Monday, November 8, 2021 — So, what do you want to do? 

Lose weight? Make more money? Learn a new language? Get better grades? Improve your physique?

You've tried willpower and found it doesn't work. So you blame yourself. 

Here's a clue: Willpower, alone, is one of the worst ways to get things done. In fact, the highly successful people often consider it little more than an afterthought. 

Here are 8 key words that will get you moving towards success without relying solely on willpower. Number 8 will surprise you, so watch to the very end. 

1. Impediments

    Impediments are things that get in your way. 

    Let's say you want to lose weight. Let me ask you: What is in your refrigerator right now? High carb, high calorie food? That's an impediment. Make it go away. I know, throwing away perfectly good food is painful, but eating it is not how you make it disappear. 

    What about people? Are they impediments?

    We all have those people in our lives who love to tell us why something can't (or shouldn't) be done. Ignoring them is not an option. They will always be there. Try this instead: Don't talk to them about your goals. When I owned a successful direct mail business, people would often ask me what I did for a living. I didn't talk about. 

    Trying to save for retirement? Don't rely on willpower. Rather, take inventory of your household expenses and start trimming. Can you make due with a cheaper phone plan? Do you really need cable TV? Is it going to kill you to skip McDonalds and eat cheaper food at home?

2. Incentives

    Stock your cupboard with food that fits your game plan. 
    Stock your 'friend cupboard' with people who are supportive.
    No willpower needed. 

    If we're talking finances, take a look at your credit score. Ask yourself what you can do to boost it a bit. Use credit cards? Choose one that pays you to pay your balance. Here's a tip: I pay off my credit cards every week without fail. It improves my credit score, eliminates interest, and instead of me paying them interest, they pay me!  So, why not? I'm going to have to pay them eventually anyhow. 

3. Accessibility

    Make it easy to do what needs to be done.
    Make it difficult to do what needs not be done.

    Losing weight? Stock your fridge and cupboard with angels, not devils. You've seen those cartoons with an angel sitting on someone's shoulder and devil sitting on the other? Same principle. Think of potato chips as tempting devils whispering in your ear, "This one chip won't hurt." Got ice cream in the freezer? That's a devil saying, "Just a taste." 

    We surround ourselves with devils and expect to fight them off with willpower. 

4. Plan 

     This is where people with Asperger's excel. Spread sheets were made for Aspies. 

    A few months ago, we built a new deck on the back of our house.
We didn't just start hammering away. First, we decided the size of the
new deck. Next, we made a shopping list of materials. Finally, we started hammering away. 

    I asked a friend how he lost weight. He signed up for one of those
mail-order food programs. "I just ate the food," he said. How simple. 

    I figured I could set up my own meal program and bypass the cost of
a mail order plan.

    I made a spread sheet. It tells me what to eat on Monday, Tuesday, and so on. It's also my shopping list. How hard is that? No willpower required. Just eat the food when you schedule yourself to eat it. 

5. Reasonable

    Be reasonable. Want to lose 100 pounds by Thursday? That's not 
reasonable. What about a week from Thursday? That's still not reasonable.
    Want to get in shape?

    Chances are you're not going to have huge biceps this time next month. But you can make small changes that compound over time. And it really doesn't take a lot of willpower to make small changes on a daily basis. 
6. Visualize

    Think about a year from now. What will the date be? What, realistically, can you expect to accomplish in a year. Lose 50 pounds? Get your finances in order? Improve your physique with weight resistance? 

    This doesn't take willpower. It takes a creative mind and few second to write down reasonable goals. It takes little time to create a
daily meal plan, begin an exercise routine, or make a list of 
expenses to slash from your monthly budget. 

7. Harmonize

    Did you know your brain comes equipped with a personal motivator? 
It's a neurotransmitter called dopamine. You're already using it. That's
why you ate too many potato chips, too much pizza, and gorged on frosted donuts. You didn't require willpower to eat that stuff. You simply misused your dopamine to motivate you to do the wrong things. 

    Harmonize yourself with your dopamine. Get in sync. Don't let your dopamine run amok. You control it. Don't let it control you. Here's how...

    Food I eat must meet two criteria. First, it must like me and, second, I must like it. 

    It's like a friendship. I like donuts, but donuts don't like me. In fact, they're down right abusive. Suppose you had a good friend named Don that your really, really liked. But every time you met up, he'd punch you in the nose. Imagine you had a good friend named Donut that you really, really like. But every time you met up, he'd make you fat. 

    But I do like black grapes and they like me. They feed me resveratrol and vitamin K. Black grapes and I have a good friendship.

    Dopamine motivates me by making me feel good when I eat food that's good for me. 

    Dopamine makes me feel good when I pay off my credit cards each week. It makes me feel good when I complete my daily walk or workout session. 

8. Willpower

    Willpower is not a bad thing. It's just not the main thing.

    The reason willpower doesn't work is because we are working against it. We stock our shelves with carbs and sugar, then try to use willpower not to eat it. 

    Plan an exercise routine based on activities you like to do. Your 
neurotransmitter called dopamine is on standby. Now, all you need is a
very small amount of willpower to replace Facebook with weight lifting, 
taking a walk, paying off your credit cards, eating the right food at the 
right time and so on. 

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