Willpower: So last century!

I’m not sure if you’re up with Psychology fashions, but here is the current one. And I’m not meaning to be glib: it’s pretty good.

Willpower is over. If you’re forcing yourself to do something, it’s probably not going to last and if it does, it probably won’t be fun (or ever have a sense of ease about it, if the word ‘fun’ makes you grind your teeth).

The new fashion is about habits and organising your life so you don’t have to use ‘how you feel’ (pesky emotions)- you just get on with stuff. The less we have to think and decide about menial things the more we have our ‘deciding energy’ for creative and enjoyable things like relationships and the interesting parts of our day.

Let me give you an example: If you ask yourself, “Should I go to the gym?” and you start weighing the pros and cons, you are expending energy and perhaps attaching negative effort to the whole process, so not only are you potentially not going to get to the gym, now it has also taken on a negative association. If this was a habit… on Tuesday morning, I set an alarm and I go to the gym. You get to the gym and you also don’t overthink it (no association). Maybe it sounds like I’m advocating automaton behaviour and that naturally sounds like a bad thing, but generally we get stressed when we have made more than enough decisions for the day and we are just over thinking about any more things. So, I’m advocating expending your energy in the right place to keep your stress down and not wasting your energy on decisions that can just have a simple habit attached. Once you’ve thought about something and come up with a good plan- just do it and don’t over-complicate.

Yes, I know there are a lot of “but what if…” yes, do swerve to miss the car on the road in front of you, even if you weren’t planning to swerve etc. but not overthinking in general will give you more ‘in the moment’ energy to do the swerving when and if it happens! (this is a metaphor)

Organisation is more simple: just arrange yourself, your life and other people to help you glide through (help them too- don’t be a narcissist). If you are having trouble jogging everyday (if that’s your thing) get a jogging buddy- and you won’t overthink it. If you don’t want to eat all the biscuits in the house- don’t buy biscuits (or at least get the person who has biscuits to keep them out of your reach) but you get the picture.

If things just ‘keep happening’ that you don’t want to happen, try to organise the world so that something else happening is more likely. Organise your life so the path you want is the path of least resistance.

(Alright, I’ll go do my marking. But I don’t want to! And I had you all thinking I was perfect…)

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