Take The First Steps Toward Transforming Your Motivation And Willpower

Aug 06, 2022

Take the first steps toward transforming your motivation and willpower

(Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich)

There are two big hurdles to get over when starting to work on personal development. They are: low or no motivation, and trying to change too much at once. Let's go over how to get past them and start making good progress.

Getting motivated

It's hard to get the motivation to get started when you're already feeling overwhelmed. You might see a mountain of changes that you'd like to make in your life and it can seem impossible. Feeling like it's impossible makes it so much harder to get started and stay motivated.

A great place to start is to ask yourself honestly, what you really want. What is your main goal? Being as specific as possible can let you start to figure out exactly what steps to take in order to achieve it. Motivation can be fueled by feeling and seeing positive progress. 

Every little step that you take towards your goal is a win, so try writing them all down. That way, whenever you feel as if you don't have what it takes today, you can pull out that list. You can see proof of every other time that you made the effort and won. Even a failed attempt can be counted as a win because you didn't give up.

Slow and steady

Many of us resist change until we reach a breaking point. You might wake up one day and you can't take it anymore. It's time to start doing EVERYTHING differently! Where do you even start?

It may feel like there's so much that you want to be different, so much to improve. The reality is that it takes between 1 and 8 months to form a new habit.[231] Any significant life changes take a huge amount of focus, willpower, and determination. 

If you attempt to change how you sleep, what you eat, start exercising, and get organized all at the same time, you put yourself at risk of getting burned out. There isn't enough willpower available for any of us to tackle all of these issues at once. 

So, what are the benefits of working on one habit at a time?

The wonderful spiral of habit building

We tend to think about the areas of our lives as if they are separate from each other. But your diet, sleep schedule, physical activity, and much more, are all connected. When you put focus and effort into improving one area of life, it can have positive effects on other areas.

For example: Let’s say you want to start exercising more often. What effect can that have in other areas of your life?

  • Daily exercise can help you to experience more regular and restful sleep.[165] 
  • A consistent sleep schedule of at least 7 hours per night is linked to higher levels of willpower.[200]
  • Stronger willpower can make it easier to commit to your workout schedule.[57] And it can help you to choose healthy meals over tempting fast food, which can make you feel sluggish.[58]

But the list doesn’t stop there. By changing one habit, you start a chain reaction that has the ability to make your whole life easier.

What’s the "key?"

Choosing one habit to be the most important to you is your "keystone habit." A keystone habit is one that you put all your focus and energy into, and it comes with unexpected benefits.

This helps you to "prime the pump." It can really help to get started with something smaller and then grow from there. By starting simple, you can avoid burnout and get to the other side of developing healthy habits. You'll have more energy and focus to keep that progress moving.

What's your keystone habit?

Continue Your Journey