Want to change your life? Stop relying on willpower and do this instead.
I feel like we were all fed the same BS when we were younger – if you want to accomplish something you need to have willpower. If you’re trying to change your life and it’s not working, you might think to yourself, “I must not have enough willpower. I need to work harder.” But you just find yourself getting more tired and frustrated the harder you force yourself to work. Let me tell you why this is wrong!
You know when you’re working on a project for school or work and it’s just totally uninteresting and boring? That’s when you need willpower. But have you ever worked on a passion project where time just flew by and you finished it almost effortlessly? As if you didn’t have to exert any willpower whatsoever to make it happen? The difference is working on something that you are excited about and really want versus something that doesn’t align with what you really want to be doing. So what does this mean if you want to change your life and go after some big goals?
If you feel like you’re forcing yourself to work on something or asking yourself to dig deeper for more willpower then you’re not working on the right thing for you. In other words – you need to re-evaluate what it is that you truly want.
In my experience, if you want to change your life and accomplish your goals you need to get crystal clear on what you want first. Not what you think you want, not what your family or friends want, not what you wanted a year ago, but what you truly want now. What sets your heart on fire, what excites your soul, what drives you to work tirelessly without force? That’s what you need to identify if you want to change your life and turn those dreams into reality.
You can exert all the willpower you want, but without knowing exactly where you want to go you’ll just be spinning your wheels.
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How to get what you want and change your life
1. Get clarity
2. Get detailed
1) Get clarity
If you have some goals you’ve set for yourself but every time you go to work on them you feel the urge to watch TV instead (after all you’ve had a long day and you’re tired, amiright?!), or you choose to hang out with friends and save the work for another time, most people would say the problem is you’re just lacking willpower. But I know from personal experience that this isn’t the case. The real problem is that you’re not working on something that really excites you. You’re not driven. You’re not motivated. You don’t have a clear vision in your mind for what you’re working for that drives you.
Until you have a clear vision in your mind of what you want, you won’t be motivated to achieve it and therefore will be exerting willpower and force constantly, spinning your wheels and growing tired and frustrated. Sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me! Once I took the time to figure out what I wanted (detailed in my Soul Connection Guidebook below) I was able to set goals and timelines, crushing them with what seemed minimal effort.
Last year I spent 2 weeks meditating, journaling, and narrowing in on my focus to become a full time freelancer. This year I spent a few weeks really getting clear on how I wanted to help others and share the freedom and flexibility that freelancing has brought me with other women. I landed on becoming a coach for women who are ready to leave their 9-5 jobs for flexible freelance careers, just like myself.
What is it that you truly want? Take the time to get clear on it, I promise it will make a world of difference when it comes to getting work done and changing your life permanently.
2) Get detailed
Once you’ve gotten clear on what it is that you want you need to get even more detailed. Your goal should be so detailed that you can visualize it so clearly it gives you butterflies. Go into as many senses as you can, touch, sight, taste, smell, sounds. Your goal should also connect to a feeling – how do you want to feel? Free? Abundant? Grateful? Adored?
When I decided to become a full time freelancer I wrote out a vision for what I wanted my life to look like. It took up an entire word doc page. Get detailed! I talked about the industry, the type of clients I wanted to work with, the work life balance I wanted to have, where I would work, when I would work, how I would work, how I wanted to feel (free!), etc. When I wrote down my vision for being a coach I did the same thing and got super specific, even reaaalllyy narrowing down who I wanted to work with – women who are ready to settle down and start families and want to transition from 9-5 jobs to freelance careers that provide the flexibility and freedom they desire.
3) Commit, commit, commit!
Something I ask all potential clients before working with them is on a scale from 1-10, how committed are you to achieving your goals that we’ve discussed. Their answer tells me if they’re ready to invest in themselves and work with someone like me to take the steps to achieve their goals. When you commit to something you are choosing to make it happen and not looking back. There is no plan B, there is no other option. Your plan IS going to work.
The beauty behind fully committing to something is your vision seems to come to life. You’re so dedicated to making it happen that it feels as though it’s already happened, as though you’ve already achieved it and your motivation skyrockets.
Part of committing fully is defining your reason WHY. It’s having a well-defined reason that drives you and excites you. It needs to be very compelling and inspiring. It’s the reason you will work hard and accomplish your goals no matter what gets in your way. If you have this reason, then nothing will deter you from changing your life and achieving your goals. Do you have this reason yet? If not, you need to think about it before you can fully commit.
So how do you fully commit to something?
1. Get invested
2. Set real deadlines
3. Get accountable
1) Get invested
When you invest in your goals, you make it harder to quit because you’ve got skin in the game. You have something on the line, more to lose. It may be scary to invest, but the more you do, the more likely you are to follow through on your commitments. Think about it – say you want to be a photographer but you have no idea where to start. The first step should probably be hiring a teacher or taking a course. Let’s say you pay $1,000 to take an in-depth photography course. Life starts to get busy – do you slack off and stop taking the course? Hell no! You paid $1,000 for it! There’s no way you’re not going to finish that course! What if you only paid $50 for it? What if it was free? Do you see a difference? We tend to place less value on things that are free or cheap.
If you’ve gotten clear on what you want and you’re ready to fully commit, allow yourself to invest in it. If the investment amount feels scary, then you know you’ve got something to lose and it’s probably the right amount to invest. If this is truly what you want then you’ll see a return on your investment. Now I’m not saying be dumb with your money, folks. Be smart, invest in something you’ve fully thought through and really want. Do your research before spending and check return policies, reviews, etc.
2) Set real deadlines
Set deadlines and stick to them! Have self-integrity so that when you tell yourself you’re going to do something by this date, you do it! A real deadline isn’t someday. It isn’t when you’re “feeling ready,” it’s an actual date that you feel you can accomplish something by. When you set deadlines and don’t stick to them then it becomes easier not to stick with future deadlines and then deadlines become meaningless. Keep your word and do what you say you’re going to do. When you fully commit to something, make sure you set real deadlines with actual dates and goals attached to them. You can’t change your life when you can’t even keep promises to yourself.
3) Get accountable
Accountability can take many forms. You can ask a friend to be your accountability partner to help hold you to your word, goals and deadlines. You can publicly announce your goals on Facebook, your blog, social media, or all of the above so that you feel more inclined to follow through now that everyone knows your plans. And you can share your plans with people who care about you so that they can support you along the way while acting as accountability buddies. Sharing your goals is important because it ensures you have other people who are counting on you to keep your word. You don’t want to let them down and you certainly don’t want to let yourself down!
Tell me, have you been spinning your wheels trying to exert willpower? Have you experienced what it’s like to find clarity and all of a sudden the work flows effortlessly? Let us know in the comments!