How many of you have set New Years resolutions, Goals or made To-Do lists while you were excited to achieve something, only to realize a few days later that motivation has left the building and you start to skip a day or 2. Before you know it you are depressed, because of your lack of willpower to complete the tasks needed to achieve what you set out to do.
I’m sure 99% of you will be nodding .. it happens to all of us and there is a REASON it does. We tend to think that willpower will be enough to help us achieve anything, unfortunately that is not the case.
While we are all excited, pumped up or motivated we jump onto a project with enthusiasm and work as if there is no end to our energy and willpower, but as soon as the inbox fills up to 200 emails or your friends start a new group on Facebook our enthusiasm is gone and we just cannot get ourselves to do the things we JUST KNOW needs to be done.
The reality is we all have a limited supply of willpower. Scientific studies have proven this over and over again.
A group of people where split into 3 groups.
- Group 1 was told to just sit in a room for about 30 minutes
- Group 2 was told the same, but had to sit in a room with Choc Chip cookies and a some celery sticks and could eat what ever they felt like
- Group 3 (yip you guessed it) had to sit in a room for 30 minutes with a plate of Choc Chip Cookies and some celery sticks BUT could only eat the celery sticks
After the 30 minutes the 3 groups where asked to solve an “easy” math puzzle to see how quickly it could be done. I say “easy” because the puzzle was actually unsolvable 🙂
It was a test to see how long a group would struggle with a complicated puzzle after a certain amount of willpower has been used. Needles to say that group 3 lasted less than halve the time of the other 2 groups, purely because they spent so much willpower resisting the Choc Chip cookies.
So what do we do … how to we get around the issue of our Limited Willpower? The answer … HABITS!
When you form a habit the instruction in your brain is moved from the pre-frontal cortex to the basil ganglia … in short, in order to do the tasks required your brain uses a helluva lot LESS energy. This works, now we need to know how to form a Habit.
How to form a Habit
We all know the saying that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This was made famous (in my era of reading) by Maxwell Maltz in Psycho Cybernetics. The reality is that it takes a little more time nowadays to form a habit. According to Robin Sharma (author of the Monk who Sold his Ferrari) it takes in the region of 66 days for us to form a habit completely.
It does sound like a lot of time, but think what this investment in time will do for you. You will have created a habit, something you do automatically each day, that moves you closer to your goals and success. That is a FANTASTIC investment in you FUTURE SELF!
Off course this is GiganticAction and I have some tips to help you form your much needed habit.
Use your nature of “laziness” to create a Habit for Success
Let’s say your goals is to learn to play the guitar. You have always wanted to play an instrument and was “lucky” enough to stumble onto the wonderful online program. You buy it on the spot and with great excitement start the program. Here is what you do (while you are still full of enthusiasm):
- Commit (write it down if you have to) how much time you will be spending on learning this task each day
- Decide where you will be doing this (in the lounge, in your room etc)
- Make a note of what could prohibit you to do this (falling on the couch watching TV, Social Media etc)
- What is needed to do this task (comfortable chair, guitar, notes etc)
When this is complete I want you to do the following:
- Set a reminder on your phone (or what ever you use for a diary) to remind you of your “date” with your lessons. Set the alarm, let it make a noise
- Make sure your dedicated room has the chair ready and the guitar, notes etc standing right there (not in a cupboard somewhere)
- If TV is a problem for you, pull the plug out of the wall socket the night before, put an app on your phone blocking Social media for this blocked time .. you get the point. Make sure the distractions are already cancelled and it takes effort for the distraction to be switched on.
What will this achieve .. well according to human nature you will find anything effort if it takes more that 20 seconds to do. In this case you know what you want to do, when you want to do it, everything is set up and ready for you to give it a bash AND all your distractions will take more than 20 seconds to start up.
Actions = No Effort
Distraction = Effort
Very little Will Power is needed to do what you set out to do
Now you do this for +- 66 days and you have formed a HABIT!!!!
This will work in any scenario:
- loosing weight
- learning a skill
- dropping a bad habit (this is the best way to stop smoking!!)
- exercising more
- etc etc
Have fun and be sure to give me some feedback on your progress below.