“Where there’s a will there’s a way”. No way!
I’ve been thinking about willpower recently. I’m just one week in to a six week Liver Cleanse and Detox and it is taking some grit and determination to stick rigidly to it. Especially on a hot day as I walk past people eating ice creams and drinking cool pretty-looking beverages.
Do you have willpower? Are you the sort of human who has the self-control and drive to push through life and obstacles in good ways, perhaps starting with your early morning exercise and positive affirmations followed by some meaningful time with the family before leaving for a stress-free commute where you block out all annoyances as you read something to expand your mind?
Or maybe not. Do you look in the mirror each morning and yawn before making yourself presentable enough to face the world? As you rush out of the house you shout goodbye and grab a piece of toast then caffeinate your way through the tiresome journey to yet another day at work. “If only I had better willpower to get me through today” you say to yourself. Harshly.
If ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ were true then all New Year’s resolutions would come true and everyone who went on a diet and has shown that they have the will to lose weight would do so. Permanently.
Sadly, experience has probably taught you that intention means nothing and these well intentioned actions can be thwarted and you end up feeling like a failure. So know this; it is NOT because you lack willpower or are weak willed.
Speaking consciously, it highlights the need to develop a proper mindset, framework and systems to create the actions and habits to enable you to succeed. Plus a really compelling reason WHY.
Recent research reveals that people who think willpower is unlimited tend to do better at tasks that require self-control than those who don’t. The key is in self-control rather than some rather unfathomable ability to tap into your ‘will’.
Certainly, wearing my therapist hat here, it is true that ‘will’ or willpower does reside at your subconscious level. The prefrontal cortex creates and regulates logic, reason, willpower, voice, decision making and good judgment in the brain. It can regulate emotional responses because it adapts to solve problems (caused by the emotional responses of the subconscious).
This is why people talk about rewiring your brain. This is not too far from the truth as neural pathways (through the RAS or Reticular Activating System) are reinforced via repeated emotional responses that lead to actions.
Early life emotional trauma or a stacking of emotional ‘triggers’ can then effectively sabotage things we want to achieve. Emotion will always overcome logic.
Then you can get caught in a frustrating loop of resolution/intention that is underpinned by the unhelpful belief that, ‘If only I had enough willpower I could push through this and succeed’ or worse, “I’m too weak willed to do this!”, that results in failure or falling short of the mark. In reality, you need to introduce new, better, suggestions at a subconscious level to rewire your brain and redefine the emotional responses you are having and by extension to change the desired action.
So, willpower be damned! Your solution is consciously to develop your self-control and systems or if you want to dig deeper to reset your mindset at a subconscious level to harness the power of your will. That is true power!
Want to reset your mindset? Check out my book Reset! https://amzn.to/2F2pKd0
Want to Ignite your leadership? Check out my chapter in Ignite Your Female Leadership https://amzn.to/32egnON