Willpower doesn’t work. We all know the feeling of setting big, exciting goals but falling short despite hard work. After enough failure, it’s easy to conclude that you are the problem. But what if it was not your fault?
Willpower is the power to exert your free will against internal or external obstacles. According to psychological research, your willpower is like a muscle. It’s a finite resource that depletes with use. Therefore, by the end of a strenuous day, your willpower muscles are exhausted and you’re left with zero self-control.
If you need to exert willpower to do something, there is an obvious internal conflict. It means your desire for your goals isn’t strong enough and you aren’t invested in yourself and your dreams. It also comes from a challenging environment that opposes your goals.
To achieve a goal you need to make a committed decision by:
- 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.
Rather than relying solely on your own internal strength, true commitment involves building external defence systems around your goals.
For example, if you want to eat healthy, remove all unhealthy foods from your house. If you want to be more motivated, take on greater responsibility and increase the stakes for both success and failure.
You can design your worldview by shaping your external inputs:
- the information you consume
- the people you surround yourself with
- the places you go
- the experiences you have.
You must proactively shape your environment to have the life you want so you can subsequently shape your thoughts and behaviors.