Willpower doesn’t work

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Have you ever tried to use willpower to make yourself do something? It never works long term. Sure it might help for a bit, but it never lasts.

Trying to lose weight, just willpower yourself past those delicious, freshly baked maple bars today…and next week have two. After all, you lost a pound.

Have the most time wasting, life sucking project to complete at work? Just willpower yourself through…and then dread every follow up item that spins out of that project.

Dread going to the dentist because who can stand those sounds and let’s not even talk about the picking and scraping. Willpower through it….and continue to put off your next appointment in 6 months requiring even more dental work.

So often we rely on willpower to make it through the drudge of life, but did you know you don’t have to? True story.

Your mind’s job is to protect you from danger, but it does not understand the different between physical and emotional danger so whenever it feels a negative feeling, it tries to get you to run the other way. This is why we try to willpower our way through things we don’t want to do, but it never works long term. It can totally help you short term, but after that it’s no good to you.

Instead or relying on willpower, I say just be willing to feel the negative emotion. When you actually feel your emotions, it’s not as bad as your mind thinks it’s going to be.

I promise you if you are willing to feel miserable for a few weeks until your body stops craving sugar, you can move past the misery and easily pass on the maple bars.

Feel the dread of your crappy work projects and once the dread passes, get to work and feel proud that you did the hard thing and know the worst thing that can happen is feeling dread again, but now you know what it feels like and that you will survive so bring on the dread.

Feel anxious about the nice lady that scrapes all the maple bars out of your team and know that next time you can get happy gas so maybe you want to go back sooner. JK. They put a limit on how much happy gas you can get…so I’ve heard.

But you get my point. Willpower will only work for so long. At a certain point, you have to put on your adult pants and deal with what’s really going. And after you have felt misery and dread and anxiety enough times, you can get over your thought causing it and start viewing things in a new way that feels great and helps you create the life you want.

So next time you feel like you are running out of willpower, know that you are and it’s time to start feeling those negative feelings. You’re welcome.

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Lindsay Lyman Avatar

Hey, I’m Lindsay Lyman

I spent the last 11 years growing my career at one of the largest tech companies in the world. I’ve built teams, launched new products, and created my own jobs. As a certified coach, I teach people how to manage the noise in their head to feel motivated and valued at work again.

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