Ever thought about why you simply can’t make something happen?
You’re on a diet, you’ve promised yourself you’re not gonna eat that ice cream that’s been waiting in your freezer. But here comes a rather stressful day, and all your resolution go out the window.
Why does that happen?
Why can’t we simply decide upon a course of action, and actually make it happen?
Well, there are two things you should consider:
The first is will power.
Will power seems like a rather vague concept, are you determined enough to make things happen? Or are you a wuss.
Well, it’s really not that simple.
You see, we all have a finite amount of will power.
For that matter, let’s say we all have “10” will power.
Each task, which does not constitute an ingrained habit (which, as we already know, takes no will power, it’s on “auto-pilot”), takes some of your will power.
Obviously, some tasks take more will power, and some take less.
For example – if I’m having a really hard time resisting an ice cream, that might use up “4” will power, out of the 10 I’ve got, in order to resist this temptation. While resisting the urge to watch T.V instead of writing this article, might use up only “1” will power, because well.. I’m not so fond of watching T.V.
Now, what happens when I use my entire allowance of “10” will power?
Well, it becomes practically impossible to resist temptations.
You feel drained and helpless in the face of your powerful urges and temptations.
The only way to regain our lost will power, is to rest.
Sleeping, power-napping etc.
By taking time to rest, you regain your “stamina” and give yourself a fighting chance against those upcoming temptations.
One more thing you should know – your finite amount of will power could actually grow. Each time you feel exhausted and still manage to resist your temptations, you increase the capacity of your will power, which is pretty cool.
Now, the second thing you should consider, is how hard the task really is.
As a human being, your mind is programmed to take the way of least resistance. That is, the easiest way that takes the least amount of energy on your behalf.
It makes sense, from an evolutionary perspective – conservation of energy.. etc. Though, when you’re trying to keep a strict diet, resisting that lovely double-chocolate fudge ice cream seems like mission impossible. Inevitably, you eat that ice cream, enjoy yourself momentarily, and cry yourself to sleep over the pounds you’ve gained (not really, I really hope that’s not the case!).
How can we prevent such an inevitable occurrence from happening?
Well, the answer is quite simple: You don’t keep such a delicious ice cream in your fridge in the first place!
That’s the manifestation of the law of least resistance.
You’re now really hungry, you go up to your fridge, and a nice bag of fresh broccoli looks up at you from the bottom shelf.
There’s nothing else to eat, you’re doomed.
So.. you end up eating that broccoli, thinking all along about that delicious ice cream that was there in the previous example.
What do you know!
You ate that broccoli, you’ve kept your diet strict and healthy, kudos!
But.. did you make it because of your amazing will power? Or simply because eating broccoli was easier than going to the supermarket and buying yourself another ice cream?
You already know the answer.
So, when you’re approaching a new goal, have 2 things in mind:
First, how can you “hack” your will power, so that you will have enough of it when you need to resist temptations? – Like, going to the gym first thing in the morning, before the world’s chaos descends upon you.
Second, how can you “hack” your mind so that the way of least resistance happens to be the healthier choice. Like – putting broccoli in your fridge, and not buying that ice cream in the first place.
Armed with this simple psychological knowledge, you can start making things happen!