In my last post on will power, I suggested – nay, shouted to the heavens – that will power is not a necessary ingredient in the recipe for success.
Will power is a casual boyfriend – fun when he’s around but temporary, fickle, and mercilessly short-term. Trying to build your longterm plans on this kind of foundation is a bad, bad, BAD idea. (If this is your thing, we can talk about heterosexual dating in another post, Dear Reader.)
However you can harness the energy of will power, when it deigns to pay you a visit, and use that energy to set up systems that will serve your purpose and help you achieve your goals. Automate will power, if you will.
Steve Pavlina (I’m new to the blog world but I think he’s the male, online Oprah of personal development) writes much the same thing in his blog, Personal Development for Smart People:
“Don’t try to tackle your problems and challenges in such a way that a high level of willpower is required every day. Willpower is unsustainable. If you attempt to use it for too long, you’ll burn out. It requires a level of energy that you can maintain only for a short period of time… in most cases the fuel is spent within a matter of days.”
When will power pays you a visit and sings his siren song of potential achievement, use that moment of motivation to make a plan, assemble all the resources and execute. Now. Right now. I said NOW, soldier.
Use will power to set up a self-perpetuating, sustainable lifestyle ecosystem. You’ll grow into your goals organically, because you’ve designed your environment for success..
You don’t need will power to achieve your goals. Will power is useful to fuel your initial plan, but ultimately it exhausts itself quickly. Instead of relying on fuel that is only temporarily available, build yourself a self-fueling system of daily habits that will move you towards your goals automatically.
I know, I know – this is not a sexy prescription. But think of it like software: good software, the kind you like to use, just works. No bells, no whistles, no drama, no random error messages.
It is just a boring system that does what you want, when you want, and helps you produce what you choose.
Eff will power. Design your life. Build a boring system that works.
The Will Power Series: