There are many theories about willpower. One says it’s like a muscle. Invariably, true. By building good habits, we strengthen ourselves…from ourselves. Another theory likens willpower to a battery…a battery that needs to be recharged regularly. After all, when we’re “recharged” we make better decisions compared to when we’re tired, stressed, ill-prepared, and…surrounded by temptations. But, this only explains one part of the “fall”.
Before we dig in, let’s get clear on the two types of mistakes that keep us from reaching our goals — intentional mistakes and unintentional mistakes. Unintentional mistakes stem from things like ignorance, hearsay, unproven theories, gimmicks, superstitions, misleading information, fancy marketing. Our unintentional mistakes are more easily remedied. Knowledge, here, empowers us to make better decisions.
The intentional mistakes, though, get into our psyche, drive us crazy, make us feel bad about ourselves, and have a tendency to trap us in a body (or job, relationship…situation) that we weren’t meant to be (or stay in). This is your “I ate a doughnut (or three) yesterday (or every damn day last week)!” even though your goal — your true, honest-to-goodness, deepest desire — is to transform your body. These are our proverbial “fall off the wagon” self-sabotaging moments.
The frequency and magnitude of our self-sabotaging moments relate to which side of the transformation spectrum we are currently positioned — or have been positioned in the not-so-distant past.
I’ve heard people say they wouldn’t hire a trainer that is in “too good” of a shape. Their concern is that a fit trainer won’t understand where they are coming from. Absurd as it may seem to hire a homeless real estate agent…a financial advisor in personal bankruptcy…or someone to get you in shape that is not in shape, there is some validity to these positions — people who are standing in attainment act differently than those who are not.
For example, donuts. I could be at my most tired, stressed, frazzled, failing and I would never bite into a doughnut. Never EVER. A dozen freshly-made Dunks (a.k.a. Dunkin’ Donuts for you non-Bostonians) in front of me ALL DAY LONG and I wouldn’t touch them. Not even tempted. In fact, I would go to great lengths and hunger before succumbing to even a morsel. Now, before you start hating on me, realize this:
- It’s not that I dislike the taste of donuts.
- It’s not that I cannot afford donuts (especially if I’m hypothetically surrounded by them…)
- It’s not that I have a high tolerance for being hungry or do not get hungry frequently and ferociously. (I believe those Snickers commercials were patterned off me.)
- It’s not that my willpower is superior to anyone who decides to eat a donut or makes whatever decision that is knowingly misaligned with his or her goal or desire.
So, what is it? When it comes to donuts, I’m more fearful than greedy. My fear of loss overpowers my greed of gain. This is what makes transformation difficult. Until you have something to “lose”, eating that donut is only seen as a “gain”.
Once you are in attainment (e.g. a desired house, physique, baby, job, relationship), you want to keep it. Your actions stem from here. You buy insurance, an alarm system, a ring…or a membership to the best fitness studio in town! You work hard to keep and protect. Your fear of loss actually assists your willpower because it prevents you from acting out of greed for the gain. You fear the negative consequences more than you enjoy the gain. Balance is important, though. Obviously, too much fear can lead to an assortment of unhealthy behaviors as well.
When temptation strikes, our ego engages in a dialogue with our higher self. It is not because we are inherently weak or inferior that we struggle with temptation, it is largely due to our positioning to our goals and desires. This is where the mental work becomes as important as the physical. Until that goal or desire becomes attained in your mind, you will notice these falls are more frequent and devastating. There are positive tools to help you overcome and mitigate these falls until you are mentally positioned with attainment. Star Coaching is one of them.
Join Star’s Locker in the movement to take fitness to healing, strength, and empowered living. Your presence is desired and your presence is required to Dream Big and Desire More.