You might be surprised to learn that your lack of willpower is not the problem. That’s right willpower is not your problem. The real problem is that you’re not taking the time to make the choices that will help you reach your goals.
That sounds so simple but it”s true. Some people might disagree with that but let me explain.
For years I have struggled with the consequences of my bad decisions — both in health and in finances. On my journey to health, I’ve beat myself up day after day and often exhaustively concluded that I lacked the willpower to succeed.
Talk about self sabotage!
Willpower comes down to making the right choice but the problem is that we are often walking through life on auto-pilot and instead of stopping to think about making the right choice, our sub-conscious mind decides for us. Habits become second nature and therefore we continue to make some of the same decisions time after time although it directly contradicts what we want and desire.
We think about what we want but unless we also think about how we’re going to get there our busy mind takes over and chooses for us by doing what we’re already so used to doing.
That’s why I absolutely love a technique I have learned during my journey to optimal health. Notice I didn’t refer to is as my weight loss journey. Weight loss is not the goal — optimal health is — so instead of focusing on what I don’t want (being fat — problem-solving orientation), I’m focused on what I do want (optimal health — outcome orientation). The following technique can help you in all areas of your life and I have already benefited from it immensely!
It’s called STOP! CHALLENGE! CHOOSE!
Here’s how it works:
Suspend all action, take a deep breath, and center yourself.
This is a crucial step in the process because when you stop yourself before making a mindless decision, you’re able to regain control of the thought process.
I have found that when I’m about to do something I know I shouldn’t do — like eat a double cheeseburger with a large fry — I have only ONE chance to stop myself in my tracks. Once I’ve already made the decision –either sub-consciously or not — it’s a done deal. In other words, even though I know I’m making a mistake, once the decision is made I rarely change my mind. That was a life changing realization!
That’s the power of choice!
Therefore I have found that stopping myself before I’ve made a decision is CRITICAL TO MY SUCCESS!
Ask yourself what is causing you to want or do whatever it is? Then ask yourself what you really want.
In this step I think it’s important to know what your fundamental goals are. In your case you want to get out of debt, better control your spending, save for retirement etc. By asking yourself if that purchase will put you closer to your goals it allows you to make a conscious decision to do what you know you should do because reaching your goal is more important to you than the instant gratification you’ll experience if you buy the item.
Now it’s time to choose. Do you want to reach your goals? Hopefully after giving your decision some thought, you will have come to the conclusion that reaching your goals is most important to you.
I should point out that where you are today directly reflects the decisions you’ve made up until now. That’s important to understand because buying one impulse purchase or eating one chocolate chip cookie won’t kill you, but it’s many of those decisions added up over time that has put you where you are. Try to avoid justifying one bad decision as if it won’t affect you down the road because it will.
— based on The Habits of Health written by Dr. Wayne Andersen
I hope this technique helps you gain control of your impulses so that you can reach your goals and live the life you want rather than the life you’re forced to live because of your circumstances.
The choice is yours to make. Good luck! 😀
Weight loss update: Using this technique and others I have successfully and permanently lost 51.5 pounds in 14 weeks. Next week I should be in the 240’s which would be the first time since 2002. I currently weigh 252 down from 303.5 and I FEEL GREAT! My wife has also lost 39 pounds!! I only have 62 more pounds to lose to reach my goal weight of 190!