Will-power is an old sage who lives in the brain. He promises to inflict serious kung-fu pain on any laziness that dare approach – as soon as his post-sugar high stupor wears off. Poor lonely brain sage, abandoned, with only a volleyball for a friend; so wise, and yet, your dog’s worming schedule is a more gripping tale than anything he has begged or beguiled.
Will-power’s horrendous track record is this: Of the 70% of Americans who made a New Year’s Resolution this year, 92% of them will fail before the end of January. I have any idea why.
Like everything in our world, will-power has duality – night and day stuff. An angel and a devil hover above your shoulders. The angel, our disheartened sage, jealously guards the blue print of your dreams. He sets them up carefully into your future, breaking down large goals into small accomplishments, and steers you confidently toward your dreamy end.
His nemesis, a little horned devil complete with unoriginal trident possesses a care factor of zero as to whether you achieve anything. The devil wants to get through today using any means necessary. His preferred religion is the pleasure channel and regards stress, pain and discomfort like they were holy water, garlic and salt.
The set-up here is an old, old metaphor. The cast of characters looks like this.
The hero: the impotent Sage
The villain: the Devil
You: their play thing
Resistance: The Shape Shifter
The goal: Stay focused on the Sage’s plan. You are the Sage. Follow his guiding light, and when everything goes pear-shaped – because it will – have an atomic bomb-proof plan to fall back on. Don’t let the devil tear down everything you work so hard to establish, even if it’s because he says he’s bored and there’s nothing on TV.
Here’s how to be the 8 percent – the winning end of the resolution spectrum.
The day you run out of time to cook, the fridge is empty, or the banks of the river broke, isolating you from your organic health food store and your personal trainer Julio, don’t self-destruct!
Make contingency plans. Write them down. I can’t tell you how many times I answered an unhealthy craving with a delicious recipe that I had written down in a notepad titled, recipies to save my sorry ass. Have basic ingredients stocked all the time! I divided the notepad into sections according to what taste I craved – sweet, salt, creamy etc. As for stress, how do you behave when it gets the better of you? Is there a way to process your stress and stay on track with your goals?
Get all Abraham Lincoln on your goals and shout: prepare prepare prepare!
Easy Wins the Race
Large and juicy goals are the little devil’s bread and butter. Like the marshmallow man in Ghost Busters, success in will power lies in breaking large things down. Conquer every mountain with small steady steps. If I go hard into a resolution I will fail 100 percent of the time. Prepare, my Padawan. Ease into it with stealth.
Love the Resistance
Fact: When you improve yourself, it will be met with resistance. The disguises which resistance use are infinite, though popular ones include stress, sickness, lethargy, and lack of support from those we love. The closer you get to achieve your goals, the stronger resistance will try to push you back. What a game! Can you recognise how resistance foiled your resolutions in the past?
Admiral Akbar identifies resistance and shouts, “It’s a trap!”
“Persist, you must,” Yoda whispers to me far too often.
We are creatures of habit. Your life is a vinyl record (noun: a round, flat object humans used to play recorded music with in the olden days). Each groove is a ritual, a song you re-play every single day. It might be your morning routine, coffee, checking messages, the news etc. Another song might play the way you prepare and enjoy your meals. When rituals or habits are repeated deepening the groove, and it becomes harder for us to break out of them. Now you can see why it takes so much focus to forge a new habit and stay on track. In time, after a thousand repetitions, the new groove becomes deep enough for us to relax our grip a little.
Will-power success depends on forethought, strategy, easing into the new habits and welcoming confrontations that ask us to prove our commitment we have to ourselves.
The Game of Your Life
It’s all it is my friends, your own 3D Tomodatchi Life. Write the words to your anthem. Be exactly who you want to be, because you can.
Do what you want to do Be what you want to be yeah…