Several months ago, we heard (literally, if you listened to the interview) from Dr. Benjamin Hardy. Ben is a coach who has been a great help in my becoming a better version of myself.
In this issue, I'll focus on one particular idea he mentioned in that interview. I recently made this the topic of my monthly message to the managers of La Estancia de Cafayate, my home in Argentina.
Will Power Doesn't Work!
That's the title of Ben's recent book (also note his other books down the page), and one of his central themes.
Have you tried to:
Get up one hour earlier every morning?
Exercise every day or 3 or 4 days per week?
Stop eating chocolate, or stop drinking coffee?
Has it worked? Many people find that they gradually slip back into old patterns after a few days or a few weeks. Is that you?
Old habits are hard to change. We live in patterns. It’s natural for humans to do that.
Here’s a way that works
Make a decision! Once you’ve made a firm decision, never deviate from it. If you’ve decided not to eat chocolate, you don’t ever eat chocolate – not on your birthday – not on someone else’s birthday – not on Christmas – never!. You live by the decision 100% of the time and never consider anything else.
The difficulty for most people is that they’re constantly plagued by “decision fatigue”. They have to decide at every turn if now is one of the times they eat the chocolate. You must close off all alternatives to your new way of being. The decision is made, and it’s final. You never look back. Will power has nothing to do with it! You never have to decide again.
Struggling to change a pattern in your life? I would love to hear how this suggestion helps you. It's certainly relieved me of much decision fatigue. In recent months I've:
- Taken a one-minute cold shower every morning.
- Risen every morning at the time I decided on the night before. On every workday, unless something unusual happened the night before, it's 5:00 AM.
- Fasted for 24 hours each week.
- Written in my journal every day. In the evening I review the day and plan the next day. In the morning I review my sleep pattern, the new day's plan, my “future self” plan, and my gratitude.
These are all significant changes in my previous patterns. I was able to incorporate them with very little difficulty, simply by deciding to, with commitment. Eliminating in my mind any other alternative.