That mindset is a non-starter. Thinking like that won't get you anywhere.
AND IT'S NOT TRUE.
Willpower is not the thing you need to fix, have more of or waste your time focusing on.
Instead, get on board with this fact.
Behaviour is a chain.
Everything you do is interconnected.
And one thing leads to another.
You're a human. You do things. Those things you do have an impact on the other things you do, or intend to do. For instance:
Last week, you chose to say yes to a new project.
Suddenly, your work load was that much more. It started spilling out at the seams of your ordinary work day, so you stayed up late to catch up.
The next morning, you overslept because you were tired and you decided to skip breakfast in order to get to the office on time.
Then someone brought some chocolates in during your usual mid-afternoon blood sugar slump and you were still feeling tired and a bit fed up by now, actually.
Guess what happened next?
Most people look only at what’s happening right now and feel baffled when the behaviour they find themselves engaging in doesn’t match their stated goal.
But that thing that’s happening RIGHT NOW is linked to a bunch of things that happened before it.
Start paying attention to how all your choices stack up. You'll find that being hit by the sugar truck doesn’t come as much of a surprise anymore.
Even long term habits you've developed become clear - finding that you’re propping your morning up with caffeine every day is COMPLETELY explainable, if you’re watching yourself and your choices.
It's NOT PAYING ATTENTION to how you’re constructing your days, weeks, months and years that allows all those habits you don't love to creep up on you and take over.
These things don’t mysteriously happen. The goblins don’t sneak into your house overnight and make you someone who hasn't exercised in years, who eats a hasty, poor quality evening meal every night and who gets all their energy from Haribo and Starbucks.
Look for the chains. The links are there; pull them out of the sand and into view - that is, if you want to break them and gain some control over your health and the behaviours that either help or hinder.
Here’s a chain you might recognise, in case you're still not sure what you're looking for:
You got pretty stressed out on Wednesday, so you hit the biscuit tin Wednesday night and then skipped your dinner out of guilt.
You felt jacked up on sugar from the biscuits when you went to bed so it took you a while to drift off. But then a blood sugar crash overnight woke you up at the crack of a sparrow's fart and you couldn’t get back to sleep.
You had sugary cereal for breakfast because you were too hungry and bleary-eyed to cook yourself an omelette. Cereal is not known for its ability to satiate a normal adult appetite, so you were ravenous by the time you got to 9:30am.
You went off in search of chocolate to tide you over till lunch.
And all this happened despite the fact that, on Wednesday morning, you swore to yourself you wouldn’t eat so much sugar. You even wrote it down!
This is NOT weak willpower at work.
It’s a powerful behaviour chain, built on choices you have made. As such, you can break your chains - you can make different choices. IF you're prepared to rootle out the links.
You can’t change what you don’t know.