When was the last time you changed a habit? We often get stuck in our ways because change is uncomfortable. Let’s look at what happens when we step out of our comfort zones and test our willpower.
“Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens
to the which our wills are gardeners.”
– William Shakespeare
In this podcast, we explore the habits that have become dependencies. Then we will test our willpower to break free from limiting behaviors.
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The Sober Year
I reached a point where I felt sick and tired of being sick and tired.
When I turned 22, I chose to go sober for a year. No alcohol. No marijuana. Not even caffeinated coffee (I drank decaff and green tea instead).
I recognized how behaviors characteristic of my age group were blocking my creativity. So, I chose to test my will power.
The sober year taught me a lot about myself, the people around me, and what makes me happy.
I found myself hanging out less and less with some “friends,” and I noticed myself spending more time with people who shared interests. The “friends” who seemed to disappear from my life were the company to my misery.
I am not suggesting you go sober for a year (unless you feel compelled to do so).
I am suggesting you recognize your dependencies and challenge them.
Putting your will power to the test will demonstrate how weak yet how strong you truly are.
Test Your Willpower
We will not tend to our garden unless weeds are seen for what they are.
Dependencies appear in a number of ways. We can become dependent to behaviors so common place that they feel normal. Looking at others helps validate our behavior when we see them doing the same .
Watching TV, drinking alcohol, eating sugar – all of these activities feel ubiquitous and enjoyable.
However, when have we had enough?
If doing anything makes you feel like you’re neglecting something you care about – enough is enough.
Even activities generally viewed as righteous, like reading or work, can become invasive.
When you find yourself stunting growth in other areas important to you, time to challenge yourself.
Once we recognize an imbalance that jeopardizes our impact, we must challenge the dependency that creates the imbalance.
Often we feel we have to give up our addictive habits for good. However, unlimited willpower becomes necessary to stop something forever. To the contrary, science has proven that willpower is a limited resource that can be depleted.
Put a time limit on the challenge. A time limit makes the challenge achievable.
We are not doing this to replace one dependency with another (like an former alcoholic who now depends on Alcoholics Anonymous for sobriety).
Rather, test your will to better understand your own strength and weakness.
Learn How Weak You Are
Temptation is everywhere. We are told to consume, consume, and consume some more.
Modern society’s constant search for happiness through external sources causes addictive behaviors to take control over lives.
When you resist the urges compelling you to eat sugar, drink alcohol, or smoke something – you can recognize both how powerful these urges are and how limited your willpower is.
We set ourselves up for failure if we overestimate our power and underestimate the power of our opponent.
Recognize the delicate nature of life.
Learn How Strong You Are
Our connection with the source strengthens when we deprive ourselves of basic luxuries.
Consider Lent or Ramadan. Both religious events help people get closer to God through deprivation. Buddhists aim to find strength by relinquishing desires.
Going without certain luxuries helps us understand that life can be beautiful no matter what.
Recognize a dependency that you feel is holding you back. Challenge yourself to do without that dependency. Understand that willpower is limited, so set a specific time frame for you challenge. The beginning is the hardest, but over time it gets easier. Throughout you will be reminded of how weak and strong you are. Embrace the paradox of life.
1. I am excited to announce my first book is coming soon!
2. I, like you, am exploring my own true self throughout the Great Adventure. The Mystery of Life maintains my sense of wonder.
3. If you have an idea for a podcast you would like to hear or a question you want answered in an upcoming episode,
or e-mail me
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Willpower Is a Limited Resource