Ever tried to make a change in your life but continued to struggle without success?
Maybe you were trying to get on a new schedule by waking up at 6 a.m. every morning. You recently read a blog post about the habits of successful people and even had a friend tell you their life changed after they made the shift. So you’re motivation is high and you go for it!
You set your alarm and are up at 6 a.m. and it feels great! You are getting all your work done and feeling amazing. Sure you’re a little sleepy because you still can’t quite get to sleep on time but you push on. Perhaps you’re even able to do it for a week straight.
But then, the weekend arrives and you sleep in. You wake up feeling more refreshed than you have all week! You really needed the extra sleep! The next week – you’re committed to get back on schedule but it starts to get more difficult. As your motivation wanes, the 6 a.m. alarm gets pushed to 6:30 and then 7 and by the end of the second week you’re back at your original rising time of 8 a.m.
The fact is….you were never properly set up for success! The primary driving forces applied in this scenario above are motivation and willpower. And that’s a big problem.
Your motivation doesn’t stay constant. It’s much more like a ‘wave’ than a straight line. So in reality, you will always be alternating between periods where your motivation is high (and it’s easier to take action) and periods where it’s much lower (making it more difficult to follow through). In addition, your willpower is a finite resource. Depending on how your days go and what challenges you face, you may not have any left in your reserves to wake up the next day at 6 a.m.
So if the goal is to wake up at 6 a.m. for a week? Sure…you can make that happen. But long term? It’s not happening.
And the reason is that long term change requires more than just willpower and motivation.
So what do you do?
You take into consideration a key missing component, one that you may not have considered: A shift in your beliefs. You see, in order to make a real change – one for the long term, you need to believe 3 things:
- Something must change – not that it ‘should’ or it ‘ought to’ but that it MUST. Waking up at 6 a.m. cannot be a nice to have. You have to feel absolutely determined. You want it. It must happen.
- YOU must change it. You and only YOU are responsible for your own change. You can’t be looking for someone else to make the change for you. Having an external force motivate you may work for the short term but is likely to fail in the long term.
- You CAN change it. You have to have the steadfast belief that YOU CAN make the change. Without believing that it is possible for you to change, you stand no chance. I have a client that identifies with not being a morning person. Her constant association with not being a morning person only reinforces that fact making it extremely unlikely for her to be successful at making the change.
So the next time, you’re on the quest to make a change in your life, remember, willpower and motivation alone will not do it. You must make a shift in your beliefs.
Pooja Dang is a Life Coach specializing in helping her clients to design and build the life they love with the help of customized coaching sessions and straight up, no nonsense advice. Are YOU ready to reinvent yourself? Let’s get started!