Browsing the archives for the troubleshooting motivation tag.
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Recovering After a Failure of Willpower

States of mind

We’re well into a season in which, for Americans at least, restraint isn’t very popular. We start out with a holiday that celebrates eating as much as possible, work up to a holiday that celebrates spending as much as possible, and cap it off with a holiday that celebrates staying up late and drinking.

All right, I admit that this isn’t the kindest or even most accurate depiction I could give of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, but the point is that whether or not you happen to celebrate any of these holidays, it’s likely you run into times when you don’t exercise the amount of willpower and restraint you would like to. Practically everyone does sometimes. Over time we can get better at exercising restraint even when we’re receiving messages to do otherwise, but what do we do to get back on track after losing our willpower for a while? Here are some specific things that can help:

  1. Don’t beat yourself up. Feelings of guilt, shame, frustration, disappointment, and depression are common after a failure of willpower. These are traps: avoid them. If you get caught up in destructive emotions, it will be hard to learn well and regain your focus. Identify broken ideas that aren’t doing you any good, then repair them: see “All About Broken Ideas and Idea Repair.”
  2. Get smarter. After a failure of willpower, you have an ideal opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Start a feedback loop to figure out how to change your behavior next time, and keep using it to see how well your new approaches work. Your feedback loop (which could be journaling, talking with a friend, talking to yourself, etc.) will include a description of exactly what you don’t like that you did, what you were thinking when you did it, and some ideas for changing what you do in the future. It will also include acknowledgments of any good decisions you made.
  3. Look ahead. One of the best ways to do well with willpower is to prepare solutions in advance. For instance, if you ate much more than you wanted to at your last family gathering, you might want to plan what you’re going to eat before you go to the next one. See “How Preparation Enables Stronger Willpower.”

You might also be interested in reading “How to Recover When You’ve Completely Blown It,” which talks more about failure in general and its role in successfully pursuing a goal.

Photo by kharied

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Which Comes First: Motivation or Action?

Strategies and goals

The only seemingly logical way to think about self-motivation is that it’s something we need to have to be able to act the way we desire, yet the two can really come in either order. The exciting thing about this (at least if, like me, you get excited about ideas that can give you a leg up on improving your life) is the realization that it’s sometimes possible to do the right thing, even if it’s difficult, without being motivated first. The accomplishment then often produces a sense of satisfaction or well-being that creates motivation for doing more going forward.

Action before motivation
Here are some examples of ways to act before being motivated:

  • Focus on the moment-to-moment steps without thinking too much about the overall intent. For instance, if you want to go out running but are having trouble getting motivated, think about changing into your running clothes, tying your shoes, opening the door, etc. rather than starting a conversation with yourself about whether or not you feel like running.
  • Take part in a group where following along means you’re doing something you want to do. Go to a group study party instead of procrastinating that paper you need to research (but don’t let yourself be a distraction to your friends or vice-versa); join a support group; or get the whole family doing chores at once.
  • Make a bridge to what you want to do by tackling easy preliminaries. For instance, you may not like filing but be fine with sorting papers. If so, you can start with the painless task of sorting. When your office is full of piles of carefully-sorted papers, filing becomes both easier and kind of necessary. (Better yet, adopt a system that lets you keep control of your paperwork all the time. I’d particularly recommend the one described in Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done.)

Motivation before action
As useful as the “action before motivation” approach can be, motivation before action also works well, and is sometimes the a more useful way to go. The key with this is to focus at first not on the task you want to accomplish, but on the much simpler task of getting yourself motivated. Here are some articles that can help provide that initial motivational boost:

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Two Years Without Coffee: How to Resist Temptation

Self-motivation examples

A little over a year ago I posted “Going a Year Without Coffee,” in which I talk about how my physiology seems to encounter a lot more trouble with caffeine than most people even though I really enjoy coffee. So while I had largely steered away from coffee for some time, it wasn’t until two years ago that I stopped drinking it at all (and stopped having chocolate, tea, and other sources of caffeine along with it).

And while I’m sure I’ll have coffee again from time to time in the future, last week marked two years without, and I thought it might be worth sharing the tactics I use to steer clear, because they’re the same kind of tactics a person can use to avoid other kinds of temptation.

Changing What We Desire
The ideal thing would be to simply not want whatever it is we’re trying to avoid. Surprisingly, this turns out to be a practical approach. Many of us are used to thinking of our desires as being out of our control, that if we’re being drawn to some french fries or to someone who’s a bad influence or to an irresponsible drink, we have the choice of fighting or giving in (or often, both). Yet there’s a different, much more powerful choice available to us: using thinking to redirect our desires.

The Wrong Kind of Attention
When I start thinking about having a cup of coffee, I’m generally thinking about one of two things: how enjoyable the coffee itself is or how I would like to feel more energy. In both cases, my conscious mental processes are directed toward things that will make the idea of having coffee more appealing. On reflection, it seems obvious that if I’m thinking about how much I like the taste of coffee or how energetic I might feel if I had some that I’d be much more likely to actually have some.

It’s easy to imagine that everything we know about a choice feeds into how we make that choice, but in reality, the things we consciously focus on play a much bigger role than everything else, which is one reason we might know exactly the same things from one day to the next but choose to work hard or eat smart the first day yet procrastinate or eat junk the second.

Thinking That Makes Good Choices More Appealing
So my usual habit when I start thinking about a cup of coffee is to jot down a few thoughts about what will happen if I do have some. One of the first things I usually think of is the grinding, day-long headache I’ll get sooner or later from the caffeine. While this isn’t my body’s only negative reaction to the stuff, and while it’s always delayed at least a couple of days, it’s a miserable time.

Not surprisingly, the more I think “coffee=terrible, day-long headache,” the less appealing that cup of coffee gets. This effect builds as I remember that while coffee gives me energy, it also makes it easier to feel jumpy or anxious. Having energy isn’t much good if I’m not in a good enough mood to use it well. As I carefully think over what the real results of my actions will be, the temptation looks progressively more shabby and unappealing.

Having a Little Time Makes All the Difference
The problem with this approach is that it takes time and attention. However, it doesn’t take a lot of time and attention, and if we have enough time and attention to be tempted by something, we probably have enough time and attention to reflect on what will happen if we let ourselves be sucked in by that temptation. It only takes a few minutes, and while it works best if you can write or talk about the things that will make you less attracted to that choice, even just careful thought can bring you there. The worst thing is to be tied up so thoroughly with something else that it’s difficult or unworkable to focus on good choices for a few minutes instead, although planning can help get us through these times (see “How Preparation Enables Stronger Willpower“).

Ultimately, not making a bad choice is easiest if we help ourselves dislike that choice. Focusing on the reasons the choice is bad in the first place help change our perspective so that we stop wanting things we don’t really want for more than momentary pleasure (see “The difference between pleasure and happiness“). To put it another way, the best way to resist temptation is to let ourselves be tempted instead by the things that will truly make us happy.

Photo by Beatriz AG

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Control, Direct Influence, and Indirect Influence

Handling negative emotions

Social circles of influence

In previous articles in this series, we took a look at Dealing With Problems That Can’t Be Fixed, asking When Is It Time to Make a Change?, and when it is that the best solution is Fixing a Problem By Leaving. In today’s article, we’ll look at the kinds of power we have to make changes happen.

Control
When we are able to make changes, it’s important to understand how much impact we can personally have. The most direct situation is control, when we can change something by acting alone. Most of the articles on this site are about situations where we can have some control, like organization, fitness, building new habits, and how we relate to other people. This category includes things that feel out of control, but where the real choices are within us. For instance, I was overweight for many years and didn’t feel in control of that situation. As I learned how to manage my own body better, though, I began to lose weight, and eventually lost more than 60 pounds. Although I wasn’t willing or able to take charge of the situation for a long time, the control still lay entirely with me.

Influence
Many of the situations we tend to worry about aren’t directly under our control, however, for instance how our friends and partners treat us, whether or not we receive promotions or contracts, or how much help we get from others. Problems with situations like this can often come up in our minds as should statements, such as “I shouldn’t have to do this without help!” or “I deserved that raise!” or “It’s not fair that it’s raining the weekend we were supposed to go camping!” (A note: “should statements” don’t necessarily contain the word “should”. A should statement is any thought or declaration declaring a need for someone or something else to do or not do something.) Should statements are a common example of a broken idea, a type of thinking that creates unnecessary trouble. To regard situations where we have influence only and not control in a healthy and constructive way, it’s important to come to terms with the possibility that things may not turn out the way we want them to.

Direct influence
Situations where we have influence come in two flavors: direct influence and indirect influence. Direct influence means that we can take specific steps to try to get the thing done. For instance, a person who wants a raise can usually go to his or her boss and request one, and someone who wants to be treated better by another person can confront that person.

Indirect influence
Indirect influence means that we can only take actions that encourage the results we want, but can’t control them or even push for a decision. Some examples of indirect influence are practicing more in order to have a better chance of winning a talent contest or writing letters to a representative to encourage a particular vote.

Social influence diagram by Bruce Dupree, via Anne Adrian.

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6 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

Strategies and goals

Struggling with procrastination is common, and it often happens that the longer we put something off, the more awful the idea of facing it seems to feel. Here are a series of simple steps that can be used to overcome procrastination for one task at a time. If you follow them closely, you have a very good chance of finally making progress on whatever you’ve been putting off.

1. Schedule. Begin by scheduling a specific time to work on the task. Choose carefully: make sure it’s a period of time that you’ll actually have available. If distractions or alternatives show up when the time comes, say sorry, you have something to do. It’s important to consider this appointment set in stone in order to accomplish your goal.

2. Remind. Set a reminder to ensure you know when you’re supposed to start and are not busy with something else.

3. Relax. When the time comes to start, begin by sitting down and relaxing. Don’t worry about the task itself for now. Take some deep breaths. Don’t feel rushed: it’s an important thing to do, right? Then it’s worth taking a little time to get into a calm, focused mood. If you meditate, that can be a helpful tactic here.

4. Remember Your Goals. Now think for a moment about what you want to gain from completing this task. Visualize what you hope to accomplish with it, or remind yourself of things you like about it, or explicitly tell yourself why you were interested in it in the first place. If it’s something you don’t like for itself (such as, for instance, doing taxes or cleaning up someone else’s mess), think about what makes you interested in doing that, like having your financial ducks in a row or living up to your own ideals. Another benefit completion of many of these tasks offer is relief from having them hanging over us.

Don’t stop until you’ve latched onto at least one–and ideally several–things that make you want to finish this task, whether goals or positive associations. If you have no reason whatsoever to want to do it, why do you consider it important in the first place? If you really don’t need to do it, resolve not to and cross it off your list permanently. Otherwise, get in touch with your reasons.

5. List. List the first few specific, tiny tasks you’d need to do to get started. If you’re not sure, brainstorm, write, talk to yourself, or borrow someone you can depend and bounce ideas around until you have some idea.

These tiny tasks are not results: they’re really specific, straightforward things to do. For instance, if your goal is to file some insurance paperwork, then your first step probably isn’t “fill out claim forms,” but rather “Find Web site for insurance company so I can download claim forms” or “Gather all bills and documents I’ll need to fill out the claim.” You might even make it more specific than that. The point is to break down the first several steps–say, the first 15 minutes to an hour of work on the task, which for many tasks is all that’s required–into very clear, simple things you can do without a lot of thought.

6. Visualize. Picture yourself taking the first few steps. You don’t have to actually do anything just yet: just do a very good job of imagining yourself starting.

Then … begin!

How it works
Thinking about your reasons for taking the task on, making positive associations and picturing yourself doing the task should help prime your brain to make it easy to slip into starting to do the task. When you do, you’ll have specific, extremely simple steps laid out that you can tackle one after another: let them carry you through. If you run out of steps or have to reorganize, just insert a next step: “come up with more steps,” and use that step to work out the next 15 minutes to 1 hour of activity.

If you need the stronger stuff
If you find that even this process isn’t helping you get over your procrastination, it’s very likely you have broken ideas about it. Perhaps you’re telling yourself that you’re a bad person for not doing it, or that it absolutely needs to be done, or that not having done it yet is awful. These and many kinds of related thoughts can be worked out and made to stop bothering you through idea repair. Write down each negative thought you have about the task and work through the idea repair process with it. At the end you should find fewer obstacles and more motivation to move ahead.

Photo by Esther17

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Mental Schemas #9: Failure

Handling negative emotions

This is the ninth in a series of articles that draw on the field of schema therapy, an approach to addressing negative thinking patterns that was devised by Dr. Jeffrey Young. You can find an introduction to schemas and schema therapy, a list of schemas, and links to other schema articles on The Willpower Engine here.

 

“Now Linus, I want you to take a good look at Charlie Brown’s face. Would you please hold still a minute, Charlie Brown? I want Linus to study your face. Now, this is what you call a Failure Face, Linus. Notice how it has failure written all over it. Study it carefully, Linus. You rarely see such a good example. Notice the deep lines, the dull, vacant look in the eyes. Yes, I would say this is one of the finest examples of a Failure Face that you’re liable to see for a long while.”

— Lucy Van Pelt in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

There are a good number of articles on The Willpower Engine about failure: what to do when it happens, why certain kinds of tactics generally fail, and how to deal with the worry that failure will happen. Some people feel as though they’re basically incompetent, with no good skills or resources (for more on this, read “Mental Schemas #6: Incompetence“). Others, when they’re successful, assume that it was by mistake or only achieved because they’ve fooled everyone into thinking they’re good enough (for more on this, read “Impostor Syndrome“).

What failure schemas look like
People with the failure schema may or may not feel incompetent, and may or may not feel like impostors, but regardless they believe that they are failures, that successes don’t happen to them. Often such people were brought up in environments where the people important to them would tell them over and over that they were failures, or where this idea was always pushed on them in some other way. Sue of Healthy Within Journey describes just such a childhood in this post:

“Then I remembered that every time I brought home a sewing project (from home ec class), my mom would criticize my work, rip out my stitches and resew the project. She also critized how I practiced the piano and would often ‘show me’ how to play a piece correctly. She discounted my academic success by telling me that I may be good at school but I didn’t have any common sense so I would never succeed in life. No matter how much I succeeded she reminded me that my cousin and/or brother were successful in other, more important areas. Even years later whenever I had difficulty with any project, I could hear her criticizing me and telling me I would never succeed at anything important. I feared even a tiny ‘failure’ would mean she was right, that I would never succeed.”

Some people with failure schemas make themselves fail through their beliefs: they assume they can never succeed and therefore never try hard when it’s most needed. Others work away desperately out of fear of failure, but none of their successes convince them: they continue to feel in their hearts that they are essentially failures, even when the evidence says otherwise.

Overcoming a failure schema
As with many negative ideas, overcoming a failure schema requires both facing the fear of failure and refuting the idea that failure is inevitable. This takes work over time to change deeply-ingrained thoughts. Facing the fear means some form of recognition that sometimes we fail, and that this is just a normal part of life and is not catastrophic. Refuting the idea that failure is inevitable means really understanding on a gut level that it is possible to succeed in some things at some times, regardless of what other people may say.

On a day to day basis, feelings of being doomed to failure can be handled as broken ideas: in other words, it’s necessary first to recognize when a thought has come by that is contributing to this unrealistic idea of failure, and then to take the falsehood out of the thought and rephrase it in a fully truthful way, as described in the article How to Repair a Broken Idea, Step by Step.

Some examples of broken ideas about failure:

  • “I’m a failure.” (labeling)
  • “This is going to be a catastrophe.” (fortune telling)
  • “Nobody believes I can do it.” (mind reading)
  • “The only reason they picked my submission is because everybody felt sorry for me.” (disqualifying the positive)
  • “See how badly that went? I fail at everything.” (overgeneralization)

Photo by Behrooz Nobakht

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If You’re Not Happy Where You Are, Where’s Your Mind?

States of mind

As human beings, we have a unique ability: to project ourselves into a future situation, memory, or even an imagined situation, so that we almost feel like we’re there. We can close our eyes and picture being somewhere else, some time else, even someone else. And this can be very handy–or, depending on the situation, it can make life miserable and tedious.

What’s wrong with daydreaming?
The danger of daydreaming about somewhere else we’d like to be is that it tends to make it very difficult to connect constructively with the time and place we’re currently in. For instance, if I’m out mowing the lawn and can only think of going swimming when I’m done, I’m naturally going to tend to be impatient and dissatisfied with what I’m currently doing. While I’m not suggesting that the swimming won’t be nice, nor even that an occasional thought about swimming can make lawn mowing more enjoyable, what I am suggesting is that focusing on swimming for any period of time is likely to make the lawn work feel unpleasant.

You may respond that mowing the lawn is unpleasant–which can be true, but only when we maintain thought patterns reinforcing that feeling. We can experience things as unpleasant automatically just as we’re experiencing a new stimulus, but long-term negative emotions are usually maintained my mental loops: see “How emotions work.”

Getting more happiness right here, right now
Because thinking about wanting to be in another place or at another time tends to make us unhappy with where and when we really are, the most effective way to become happier in those situations–when you’re watching the clock for the end of the work day, or stuck in traffic and wanting to get home, or having financial problems and picturing a wealthier future–is to let go of the daydream and come back to the present. Once in the present, the thing to do is to find something absorbing about that present–a challenging task, an engrossing conversation, or a way to relax–that makes being then and there rewarding. True, burning through a stack of paperwork at the office is unlikely to be as rewarding as playing with the kids at home, but it will tend to beat the pants off sitting there and not getting that paperwork done while becoming progressively more miserable about being stuck there.

Useful daydreams and not-so-useful daydreams
There’s such a thing as constructive daydreaming, a practice that helps you connect with what’s rewarding about your goals, but the difference between this and get-me-out-of-this-moment daydreaming is that constructive daydreaming is a brief visit to something you hope to accomplish, not an extended retreat from what you probably would be best off doing right now.

The essential question boils down to this: what is there about where you are right now and what you feel would be best to be doing right now that can engage, excite, or fulfill you? Find that thing and seize on it, and the hours will pass much more quickly and happily than they would trying to be someplace you aren’t.

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How to Become More Focused and Enthusiastic, Part IV: Daily Involvement

Strategies and goals

In previous articles in this series, I’ve talked about being distracted versus unenthusiastic and about whether a goal feels possible; meaningfulness and the ability to judge progress; and willingness. This fourth article in the series expands the topic from ways of thinking to ways of both thinking and acting.

The principle of daily involvement is based on a few important facts about how we become more or less interested in something. One of these facts is that we have an easier time getting involved in something that we’re used to, something that has become or is becoming habitual. There are fewer questions to answer, fewer preparations to make, and less confusion when we do things that we are used to doing regularly.

A second fact is that the more we think about something, the more likely we are to do it. In many situations, just thinking about doing something activates the same parts of the brain that are engaged when actually doing that thing. Thinking about an activitity is a lot like actually beginning to do it, and therefore creates momentum.

A third fact is that our brains can only really focus on one thing at a time. When we’re engaged in a particular activity, like budgeting for a vacation, certain brain centers are activated that have to be shut down or used in a different way if we interrupt to do something different, like stopping to read e-mail. Our brains then have to change around again when we go back to budgeting (if we get back to it at all).

Fourth, the more we think about a task, goal, or project, the more problems with it we are likely to come up with solutions for, the more ideas we’re likely to have, and the more clarity we’ll get on what exactly we need to do next.

Taking these facts together, we can begin to see how getting in the habit of thinking about project on a daily basis–and preferably more than once a day–can make it easier and more rewarding to work on that project, and how working on a project even a little on a daily basis makes it easier to continue working on it compared to, for instance, doing a lot of it at once and then letting it sit for a long time.

So one of the ways we become more focused on and enthusiastic about a project is to schedule in some time to think about it and work on it every day, even if it’s literally just for a few minutes. This practice keeps the project on the front burner in our minds and prevents getting hung up on starting the work. Staying engaged in the project like this helps direct our thoughts about it toward creative solutions and continued progress. And making progress daily, even if only a small amount, helps improve confidence and satisfaction. These good feelings about the project in turn change our associations: instead of anxiety and guilt, the feelings conjured up when we think of the project begin to tend more toward pride and optimism. Thus all of these factors support each other to slowly (or sometimes even quickly) make a change in the way we experience working on the project so that it becomes more interesting and enjoyable–just by getting involved in that project every day.

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7 Kinds of Dysfunctional Eating

States of mind

In an ideal world, we would all eat exactly the things that our bodies needed in exactly the right amounts, and those things would be incredibly delicious to us. Unfortunately, of course, many of us don’t live in that world. It’s not uncommon to come up with any number of reasons to eat that have little to do with what our bodies need–and surprisingly enough, often little to do with even enjoying our food.

But if we become more aware of why we’re eating when we’re eating dysfunctionally (those of us who eat dysfunctionally sometimes), then our options improve, and it becomes easier to make choices that will increase our happiness and health. This is a way of practicing mindfulness: noticing patterns in ourselves that, once seen and understood a little, can be changed.

These patterns are useful to notice not just for eating more healthily, but also for taking more pleasure in what we do eat. Many of these patterns contribute to eating food that is meant to be pleasurable in a way that prevents it from providing any enjoyment–and what good is that?

  1. Compensation eating: Eating as a consolation prize because something went wrong. Some examples are eating something we usually like because something we ate earlier was disappointing, or eating when something goes wrong (“I can’t go to the concert, but at least I can eat this huge bowl of ice cream.”)
  2. Add-on eating: Continuing eating during a meal or snack even when we’ve had as much as our body needs at the moment. One of the reasons add-on eating happens is that it takes our bodies about 20 minutes to feel full even when we’ve eaten a substantial meal. Another reason is that eating something sweet starts a cycle that creates a craving for something else sweet.
  3. Automatic eating: Eating because something is in front of us, not because we’re enjoying it a lot or because it’s something we need. Automatic eating is a good reason not to have conversations at the snack table at parties and not to open a bag of chips when sitting down to a movie: you look up after half an hour and realize you’ve eaten twice your body weight in junk food without really noticing or enjoying it.
  4. Bounty eating: Eating because there is so much there to eat. College students (for example) often run into this problem at any event that offers free food, and sometimes it can occur as a result of having just stocked the cupboards to bursting or from being at an event where a huge amount of food has been put out.
  5. Social eating: It’s not uncommon to eat in order to appease someone, to appear polite, to fit in, because everyone else is doing it, or to have something to do with our hands.
  6. Supposed-to-be-delicious eating: Eating a favorite or very attractive-looking food not due to actually being hungry for it, but on the general idea that it’s desirable food and that therefore we should be enjoying it. Yet sometimes foods we like just aren’t what we need or even want at the moment.
  7. “I just can’t resist” eating: Telling ourselves that although we wouldn’t be best served to eat a particular thing, we “just can’t resist.” This is an example of “all-or-nothing thinking”, a broken idea. In fact, there are almost always options.

Readers: have any patterns to add?

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How to Become More Focused and Enthusiastic, Part III: Willingness

Strategies and goals

The first article in this series talks about the difference between distraction and lack of focus or enthusiasm as well as the problem of not believing your goal can be achieved. The second article touches on how much the goal matters and whether or not it’s possible to track progress. This article will tackle another essential of being committed to a goal: willingness.

The question of willingness came up as a side note in my article the other day about whether our willpower gets used up on a daily basis. The idea was that people seem to usually be less willing to keep doing things that require self-control the more of them they’re asked to do. Repeated demands are one reason a person might find she or he isn’t willing to exercise willpower. Others include

  • Feeling anger or resentment about having to do the thing in the first place, or being unhappy about some expected result–for instance if a person avoided cleaning an area up because they didn’t make the mess (even if they knew the mess-maker wasn’t going to clean it up), or if they were to hold off on doing certain work because they strongly suspected someone else would be getting the credit.
  • Being uncomfortable with success, for instance when a person is scared of the life changes a new job would cause.
  • Having a broken idea that someone else should be doing whatever it is, that whatever it is shouldn’t be necessary, etc.
  • Focusing on short-term discomfort or interruption of pleasure, like not wanting to pull a splinter out due to anticipating that being painful.
  • Feeling as though you don’t deserve to achieve your goal, for instance because of impostor syndrome.

Those are a few samples. The key point is that even when we have a desire to do something and recognize that it would be a good thing to do, we often still have conflicting feelings about moving ahead. To say that we simply want something or don’t want it is to imagine our minds being much simpler than they are. For instance, a person might desperately want to lose weight for reasons of both health and appearance, but also might want to feel free to indulge in eating as they like, might be worried about the discomfort of regular exercise, might feel protected in some ways by being overweight, etc.

Feeling conflicted is a natural result of being a complex human being, but when these kinds of conflicts prevent us from committing whole-heartedly to our goals, it’s time to address them and move past them. Broken ideas (including ideas about what should happen or what a person deserves) can be repaired, conflicting needs can be compared so that the highest-priority need can take precedence, discomfort can be faced in light of the greater happiness it will lead to, and so on. In the end, most barriers to willingness can be sorted out–and starting that process only takes asking ourselves this question:

“Am I really willing to succeed?”

Photo by Gavatron

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