What to do when willpower ... won't (It's time for a vision test)

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What to do when willpower … won’t

“I wanted to reach that goal so badly. But now I’m just tired of it all.”

You’ve shown such discipline for so long. Now, you’re wearing out your willpower.

The habits you once maintained so faithfully have become an unsustainable burden.

You feel like quitting, but you don’t want to lose your dream.

We’ve all been there. Many times.

Here’s a two-part vision test to help you find your way back again:

1️⃣ Re-evaluate the goal you’re working toward.

Ignore for the moment how you expect to reach the goal, or even whether you still believe that you can. For now, simply ask yourself if it still is a goal you would like to achieve. Do you want it for its own sake, or only so that it will bring you closer to something else? Even if it is only a step toward a larger vision, do you still truly want to reach it?

If the goal is no longer compelling, maybe it’s time to find a different goal … and maybe a different set of habits.

2️⃣ Re-evaluate where you are now.

Your current situation may be very different from what it was when you began this habit.

❔ Have you made progress toward your goal? Recognize that! Failure to celebrate successes is one big reason people fail to maintain their habits. Take some time to celebrate the difference between where you started and where you are now. You may find renewed energy, eliminating the need to use your willpower.

❔ Have other conditions changed? Take notice of what’s different. Be clear on the latest gap between where you are now and the goal you want to reach. You may find new energy to pursue the goal, or you may discover that there are different actions you want to take to help you get there.

❔ Are you still in the same place as when you started? If you’ve been faithful with habits, but you aren’t seeing progress, then you might need to choose different habits. Treat everything as an experiment, and feel free to change things up. Try some new ideas, and be willing to accept that those might not work, either.

In his book The Path of Least Resistance, author Robert Fritz refers to this as the structural tension between your current reality and your desired results. When you gain new clarity on where you are vs. where you want to be, giving attention to the difference between them can surface new energy to draw you to your goals when willpower won’t.

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