Train Your Willpower Muscle

You don’t have to wait until the New Year or until Monday to make a change.

But it does help to think of Monday or a new year as a “blank slate” opportunity (find more about the forces that shape our decision on Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational).

This opportunity allows us to make or break behaviors. So let’s make the most out of it! 

I here to tell you that you don’t need to make resolutions. If you struggle with commitment or achieving your goals, then at this point you shouldn’t even set goals.

It sounds counterintuitive but it will make sense soon.

You can make 2017 a great year, and it all starts with small changes.

I will challenge you, and this will become a tool that you can use to train your willpower muscle.

Now let’s make some willpower "gainz"!

Testing Your Limits

Growth happens outside our comfort zone. We all have heard a version of this.

This means that if we are not uncomfortable, at least a bit, then we are not growing. So let’s get uncomfortable.

Here is the challenge:

I want you to pick one activity that you already do every day. Any habit that you already have. This can be drinking coffee, brushing your teeth first thing in the morning, reading the news, etc.

It can be anything that you do every day.

Preferably is something that you think you could not live without (usually coffee is in this category for a lot of people).

And now comes the uncomfortable part. I want you to skip that for a day. Just for a day, don’t complain!

You can replace coffee with tea.

Or you can brush your teeth after doing something else.

The key is that it has to be a habit that is already strongly established. It must be something you do every day, almost religiously.

Doing this will prepare you to do the impossible.

Really, you will be setting the stage for bigger things.

Because by creating this small disruption you will be taking the first step into breaking and making habits, but also you will prove to yourself that you can change. Even if it is for just 24 hours.

If there is a fundamental skill that I would like to perfect is the making/breaking habits one. Because your life is made by habits. Habits that you use as tools and resources, not habits that control you.

Impossible is What?

I thought that more than 4-5 hours without eating was a perfect excuse to be "hangry" and behave unconsciously. And now I can go by without eating for almost 24 hours. This year I plan to go beyond that mark.

I thought that, as an introvert, having enjoyable conversations with strangers was impossible. And now I’m able to do it in a second language and build meaningful relationships.

I thought that driving was a stressful activity where the only goal was to get to the destination as quickly as possible to be able to stop. And now I actually look forward to the time that I’m driving because I now created the habit of listening to podcasts while doing so.

You can also do the impossible. All you need to do is start small but start today.

It only needs to be impossible to you. It needs to be a big change for you. Don’t pay attention to anyone else.

To extroverts is not impossible to talk comfortably with strangers. And there is people that can do it in more than 3 languages.

There are people that can fast for a week or more.

Great for them! To me that was impossible. I focus on what means being uncomfortable and making changes to me.

And I do it because I want to offer the best version of myself to everyone around me.

What do you consider that is impossible for you? What makes you uncomfortable?

You could be doing it soon, take that small step and the magic will start to happen.

Start Small and Start Now

The only thing that is not possible is that which you don’t at least try.

Making willpower gains will allow you to start traveling the path of “the impossible”.

To summarize:

1)     Pick an activity that you do every day

2)     Don’t do it for a day

That’s it.

We’ll have more challenges coming up that will help you train your willpower and the skill to make/break habits.

It’s on you to put it to practice.

Learning and sharing knowledge are my passions, let’s connect if those are yours too.

Other recent and popular posts by Alejandro I. Sanoja: 

The Art of Tango Networking

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