to create long-term changes.  Whether its going back to college, losing weight, advancing your career or any goal, you will be far better served to take the time to establish new core beliefs about that goal as opposed to simply relying on will power to achieve a goal.

To illustrate, I’ll use something personal. I used to really dislike checking voice mail. I believed that it was a chore, I believed if anyone really needed me they would call back and other things that discouraged me from wanting to check my messages. I genuinely wanted to be more consistent in checking my messages and I tried (through will power) to check my voice mail on a frequent basis. It worked for a few days usually, but it didn’t take long before the messages piled up again. It wasn’t until I shifted my belief to “you could be losing money/opportunities by not checking your voice mail consistently”, that I then moved to a state of checking my voice mail typically every 48 hours (if not sooner), not out of habit, but out of a newly established belief that drives my actions. Now because of my beliefs it’s hard for me not to check my voice mail for the anxiety of potentially losing business.

Whether you want to lose weight, save money, start a business, commit to a relationship, leave a relationship or anything – you have to examine your core beliefs to make sure that they line up with your actions. For example, if you want to lose 20 lbs, but you have a core belief that, “I know some of what I eat is bad, but I could change it anytime if I wanted”, chances are the 20 lbs won’t go away (or may even increase). As a matter of fact, you may join the gym, go many times, but until the underlying core beliefs are changed, chances are you could possibly sabotage any progress made. However, if you adopt a new belief that says, “I owe it to myself to be in my best health and eating X or Y or Z sabotages my progress, so I have to limit X,Y,Z to once every two weeks in moderation or eliminate it to get my desired result”, you are now letting your beliefs take the lead.

In most cases, until we shift our beliefs, it is highly doubtful that any long-term change will come out of sheer will. This can be a liberating discovery to those who just thought that they couldn’t get through the routine of changing habits because of lack of will power. It’s not our habits or even our will that first needs to be addressed; the primary force is our core beliefs.

The trick is that the core belief has got to be a prevailing thought that holds more emotional weight with you than any other thoughts. For example, you may dislike working out, but if your core belief is, “my family needs me to be healthy” or “I refuse to go another summer not looking my best”.  Whichever belief holds your emotional attention the most is the one that guides your long-term actions/results. Just think of the smoker who has tried to stop for years, and then they get bad news from the doctor and don’t ever smoke again (and lose the compulsion to). Their habits didn’t have to change to create an instant change, their beliefs lead the way.

Don’t let the lack of accomplishments from prior goals or a feeling of weakness/inability stop you from making the changes that you want to make.  However, don’t let me oversimplify it either, exploring your inner core beliefs can be an emotional and involved process in itself. The difference is that failed attempts based on “will power” can now be eliminated and you can now begin to work on establishing new, supporting core beliefs that move you closer to the focus, discipline, conviction and drive you need to live your dreams.

I definitely hope this helps you move a step closer to your dreams and as I always say…
Much love, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

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6 Responses to “Is Your Will Power “Broken”? Here’s Why…”

  1. Chontei Driver Says:

    In TOTAL agreement. A quote that comes to mind is, “The man at the top of the mountain did not fall there.” Like you mentioned, it’s take discipline, and your core beliefs have to coincide with your actions in order succeed in any venture. Well said, and thanks for sharing…CYD

  2. Thanks again VA. I have been firmly centered in believing that I can have the life that I want for a while now. And it really helped me figure out what was important to me, not just what was noise coming from the periphery. I try to leverage that belief system to move myself forward, even if its just a step at a time. I used to believe that with sheer will I should just immediately be able to run – with no obstacles. But I’ve really come to understand that will power helps, especially in those days when you’re belief system is shaken for one reason or another… but it is creating a belief system in the first place that allows will power to play a supporting role. Thanks for sharing these pieces of you.

  3. Welcome back VA and Happy New Year to you too! I’ve always been a believer that whatever you truly want to change…you simply have to change whatever habits/actions you’ve been doing to get a different result. I psych myself up by being “pregnant” often. (i.e. the only time I can remember having a distinct change of Yvonne’s course was when I was pregnant with my children). So now, I’m pregnant with possibilities often to get into a different mindset instantly and onward towards reaching goals without feeling guilty behind loss of willpower.

  4. Milo Edwards Says:

    Change the behavior and you change the result. Yes, Vince we must all embrace change and make the changes in our behaviors for the betterment of our lives and to grow forward. Going inward is where all the answers we desire exist. We must be honest with ourselves and move forward from there.

    Thank you for this post, your kindness and sharing with the universe.

  5. This is a great blog you got here. The theme looks nice, awesome color combination.

  6. Thank you for sharing your blog. You are absolutely right until you change your beliefs and I might add the image you hold as well, then change will not be lasting. athletics when interviewed state they overcame odds, or closed the game or pushed through pain because they believe they could. They also had an image of themselves as winners, successsful, victorious as well. Thank you for sharing.

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