5 Things That Will Zap Your Willpower and Set You Up for Failure

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Are you setting yourself up for failure?

5 things that will quickly sabotage your success and kill your “willpower”…

As each year ends and a new one begins, the act of setting goals comes standard.  However, most people will not stick to the quest to achieve these goals.  They might stick with the “dream” of achieving them, but the “action” part falls by the wayside.  Most will blame in on lack of “willpower”.  Have a look at these 5 things that will lead to your willpower’s quick demise.

1.  Not knowing WHERE you are “going”

If you have decided that you want to get healthier, get a new job, be a better parent, be a better spouse, etc., it will be nearly impossible to know how to get where you are wanting to go without knowing WHERE it actually IS that you want to go.

How do you figure out where you want to go?  Well, first, write out what your GOAL is…  If you are wanting to be healthier, write out what that will look like… what food choices you will need to make, what new habits you will adopt, what type of exercise you will want to do and how often you will do it, etc.  If you are wanting a new job, write out what that ideal job would be like, what field it would be in, how much your pay would be, what the environment would be like, etc.  And, how about being a better parent or spouse?  Well, you will do the same…  write out what you feel would make you a better parent or spouse.  Maybe you would like more date nights with your hubby… How many date nights a month?  Where would you go?  Who would take care of the kiddos?  In regards to your kids, what types of things could you do with them that would make you feel like you were increasing the value/quality of your relationship with them?  WRITE IT OUT!  This will make it more achievable.

You wouldn’t just get in a car without a map and decide you are driving from Texas to Maine, would you?  No!  You would decide on a route that would get you there and map out where you will stop along the way.  Do the same with your goals.




2.  Failure to plan

Now, if you know WHERE you want to go, but you don’t plan along the way, you are going to have a very bumpy ride.

Imagine you are on the road to Maine, but you forgot your map AND you have no idea how much gas is in your tank.  Oh!  And perhaps you never got your tires changed!  AND, maybe you will be going through some snow on the way up there, but you don’t have any chains for your tires.  Would that turn into “Oh, our trip was horrible!  We got lost.  We ran out of gas.  AND we got stranded on the side of the road!  We had the worst luck!”?

In the “prep” phase of planning your trip, all of that could have likely been avoided and accounted for.  But, instead, a lack of preparation led to “failure”.

Now, that DOESN’T mean that there won’t be bumps along the way, but nothing can replace being prepared.

So, if you know you are going to be away from home for 6 hours with no healthy food options… PLAN AHEAD.  Pack some healthy snacks, pack your lunch/dinner, and pack plenty of water.  Don’t leave your life up to chance expecting that others will fulfill your needs.  If you know that your evening is going to be busy and you will likely not have time for your workout, be sure to get up a little bit earlier in the morning to get it taken care of.  Simple as that.  “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”


3.  Setting unrealistic expectations & timetables

I am constantly bombarded with updates on my Facebook newsfeed from people who are experiencing “quick fixes”…  “I lost 7 pounds in 4 days!  Ask me how!” or “I lost 40 inches in 11 days using _________!  Let me know if you want to join me!”  [Never mind the fact that the inches were measured in 20 places on their bodies.]  It sickens me honestly because I have seen so many people opt for these “bandaid” solutions only to be let down a short time later.  The weight comes back and it usually brings its friends.  And that does a horrible number on one’s self-esteem.  Did you know that you are likely to gain back 150% of what you lost when you use one of these “bandaids”?  Yep!  How do you feel about that option now?

The best thing for you to remember is that what you are battling likely did not happen overnight.  So, why are you trying to fix it over night?  It’s like being $100,000 in debt and praying that a check for that amount will show up in the mail one day.  You probably didn’t get to that point overnight, just like those 50, 75 or 100 pounds didn’t come on overnight either.  So, why are you expecting them to come off in a month?

Setting unrealistic expectations just leads to you beating yourself up when you don’t reach them.  And, WHY?  They really shouldn’t have been your goals in the first place.  Instead, focus on “baby steps”.  Find 3-5 realistic ACTIONS that you can take and focus on ONE of them each week.  As each week passes, you will add a new ACTION.  A healthy action.  Something that will contribute to you adopting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle, not some drink or pill that has a stimulant in it that is speeding up your weight loss or suppressing your appetite so that you aren’t eating hardly at all during the day.  Are you planning to stay on that for the rest of your life?  I would certainly hope not.

If you set smaller goals along the way to your larger goals, it is like check points along the way to your ultimate destination.  Take the opportunity to rest and reflect on your progress along the way. It will be SO worth it!


4.  Keeping temptations in your path.

If you had a family member with an alcohol addiction, would you set a case of beer or a bottle of vodka on the table in front of them and expect it to not consume their every thought?  Expect it to not take every ounce of their being to resist it?  Of course not!

If you are trying to get healthier by making better food choices, but sweets tempt you…  keep them out of your house.  You can’t eat what isn’t there, right?  If you are wanting to eat better, have better food choices available at all times in your home.  If you find yourself sitting on the couch most nights telling yourself that you will start working out tomorrow, consider canceling your cable or at least getting rid of the channels that suck you in.

You think I’m kidding?

We canceled cable a couple of years ago and it is one of the best things we ever did.  And, yes, that means that we don’t RECORD shows either.  We also made a rule of no TV on weeknights because our kids (us, too) were getting consumed and not getting schoolwork done.  They weren’t focused.  They were in constant “WANT, WANT, WANT” mode and like little zombies.  Guess what!  Now, they are more focused in the evenings.  They don’t even think to turn the TV on when they are home most of the time, even on the weekends, AND when Christmas time roles around, their list is short, I mean SHORT.  Like 2-to-3-items-short.  Because they don’t have all of those insane commercials blasting into their heads, they are focused on things that they have really put a lot of thought into, not just images that are shooting into their minds because of never-ending  commercials.

Infuse more value into your home and your life by cutting back on TV time, spending more time building and fostering relationships, making time for activities that involve movement, and adding more nutritious choices to your pantry and fridge.


5.  Shutting others out instead of asking for support.

Many times, we may feel like we are the only ones going through crisis.  And, many times, we may feel like no one else could or would possibly understand.  This is a sure way of isolating yourself and setting yourself up for a painful fall.

If you were back on that “road to Maine”… a path you had never taken before, with the potential for bad weather, needing to take some breaks while still making good time… would you prefer to do it alone or with someone by your side?

Someone to make sure that you stay awake.  Someone to make sure that you are making the correct turns.

That person might be sitting in the passenger seat or talking to you over your phone.  Heck, it might even be the voice of your GPS system directing you along the correct path.  But, if you had no GPS, no one to check on you to make sure you were okay, no one to tell you that you might have just made a wrong turn and then guiding you to get back on the correct road…  What would that be like?  That would be riddled with thoughts of you feeling like you were alone.

No one wants to feel like that.

So, find someone to go on your journey with you.  Someone out there, THAT YOU KNOW wants to get healthier, be a better parent, be a better spouse, etc.  Someone THAT YOU KNOW wants to go to the same place you want to go.

Ask them to share the ride with you.


I would wish you ‘luck’ in reaching the goals that you desire, but you should know that luck is just the result of thoughtful preparation, planning and action.  So, instead, my wish for you is that you open your mind and your heart, let people in, plan for what you want to achieve, then get out there and go for it!

As always, let me know how I can help YOU achieve YOUR goals.  God bless!

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