Why Willpower Doesn’t Work!
So, you’re relying on sheer willpower to crush tonight’s craving for chips, salsa, and a nice cold beer are you? You’ll just dig deep and power through it because you’re strong like that…
And after all, it’s officially tomorrow—the day you said you’d start to be ‘good,’ so you really have no other choice…
Well, guess what? You’re going to need a better strategy.
Because I can confidently tell you willpower doesn’t work! Not for long anyway…
It’s impossible to create new healthy habits and behaviors if you’re relying on willpower. You’re simply setting yourself up for failure.
So, what should you do instead? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Because I’m going to teach you a little something called PPRR. This is a very, very simple four-step strategy that you can use today to start creating better habits and behaviors to actually help you along in your health and fitness journey.
Step 1: PLAN
Planning is really about figuring out what your weaknesses are and when they occur. Do you usually get cravings in the evening when you’re sitting on the couch vegging? Do you usually eat poorly at lunch time? Figure out the times of day you fall off the wagon so to speak and also figure out what behaviors you might be doing that contribute.
Step 2: PROMISE
Now that you know what your weaknesses are, you have to create a promise to yourself of what you are going to do differently in that scenario. It can be something like, “I promise that instead of going and sitting on the couch tonight, which always leads to TV, which always leads to snacking foods, I’m just not even going to sit on the couch, I’m going to go for a walk instead.”
Step 3: RECOGNIZE
It’s one thing to plan and make the promise, but then you have to be there in the moment to actually follow through with what you said you were going do. And that’s the moment when you’re going to recognize. Your butt is slowly lowering into the couch, or it’s already hit the couch, and the TV is about to turn on, so you need to be able to recognize, “Oh wait, this is the moment that I was planning for where I promised that I was going to go do something else instead.
Step 4: REINFORCE
And then lastly, you need to reinforce the solution. When you recognize that the moment has arrived, you need to go and do what you said you’d do instead. You need to execute the alternative.
Willpower is a tricky thing. We all want to believe we have it in spades but at the end of the day, it usually lets us down. Then instead of understanding it’s not something we should have been relying on in the first place, we get down on ourselves for being weak (and that usually leads to more counterproductive behaviors).
So, instead of relying on willpower, what you need to do is put some useable strategies in place to change your routines and habits, and you need to implement them every single time you realize a weakness in your habits and behaviors where you’re constantly falling off.
And it’s not good enough to tell yourself, “Well, I’m just not going do it next time,” because then you rely on willpower, and willpower does not lead to success. This does! Plan, Promise, Recognize and Reinforce. If you follow that, it’ll work. And if you can start implementing this simple PPRR strategy even just one habit at a time, it’ll make a huge difference for you, I promise.