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willpower_cropWillpower is defined as strong determination. But sometimes as determined as we are, we struggle with maintaining the “willpower” to achieve our goals. It’s certainly not for a lack of wanting something, so what holds us back? What causes us to sabotage ourselves and prevents us from moving forward?

One of our greatest roadblocks to success is often fear – whether conscious or subconscious. Having to deal with change, the unknown, and leaving the security of what we’re familiar with – as uncomfortable as it may be – can definitely hold us back from achieving success (however we define it).

So, how do we overcome our fear?

Start by asking yourself what achieving your goal means to you. What does it represent? Then ask yourself what changes will occur in your life if you achieved your goal, and be sure to include both the positive and the negative changes.

Next, examine how you feel about the changes; identify what a particular change, positive or negative, means for you. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, some positive changes may be that you’ll feel better, you’ll be healthier, you’ll enjoy clothes shopping again. Negative changes may be you can’t eat whatever you want, you have to make the time to exercise, you won’t be able to mindlessly snack, or possibly, you’ll start receiving attention that feels uncomfortable for you. On the surface, the positive changes may feel good but those negative changes may be enough for you to sabotage your success.

The real work comes in when you dive into what all of the changes mean for you. Those negative changes of not being free to eat whatever you want, needing extra time, and receiving that attention may be enough to stop you cold if you’re not aware of them.

Also, while the positive changes, such as feeling better, being healthier, and enjoying shopping are exciting, what happens when you’re there? What changes in your life will occur because you’re happy, healthy and dressing nicely? Does it take you to a place where you may have to face some more significant and potentially scarier changes? Something that may completely disrupt life as you’ve known it? Will the changes have you face the fact that you’re unhappy in your marriage, your job, or quite simply you want or need something new?

Life is about growth and change. Unhappiness is caused by stagnation. As a living organism we’re meant to evolve. However, evolution means leaving the comfort of what we’ve known for the unknown. Without a doubt, it’s difficult to realize that eventually, we will adapt to the change, and then, that will be the new “normal.”

But think about it – you’ve experienced change all of your life, and while those changes may have felt awkward and uncomfortable at first, each change eventually brought you to a new level of success… until the next goal came into sight. (Just think of crawling to walking to running to understand what I mean.) Crawling did the trick until you realizeed how much faster you can get somewhere by walking. Walking worked just fine until you figured out running could get you there faster. See what I mean?

Unfortunately, at some point in our lives, the feelings associated with fear may have taken over our willingness to take risks. So, if it’s willpower you’d like to harness again, how about strengthening your resolve to staying committed to making change?

Have you let fear prevent you from making changes? Have you overcome your fears and are now enjoying a new phase in your life? We’d love to know, comment and share!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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February 2023